Lordy, lordy, lordy! Wednesday night’s dance with the Sound Tigers was just what the doctor ordered. The Monarchs played at home for the first time in what seems like months (a few weeks in reality) and played host to a team that has stolen every contest in the jungle this season. That night, the guys said “This is our pond.” The Monarchs’ scoring was opened by recent roster addition and New Hampshire native Ian O’Connor, followed by another regulation tally from Colton Yellow Horn. It looked as if they had it locked down with a 2-1 lead in the third, but the Sound Tigers refused to go quietly into the night. It was an at-times chippy affair that ultimately took extra frames for the Monarchs to finally tear the ‘Tigers hearts out.
And speaking of tearing hearts out, Islanders recently demoted goalie Rick DiPietro was the poor sap in goal for the loss. If it was possible for an overtime game winning goal to be poetry, Jordan Weal’s beautiful deke and hop over DiPietro’s failed poke check was the finest prose ever written.
Second to many of Surly’s elegant sonnets, of course.
So what’s up next for our Monarchs? A battle with their fierce rival, the Portland Pirates, who are currently sitting pretty in second place in the Atlantic division with 69 points. Nine points separate the Monarchs — who are now in third — and those poop-deck swabbing scallywags. This will be the tenth game in the VIP Cup Series, with the Monarchs currently trailing by one game (4-5). If they win tonight, they can still win the series. If they don’t, they’d have to win the last two games to tie.
More important than this cross state inter-division sponsorship-driven rivalry is posturing for the postseason which is fast approaching. If the Calder Cup Playoffs were to start today, the Monarchs would be two points shy of the eight seed in the conference.
Them not making the playoffs after quite a long history of doing so simply isn’t an option.
Go Monarchs (and Kings)!