This Friday, the Bruins will be facing the Monarchs for their fourth battle of the season. The Atlantic division foes have already played each other more than any other team at this point of the season, which has so far worked to Manchester’s advantage as they hold a two to one series edge. The Monarchs have done well against the Bruins dating back to last season, owning an 8-5 record. It’s been especially good to be a Monarch lately, as they have won five out of the last seven matchups. Providence will look to return to the domination of the 2010-2011 season when they won a commanding eight of ten games against Manchester.
One key to doing that will be to keep it a close, competitive game. Since 2010, the Bruins have doubled up the wins in one-goal games : seven to Manchester’s three – including four shoot out wins. Goaltender Michael Hutchinson could play a major role in that as he’s 4-2 lifetime versus the Monarchs, sporting a .948 save percentage and a 1.40 goals against average. His counterpart, rookie Niklas Svedberg has only faced Manchester a couple of times, but he already looks promising with a 1-1/.918/2.50 line against them. A final key to the game is to slow down the Russian machines that are Andrei Loktionov and Vyacheslav Voynov, who have combined for two goals and four assists in the three meetings this season. One Bruins player to keep an eye on is Jordan Caron, whose hat trick spoiled Manchester’s home opener on October 19th.
Since the Bruins and Monarchs NHL affiliates in Boston and Los Angeles have won the last two Stanley Cup championships, their organizations are used to hosting a rich pool of hockey talent – and this year is no different. In fact, Bruins and Monarchs players have more connections in the hockey world than meets the eye. Beyond the obvious links (Manchester’s Andrew Bodnarchuk and David Kolomatis used to play in Providence – Bodnarchuk as a cornerstone of the B’s defense from 2006 to 2012, while Kolomatis made his professional debut with the Bruins in 2008), the players that will take the ice on Friday have a long history with each other.
The oldest connection is between trusted veterans Christian Hanson and Peter Mannino, who played for one season together, in 2003-04, for the Tri-City Storm of the USHL. Hutchinson and Richard Clune (Barrie 06-07), Kolomatis and Lane MacDermid (Owen Sound, 2006-2009) and MacDermid and Loktionov (Windsor, 2008-09) all spent time in the illustrious training grounds of the Ontario Hockey League. Meanwhile, Carter Camper and Vincent LoVerde skipped the OHL to play for the Miami University of Ohio RedHawks, where they made the NCAA tournament all four years, including a National Championship appearance – a loss to Colby Cohen and David Warsofsky’s Boston University Terriers in 2009. Even earlier than that, Cohen (2005-2007), Kolomatis (2005-06), Robert Czarnik (2006-2008), Warsofsky (2007-08), and Justin Florek (2006-2008) spent some time together on the USNTDP’s Under-18 team amongst the brightest future stars of the NHL.
The Bruins and Monarchs will get some time apart after Friday’s game, but not for too long. They will meet back up again on December 7th, at 7:05, at the Dunk.