Tonight the Manchester Monarchs will play their second straight home game as they take on the Greenville Swamp Rabbits. The Monarchs are coming off of a split weekend against the Adirondack Thunder that kept them in first place in the east division.
The Swamp Rabbits are in fourth place in their own division, but their 34 points are only five behind the Monarchs’ 39. Greenville, like the Monarchs, are a high scoring team, averaging more than three goals scored per game. They are led by forward Richard Nejezchleb, who has eight points in his last eight games.
Greenville is a strong offensive team, and are 9-1-1 when they score at least one power play goal. They have played moderately well in their last ten games, going 5-2-3-1. The 98 Rabbits’ goals for lead the division outside of the 103 from the leading Florida Everblades, but they have surrendered 103 goals against, which is the third most in the ECHL.
The Swamp Rabbits were able to defeat the Thunder on Tuesday night, 3-1, thanks to 33 saves from goaltender Allen York.
Coming off of a shutout on Sunday afternoon, Colin Stevens could see another start in net tonight. The victory against the Thunder on Sunday was the Monarchs’ first shutout win of the season. Stevens has gone 6-4 with a 2.53 goals against average thus far this season.
Both the east and south divisions have been tight to play in, and while the Swamp Rabbits are a fourth place team, they have more points than teams in better positions in other divisions. While slowing down the Greenville offense is a key for the Monarchs, getting their own offense going is another. The team is 10-2-0-0 when scoring first in a game, and they also lead the league with the most shots on goal per game. Manchester is also 15-0-0-0 when scoring three goals in a game and are averaging 2.9 goals per game on the season.
This game is the opening of a three-game series against Greenville, as Manchester will host the Swamp Rabbits again on Saturday and Sunday. It is also the first time the Monarchs have ever faced the Greenville franchise. Puck drop tonight is at 7pm from Manchester.