Monarchs Put Penguins On The Brink

Monday, May 11, 2015
Manchester puts Penguins on the brink.
The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins are one game away from a second round exit in the 2015 Calder Cup Playoffs following a 5-2 loss to the Manchester Monarchs tonight in Game Four. The Monarchs lead the series three games to one and can close things out Tuesday night in Wilkes-Barre in Game Five. 

The Monarchs' top line of Michael Mersch, Jordan Weal and Brian O'Neill re-ignited their prior offensive firepower from the opening face-off - scoring 42 seconds into the game and never really looking back. The trio combined for four goals and three assists and has caused their opposition fits all postseason long.

The Penguins tallied two goals 37 seconds apart in the final frame by Tom Kostopoulos and Bryan Rust to get the Pens on the board and close the 5-0 gap to 5-2, but it was too little too late and the Penguins face elimination for the first time this postseason tomorrow night in Game Five at home.


Brian O'Neill on how Monarchs have been successful:
You have to keep it simple against a team like that. They're really good defensively, have a good goalie. Get pucks to the net and hopefully get some bounces.
O'Neill on Game Five:
I think we want to have the same start and keep it simple. It's been a lot of games in a short amount of time, so I think the team that comes out with the best jump is going to win.
Colin Miller on response from Game Three to tonight:
We wanted to have a good response and come out flying. With having three games here it's important to get at least one and keep the pressure on them.
Miller on Game Five:
It's going to be a battle. The teams are very evenly matched - they have been all series. We have to be disciplined, we have to watch what we're doing. The series can change with a blink of an eye, so we have to be careful.

The Monarchs' top line of Michael Mersch, Jordan Weal and Brian O'Neill that was so potent in Manchester in Game Two made their presence felt on the opening shift to give the Monarchs an early 1-0 lead.

Mersch's shot from the left-wing face-off circle appeared to change directions and handcuff Murray up high, allowing a rebound in the crease that Weal was able to corral past the Penguins goaltender 42 seconds into the contest.

The Monarchs continued to pressure the Penguins in the opening minutes until a pair of back-to-back penalties on Weal gave the Pens two power plays to work with. The home team failed to convert on either, but the Pens were able to stymie the Monarchs' momentum from their early goal in the opening minute and keep it at a 1-0 deficit heading to the middle frame.

The Monarchs really got to their game in the second period, adding three more goals and breaking the game wide open. First - on a Penguins power play - Mersch stole a puck and on a 2-on-1 rush wristed one past Murray to make it a 2-0 game 5:45 into the period.

A little over seven minutes later, Colin Miller kept a puck in at the Pens' defensive zone blue line and his point shot was tipped by Murray off of Weal for his second of the night and 9th of the postseason to make it a 3-0 score with 7:03 left in the middle period.

The Monarchs continued to take it to the Penguins from there, scoring off the rush on a one-timer from David Van der Gulik to extend Manchester's lead to 4-0 with 3:07 left before the 2nd intermission.

The Monarchs didn't take their foot off the proverbial pedal to start the final frame. Weal completed his hat trick 9:45 into the third to make it 5-0 on a power play tally from O'Neill and despite two quick goals by the Penguins to try to make a game of it - the game ended with a 5-2 final score.


Matt Murray (21 saves - 25 shots) got the start in net for the Penguins tonight in Game Four, with veteran Jeff Zatkoff serving as the team's backup. Zatkoff came on in relief of Murray to start the third period, stopping () of () shots that came his way.

No lineup changes for the Penguins. Josh Archibald is out for the rest of the postseason with an undisclosed injury while Scott Wilson and Oskar Sundqvist are both "day-to-day" per head coach John Hynes.

WBS Scratches: Eric Hartzell, Tristan Jarry, Harrison Ruopp, Sean Escobedo, Alex Boak, Jean-Sebastien Dea, Josh Archibald, Danny Syvret, Nick D’Agostino, Ryan Parent, Scott Wilson, Adam Payerl, Piere-Luc Leblond, Sahir Gill, Clark Seymour and Oskar Sundqvist.


Tom Kostopoulos - Andrew Ebbett - Carter Rowney
Conor Sheary - Jayson Megna - Bryan Rust
Tom Kuhnhackl - Nick Drazenovic - Kasperi Kapanen
Dominik Uher - Matia Marcantuoni - Bobby Farnham

Taylor Chorney - Brian Dumoulin
Scott Harrington - Barry Goers
Reid McNeill - Derrick Pouliot

Matt Murray - Jeff Zatkoff


Jean-Francois Berube (shots - saves) got the start in net for the Monarchs in Game Four, with rookie Patrik Bartosak serving as the team's backup.

Only one lineup change for the Monarchs from Game Three as Adrian Kempe returned to the lineup up front on the 4th line and Josh Gratton was a scratch after taking the warmup skate on Saturday.

MCH Scratches: Stephen Mastalerz, Jonny Brodzinski, Josh Gratton, Paul Bissonnette, Nick Ebert, Scott Sabourin, Kevin Raine and Alex Lintuniemi


Michael Mersch - Jordan Weal - Brian O'Neill
Ryan Horvat - Nick Shore - Zach O'Brien
David Van Der Gulik - Nic Dowd - Sean Backman
Justin Auger - Andrew Crescenzi - Adrian Kempe

Vincent LoVerde - Andrew Bodnarchuk
Colin Miller - Jeff Schultz
Derek Forbort - Kevin Gravel

Jean-Francois Berube - Patrik Bartosak


1st Period

0:42: MCH - Weal (8) - Mersch, Miller
8:51: MCH - (PP) Weal, minor (hooking)
11:37: MCH - (PP) Weal, minor (tripping)
14:22: WBS - (PP) Chorney, minor (high-sticking)

2nd Period

1:39: WBS - (PP) Kostopoulos, minor (slashing)
5:02: MCH - (PP) Dowd, minor (interference)
5:45: MCH - SHG Mersch (6) - unassisted
12:57: MCH - Weal (9) - Miller, O'Neill
16:53: MCH - Van der Gulik (2) - Shore, Auger

3rd Period

8:34: WBS - (PP) Ebbett, minor (holding)
9:45: MCH - PPG Weal (10) - O'Neill, LoVerde
10:58: WBS - Kostopoulos (3) - Drazenovic
11:35: WBS - Rust (2) - Sheary, Dumoulin


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