The Manchester Monarchs, the Kings’ American Hockey League affiliate, have made the playoffs. That’s the good news. The bad news is that, in the first round, the face a team that hasn’t lost in more than two months. The Monarchs finished eighth in the Eastern Conference, with a 39-32-5 record, and drew the top-seeded Norfolk Admirals, who finished with a 55-18-3 record with with 28 consecutive wins, a record for a North American professional hockey team. Norfolk’s last loss came on Feb. 5. The best-of-five first-round series begins with games Friday and Saturday at Norfolk.
The Monarchs finished the regular season strong. Going into the final weekend, they needed three consecutive victories in order to guarantee themselves a playoff spot, and they went 3-0. Justin Azevedo finished the season with team-highs of 28 goals and 50 points. Patrick Mullen had a team-high 28 assists. Brandon Kozun had 20 goals and 26 assists while Linden Vey had 19 goals and 24 assists. In goal, Jeff Zatkoff and Martin Jones split time. Zatkoff, in 44 games, had 21-17-1 record, a 2.49 goals-against average and a .920 save percentage. Jones, in 41 games, had an 18-17-2 record, a 2.60 goals-against average and a .919 save percentage.
In junior hockey, Tyler Toffoli, one of the Kings’ top prospects, is helping to keep the Ottawa 67s afloat in their second-round OHL playoff series. Ottawa hosts the Barrie Colts in Game 7 tonight. The 67s were down 3-1 in the series but have won the last two games. Overall in the playoffs, Toffoli has 10 goals and five assists in 12 games. Toffoli, a second-round draft pick of the Kings in 2010, led the OHL in the regular season with 52 goals in 65 games.