With just 13 games remaining in the regular season, the Manchester Monarchs know there is still much work to be done despite leading the AHL in points.
The Monarchs (39-16-8 for 86 points) host Bridgeport (26-27-6, 58 points) tonight at 7 p.m., enjoy a rare Saturday off and then close the weekend at Worcester (27-27-4, 58) Sunday at 3 p.m.
“I think it’s important that we continue to try and improve as a team. There’s lot of areas where we can get better at,” said Monarchs head coach Mark Morris. “We’d be kidding ourselves if we thought it was going to be easy. Everybody wants a piece of you when you’re having success and there’s no question this is going to be a good test for us to see what we can do with what remains on the schedule. It’s important for us to keep our focus and keep in the present.”
Manchester will enter tonight’s game fresh off a three-game sweep last weekend. New players James Livingston (two goals) and defenseman Brayden McNabb (two assists) slotted into the lineup nicely.
“We’re settled into our lines and hopeful that we can continue to find the production that we had last weekend,” Morris said.
The Sound Tigers enter tonight’s game a bit different than the last time Manchester saw them two months ago. Coached by former Monarchs assistant Scott Pellerin, Bridgeport has undergone some roster changes. The Sound Tigers have lost four straight games.
“We really don’t know a whole lot about those guys. We saw a little bit of video footage of them from last weekend up in St. John’s, but it looks like a whole new team,” Morris said. “There’s a few players there that we saw in the past, but it’s unfamiliar faces that we’ll be lining up against. Sometimes video doesn’t really give you a good feel about what you’re up against.”
A night off in between the Bridgeport and Worcester games is welcomed by the Monarchs.
“We’re definitely going to try and take full advantage of that,” Morris said. “At this stage of the year, rest is really important for recharging your batteries. That’s a healthy approach to keeping the guys focused and ready for competition.”
Worcester is on the outside of the playoff picture looking in, so desperation mode is likely engaged for the Sharks.
“Oh, no doubt,” Morris said. “Every game we’ve ever played against them I think has been a knock-down, drag-out affair and I don’t expect this one to be much different.”