Monarchs drop Game 3 on late goal, lead series 2-1 - LA Kings Insider

Francis Wathier scored with 2.9 seconds remaining during a flurry of action in front of goaltender J.F. Berube, and the Portland Pirates extended their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series with a narrow, 3-2 Game 3 win over the Manchester Monarchs Sunday evening at the Cross Insurance Arena in Portland, ME. The Monarchs now lead the best-of-five series two games to one and will contend with a break in the schedule in advance of Game 4 Thursday night in Portland.

Michael Mersch and Jordan Weal again found their way into the box score with goals for Manchester in a game that experienced significant momentum swings and pitted J.F. Berube against Louis Domingue in an entertaining goaltending battle. Mersch’s goal was a late first period equalizer that came on a five-on-three power play when he buried a loose puck after Colin Miller had broken his stick on a shot attempt. Weal’s goal put Manchester ahead 2-1 in the second period as he joined a three-on-two rush as a fourth skater and lifted an odd-angle Sean Backman shot over Domingue’s shoulder. Former Oswego State Laker Eric Selleck scored late in the second period to tie the game at two, while Phil Lane opened the scoring on a first period deflection.

Quick observations:

-Adrian Kempe remained in the lineup while Josh Gratton and Kevin Raine entered for Andrew Crescenzi (who was hit with a one-game suspension for his boarding major and game misconduct in Game 2) and Paul Bissonnette as Manchester opted to move Kevin Raine up front and use a fourth line of Gratton-Horvat-Raine.

-There was a lot of special teams time in this game – Manchester was 1-for-7 on the power play – so Adrian Kempe’s usage was a touch restricted. This was the first time I had seen him in a game setting and away from rapid fire highlights, and from a quick, preliminary observation, he could skate well and appeared to cover a lot of ice on the forecheck. He was denied on a high quality first period opportunity when Domingue made one of his better saves on his backhanded rebound attempt after he had opened the rush with an outlet pass from Manchester’s defensive zone.

-Colin Miller really wasn’t afraid to pull the trigger while in the offensive zone, but one of his most impressive plays was his ability to keep a bouncing puck in at the right point despite stiff pressure from Portland forwards looking to force the puck out. He won a puck battle that immediately resulted in a late-developing three-on-one ending with Domingue’s denial of a Grade-A Shore-to-O’Neill set-up.

-On the injury front, Manchester appeared to have gotten through this game without any casualties, though Brian O’Neill took a heavy hit from behind along the boards from Brandon Gormley that resulted in a two-minute boarding minor in the first period. Midway through the second, Jordan Weal appeared to block a shot in his lower leg (as surmised by the Portland broadcast; no replays were available), and as athletic trainer Michael Muir and a teammate appeared to help him skate back to the bench, Weal shook off the offers of assistance and tried to skate the pain off himself. He did not leave the game.

-I watched the game through AHL Live, and because the Portland broadcast was synchronized better with the video, I listened to the home team’s call of the game instead of Ken Cail and Chris Ryan’s. In addition to reminding listeners of Selleck’s Oswego State connection, Portland’s voice also said that [what appeared to be] a Josh Gratton slash on the faceoff that followed the late game-winning goal was “typical of the classlessness of this Manchester team.” Whoa, slow down there, Nelly.

The box score, courtesy of
Screenshot 2015-04-26 17.18.47

Jake Muzzin

#6 | 6′ 3″ | 216 lb | Age: 27

Born: Feb 21, 1989
Birthplace: Woodstock, ON, CAN
Position: D
Handedness: Left


Muzzin was drafted in 2007 by the Pittsburgh Penguins, before signing to the Kings in 2010. He has since become the first Woodstock, Ontario professional athlete to win a major sports trophy.

Anze Kopitar

#11 | 6′ 3″ | 224 lb | Age: 29

Born: August 24, 1987
Birthplace: Jesenice, SVN
Position: C
Handedness: Left


As the 11th overall pick in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft, Kopitar became the first Slovenian to play in the NHL. Kopitar has spent his entire NHL career with the Kings, and following the 2015–16 season, was named the Kings’ captain. Noted for both his offensive and defensive play, Kopitar was awarded the Frank J. Selke Trophy as the best defensive forward in the NHL in 2016.

Drew Doughty

#8 | 6′ 1″ | 195 lb | Age: 26

Born: December 8, 1989
Birthplace: London, ON, CAN
Position: D
Handedness: Right


Bio: Doughty is a Canadian defenceman who was selected second overall by the Kings in the 2008 Draft. Doughty made his NHL debut in 2008 as an 18-year-old and was named to the All-Rookie Team. He is a two-time Stanley Cup champion with the Kings, a two-time Olympic gold medallist with the Canadian national team, and a Norris Trophy finalist.

Tyler Toffoli

#73 | 6′ 1″ | 200 lb | Age: 24

Born: April 24, 1992
Birthplace: Scarborough, ON, CAN
Position: C
Handedness: Right


Toffoli is a Canadian professional ice hockey forward, drafted by the Kings in the second round of the 2010 Draft. Toffoli scored his first career NHL goal in his second game in a 4–0 victory over the Phoenix Coyotes in 2013. He was also named the 2012–13 AHL All-Rookie Team.

Jeff Carter

#77 | 6′ 4″ | 215 lb | Age: 31

Born: January 1, 1985
Birthplace: London, ON, CAN
Position: C
Handedness: Right


Carter began his hockey career playing in the Ontario Hockey League in Canada before joining the AHL and playing for the Philadelphia Flyers. He was then traded to the Colombus Blue jackets before joining the LA Kings in 2012, where he has since won two Stanley Cups with the Kings.

Jonathan Quick

#32 | 6′ 1″ | 218 lb | Age: 30

Born: January 21, 1986
Birthplace: Milford, CT, USA
Position: G
Handedness: Left


Bio: Quick is the current goaltender for the LA Kings and was selected by Los Angeles at the 2005 NHL Entry Draft. Previously, Quick was a silver medalist with USA at the 2010 Winter Olympics. He’s won two Stanley Cup championships with the Kings, along with being the most recent goaltender to be awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as the Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs.