AHL Weekly Review: Manchester Monarchs are hot
What a difference one week makes, that is, except for the Iowa Wild. While the Wild remain at the bottom of the league with just four wins and eight points on the season, other teams are beginning to make moves.
The Utica Comets with 24 points, and the Bridgeport Sound Tigers with 21, are both still atop their respective conferences, so nothing has changed in that regard, however, both the Manchester Monarchs and the Adirondack Flames have won five in a row, and are quickly becoming teams to be reckoned with.
The Monarchs, who entered this past week with a two game winning streak, won another three games this weekend, as they defeated Worcester, Providence, and Hartford. With their win over the Wolf Pack, the Monarchs leapfrogged over the Pack, and now sit second place in the east, just one point behind the Sound Tigers with 20. Nick Shore has led the way offensively for the Monarchs with 14 points (8-6-14), while Jean-Francois Berube has led the way in goal with seven wins, a 1.84 goals against average, and a .924 save percentage.
The Adirondack Flames have also won five games in a row, and after a 1-5-1-0 start to the season, the Flames have settled in and are now 8-6-1-0, and sit in sixth place in the western conference. They are also one of the more effective teams on the power play, as they’ve converted 21.2 percent of their power play opportunities, and are ranked fifth in the AHL.
All of the Flames five wins during their current winning streak came on the road, and they will return to Glens Falls this week to try and continue their success back at home. Leading the way for Adirondack has been forward Bill Arnold, who has nine points (4-5-9), and has recorded points in four straight games, and seven of his last eight.
The Rochester Americans, on the other hand, have not been so hot lately, as they’ve lost six of their last seven. Over that span, the Americans have been outscored by a 32-17 margin, and have fallen out of playoff position as they now sit in ninth place in the west with a 7-8-1-0 record.
And while the Binghamton Senators and the St. John’s Ice Caps have both struggled mightily, it’s been nothing compared to the struggles of the Charlotte Checkers and the Iowa Wild.
The Checkers have only amassed nine points and four wins, while the Wild also have four wins, but only eight points. Through over a month of the season, that is nothing short of dismal.
The Wild’s lack of success has gone on so long, in fact, that their coach Kurt Kleinendorst was recently fired, and replaced with John Torchetti. This weekend the Wild played their first three games under the guidance of Torchetti, and won two of those three games. Certainly appears that the team may be taking steps in the right direction. They may be baby steps, but they’re steps nonetheless.
While Kris Newbury has continued to put up points with the Hershey Bears, now 19 (9-10-19) in 15 games, Travis Morin of the Texas Stars has overtaken as the leading point getting in the AHL. In 14 games this season, Morin has now recorded 20 points (7-13-20), and has helped the Texas Stars stay above water in the top-eight of the western conference.
In goal, Jacob Markstrom has continued his solid play for the Utica Comets, however, Magnus Hellberg has burst onto the scene in recent days. In five starts this season, Hellberg is a perfect 5-0-0-0, with a 0.78 goals against average, and a .969 save percentage. It will be interesting to see if he can permanently steal the starting job between the pipes from current starter Marek Mazanec.
That will do it for this week’s Full Tilt AHL round up. As is the case every week, there are great performances, and there are those that wish to be forgotten. Here at FullTilt, we’ll keep tabs on all of them, the good, the bad, and the ugly. Be sure to check back next week to find out who’s hot and who’s not across the American Hockey League.