Kelly Cup Playoffs - Round One Preview - Monarchs vs Thunder
Although the Monarchs have only been in the ECHL for four seasons, the rivalry between the Monarchs and the Thunder is as strong as can be. On top of these two teams meeting in excess of 12 times a season, this will be the fourth straight year the two teams have met in the Kelly Cup Playoffs, with the Thunder winning two of those three matchups in 2016 and 2018. In 55 meetings over the last four years, the Monarchs have posted a 25-26-2-2 record against the Thunder.
This season, the Monarchs and Thunder are an even 6-6-0-0 between the two teams. The Monarchs have won four out of seven games at the Cool Insuring Arena, while the Thunder have won three of five in Manchester. Overall, the Thunder have outscored the Monarchs 42-35 and have taken five of the last eight games in the season series.
Adirondack forward Matt Salhany leads the Thunder with 16 points (3g, 13a) against Manchester this season, while defenseman Daniil Miromanov leads the Monarchs with nine points (4g, 5a) against the Thunder.
Just like most playoff matchups, a huge key to each team's success will be goaltending. For the Monarchs, Charles Williams is the number one goaltender coming into the series, carrying a 2.71 goals against average and a .919 save percentage into the playoffs, after playing in a career-high 45 games this season. Against the Thunder this season, Williams sports a .907 save percentage and a 3.16 goals against average.
For the Thunder, things aren't as clear cut between the pipes. Both Alex Sakellaropoulos and Evan Cormier are returning to the Thunder lineup after spending time in the AHL this season. Sakellaropoulos returned from the Springfield Thunderbirds (AHL) on April 5 for the final few regular season games, after being loaned on March 8. During the regular season, Sakellaropoulos appeared in 33 games for the Thunder, posting a .915 save percentage and a 2.51 goals against average. Against the Monarchs, Sakellaropoulos was on top of his game, posting a .953 save percentage and a 1.40 goals against average in five games.
Meanwhile, Cormier has played just six games with the Thunder this season, spending a majority of his year with the Binghamton Devils (AHL) after departing from the University of Guelph on December 29. Cormier played in 15 games for the Devils, posting a .902 save percentage and a 2.96 goals against average.
GAME DATES AND TIMES
Game 1: Friday, April 12 at 7:00pm @ Cool Insuring Arena
Game 2: Saturday, April 13 at 7:00pm @ Cool Insuring Arena
Game 3: Wednesday, April 17 at 7:00pm @ SNHU Arena
Game 4: Friday, April 19 at 7:00pm @ SNHU Arena
Game 5: Saturday, April 20 at 6:00pm @ SNHU Arena - If Necessary
Game 6: Tuesday, April 23 at 7:00pm @ Cool Insuring Arena - If Necessary
Game 7: Wednesday, April 24 at 7:00pm @ Cool Insuring Arena - If Necessary
Tickets to see your Monarchs back in the playoffs for the 17th time in 18 years can be purchased HERE, for as low as $6. Contact the Monarchs front office for Pay as We Play playoff tickets, at 603-626-7825.
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