Four games into a season like no other before, the New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs are feeling confident and excited to be back on the ice.
“We have dedicated the season to our late Head Coach Ryan Frew, and the players are fully focused on playing hockey,” said Head Coach Tony Dalessio. Frew passed away from complications due to peritonitis on Oct. 5.
The Monarchs defeated their rivals the Northern Cyclones 5-1 to start the season. Since then, they have continued to play high-paced games and have seen some amazing performances right out of the gate. Their 3-0-1 start is their best after at this early marker out of their first three seasons in the league.
Only the eye-opening first-year Boston Advantage (4-1-1) have been able to nab the Monarchs - in overtime - on Oct. 19.
The Monarchs are currently at the front end of a 10-day break between games, but they scored a sweet first shutout of the year against the Boston Junior Bruins. The game was played the afternoon of Oct. 23 in Marlborough, Mass., and ended just one hour before the state government’s deadline for all Massachusetts rinks to be closed and locked for two weeks due to COVID-19 concerns.
Returning NCDC netminder Artur Ogandzhanyan stopped all 46 shots he faced from a very talented Junior Bruins squad. Joseph “Jeb” Dee posted the game-winning goal and assisted on the insurance marker by Sean Brown, both registered in the second period.
• Ogandzhanyan’s 46 saves are a career high for him, and the 48 shots faced are the third-most for the Hungarian native in his two NCDC seasons.
• The 46 saves are the most in a shutout win since former Rochester goalie Fletcher Bolda also posted 46 in a 1-0 win over New Hampshire on Jan. 25.
• His 46 saves set a Monarchs NCDC record for most in a shutout win. He beat his own 38 saves set last year in defeating the Jersey Hitmen, 2-0, on Feb. 14; and that 38-save shutout had also tied with Matt Pasquale’s 38-save shutout of Twin City on Oct. 19, 2019.
• With Dee holding the scoring lead with a 1-3-4 line through four games, he becomes the fifth defenseman to currently sit in the scoring lead for an NCDC team early on this season. Only he and the South Shore Kings’ Nolan Hayes (2-3-5) are outright leaders.
• One-fourth (eight of 32) NCDC games have resulted in a shutout so far this season. That is more than the seven combined shutouts in the first 32 games of each of the last two seasons.
Rockets Extend Winning Streak To Four
The Rockets Hockey Club continues to set the pace for the NCDC, picking up two more wins from the P.A.L. Jr. Islanders (5-1) and Connecticut Jr. Rangers (3-1).
• The two wins gave the Rockets their all-time best point streak of eight games (7-0-1), beating their previous best of 6-0-1 from Oct. 13-29, 2018.
• When the Rockets defeated the Rangers, it was their first win over Connecticut since Oct. 14, 2018, going 0-4-2-1 in seven prior meetings before Friday.
• Clark Kerner maintains the scoring lead in the NCDC with 6-7-13 totals through eight games, with seven of his points (3-4-7) coming in his last four games. Jonathan Wescoe (4-2-6) is on an active five-game scoring streak.
• Kerner’s fellow UMass-Lowell recruit Aidan Harper gave up just one goal against in each of the two games and posted a .967 save percentage (stopping 60 of 62 total shots).
Looking Ahead: The Rockets next face the Utica Jr. Comets for the second and third times this season on Friday and Saturday. All-time, the teams are essentially dead even, with the Rockets holding a 6-6-0-2 record.
The Connecticut Jr. Rangers take on the P.A.L. Jr. Islanders for a pair of games, as well. These two teams are also pretty close. From the host Rangers point of view, they are 7-6-3.
On Wednesday, P.A.L. faces Utica, with the Jr. Comets as a host on neutral ground. Utica holds a 9-5 all-time record over P.A.L.
Advantage Earn Three Points, Tie For Lead In North Division
Welcome to the NCDC and then some, Boston Advantage! The Advantage have not only found a comfort level in the Tier-2 league, they have also managed to create a lot of discomfort for their opponents along the way. They lead the North Division with a 4-1-1-1 record. Most recently, they paid back the Islanders Hockey Club for their only regulation loss with a regulation victory, defeating the Islanders by a 4-0 score. As aforementioned, they fell 1-0 in overtime to the Cyclones in their other action over the past week.
• Connor Bradford earned his second shutout of the season, out of four starts, making 34 saves against the Islanders. He is the fifth NCDC goalie to earn at least two shutouts in their first four games, joining the Jersey Hitmen’s Damon Beaver (three to start this season); former Hitmen Evan Szary - currently with the South Shore Kings - and Gavin Abric; and former Monarch Brian Cannata.
• In just their first seven NCDC games, the Advantage have won or lost in almost every fashion possible. They have two regulation wins, a regulation loss, an overtime win, an overtime loss and a shootout loss. They are only missing a shootout win for bingo. The 2017-18 Syracuse Stars had a similar assortment of results in their first seven games.
• The Advantage are off to the best start of any first-year NCDC team excluding the first year of the league (2017-18) after seven games, edging out Twin City by two points. The Thunder started last year at 4-3.
Cyclones Earn First 1-0 Overtime Victory
Michael Mackenzie sent one home at 1:56 of overtime for a 1-0 win over the Boston Advantage, receiving the pass from Preston Park. Alex Contey stopped all 20 shots for his first NCDC shutout.
• Along with the Cyclones’ Oct. 23 OT win over the Junior Bruins, both of Contey’s W’s are beyond the 60-minute mark.
• It was not the first GWG for the third-year Cyclone Mackenzie, but it was his first OT goal.
• This game was the first time in four NCDC seasons that the Cyclones scored their only goal in overtime.
Islanders Hockey Club Takes Split Over Three Days
The Islanders moved from 4-2 to 5-3 overall with the 4-0 loss to the Advantage and a 4-2 win over the Twin City Thunder. Max Cocchi scored the game-winner, his third of the season.
• The Islanders now have five players with at least three goals through their first eight games, led by Aidan Coupe’s four. Only the Rockets have as many players with at least three goals at this point.