Chasing Manchester

By Corine Gatti

Chasing Manchester

Game one: It was a combination of fierce forechecking and speed that elevated the Manchester Monarchs to its throne. But despite the lack of aggression on the ice–the Admirals dethroned its opponent earning a 3-3 tie Friday night.

Fans sighed through the first period with exasperation. But were resuscitated when Tyler Arnason and Mike Peluso scored second-period goals and Matt Henderson tipped a goal with only four minutes left in the contest. “They are a quick team and we did a lot of standing around and watching. Also, instead of initiating, we were retaliating, said coach Trent Yawney whose team swept the first two games of the season.

Manchester controlled the puck from the face off with a pair of goals from Randy Robitalle and Joe Corvo. The Admirals released damage control with a pair of goals from rookie Tyler Arnason at 3:52 and Mike Peluso making it 3-2 Manchester. LA Kings goalie, Stephane Fiest, who is rehabilitation turned aside 19 of Norfolk shots 22 shots. Admiral’s Matt Henderson from Chebaturkin left point to tied it 3-3 in regulation.

Game two: Admirals lose first game of the season 6-3
The Admirals who rebounded in the first game against Manchester took a nosedive on Saturday night. Manchester out witted Norfolk with tough goaltending and blistering offence and served Norfolk its first loss of the season. Rookie goalie Craig Anderson struggled between the pipes for Norfolk allowing 5 goals before getting pulled in the third.

Norfolk opened with the first goal from winger bruiser Shawn Thornton. Manchester’s Randy Robitaille had a pair of goals in the first, and Joe Corvo scored his second goal of the season. Defenseman Chris McAlpine shrugged his shoulders and with a pause admitted, “This team gave us our wake up call,” said the veteran who recorded his third assist of the season on a second-period power play goal.
Tyler Arnason and Mike Peluso both added additional goals in the second. But Scott Thomas’s quickly extinguished the Admirals fire five-hole and Robitaille’s third goal of the night made it 5-3 Manchester. Yawney yanked his goalie and Brad Chartrand added another goal in the last minute of regulation.

Behind the headlines:
A rookie to keep an eye on. Michael Leighton made his second appearance Friday night and recorded his first tie of the season. The rookie enjoyed his first professional win against Springfield last week with a 2-1; 25 saves). Despite his inexperience at the AHL level, the Ontario native has shown great promise in the eyes of Admirals’ coach Yawney. “I really am really impressed how Leighton handles the net. He moves with great calmness and that is impressive at such an young age,” says Admirals’ Trent Yawney.

Stepping stone to success. Leighton in (45) games (32) wins with a 2.73 GAA with Windsor (OHL) last season with registered a career high 910 save percentage.
Player watch: Chicago Blackhawks sent defense player Steve McCarthy to Norfolk over the weekend. McCarthy, skated in three games with the parent club with 0-0-0 2 PIM. The former rookie played in seven games with Norfolk last season with (0) goals (4) assist (4) points. Also Bobby Russell was summoned to the roster from the team’s farm in Jackson Mississippi. This will be his second AHL appearance since last December and has not accumulated any goals during his brief stay. The speedy winger posted (69) goals (30) assist last season with the Jackson Bandits.
Winning Streak. (RW) Mike Peluso is on a 4 game winning streak. A former Calgary Flames draft section played with the Worcester Ice Cats (17) goals (23) assists. The Veteran was signed as a free agent last August.