October 14, 2013

AHL Journal: Jones, Monarchs jump out to early lead in East

By Mike Miccoli

Goaltender Martin Jones is off to another hot start for the Monarchs this season. (Getty Images)

With two weekends of hockey officially in the books for the AHL, teams are beginning to see where some of their strengths and weaknesses lie. For the Manchester Monarchs, one of their biggest strengths is in net. They can thank Martin Jones for that.

The 6-foot-4 goaltender has played in all four of the Monarchs games, picking up three wins with his only loss coming in the shootout. More impressive? In those four games, he has only allowed six goals on 123 shots and boasts a stingy 1.41 G.A.A. and .951 save percentage. For good measure, Jones blanked the Bridgeport Sound Tigers on Saturday, stopping all 38 shots to earn his 11th career shutout.

For his efforts, the Monarchs’ netminder was named the AHL Player of the Week.

Jones begins his fourth season in Manchester after signing a new two-year contract with the Los Angeles Kings this past September. The 23-year-old is off to a good start in the 2013-14 AHL season after recording a 27-25-4 record with a 2.53 goals-against average and .919 save percentage in 2012-13.

While Jones has Jonathan Quick (Hamden, Conn.) and Ben Scrivens ahead of him on a crowded depth chart in Los Angeles, the Monarchs netminder is certainly garnering attention after this impressive start.

The Monarchs will have a busy weekend ahead, traveling to play the Hartford Wolfpack -- who have an identical 3-0-1 record -- on Friday, followed by a home tilt against the Providence Bruins on Saturday and a battle against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins on Sunday in Manchester.

News and Notes

- In their first week in their new home, the Portland Pirates announced that Jordan Szwarz (pictured right) would become the team's captain for the 2013-14 season, the 17th leader in team's history. Szwarz enters his third year as a member of the Pirates, and recorded his first goal of the season in Saturday's 5-2 loss against the Providence Bruins. The Pirates are still searching for their first win of the season, closing out their opening AHL week with an 0-1-1 record.

- Big weekend for scorers on New England's AHL clubs. Tim Erixon of the Springfield Falcons, Danny Kristo of the Hartford Wolfpack and Ryan Spooner of the Providence Bruins cracked the top 10 in AHL for scoring this week. Both Kristo and Spooner registered identical tallies, scoring two goals and three assists apiece, while Erixon has one goal and four assists. J.T. Miller, also of the Wolfpack, is right on the edge of making the list himself with his four goals in three games.

- It has been a quiet start for the Worcester Sharks who have played a league-low one game since the 2013-14 AHL season began on Oct. 4. The Sharks dropped their only game to the Springfield Falcons on Saturday by a score of 4-3. New captain Rob Davison racked up 15 penalty minutes after a fight and a game misconduct in the second period in his debut in a Sharks uniform.

- In two hard-fought games last weekend, the offense from the Bridgeport Sound Tigers went cold, as the team was only able to score one goal. Johan Sundstrom scored Bridgeport’s only goal in Sunday’s 3-1 loss against the undefeated Springfield Falcons. The Sound Tigers were shut out by Martin Jones and the Manchester Monarchs, 3-0, on Saturday night.

The Week Ahead

Friday, October 18

Manchester Monarchs @ Hartford Wolfpack (7pm)

Springfield Falcons @ Providence Bruins (7:05pm)

Saturday, October 19

Springfield Falcons @ Adirondack Phantoms (7pm)

Providence Bruins @ Manchester Monarchs (7pm)

Hartford Wolfpack @ Portland Pirates (7pm)

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins @ Worcester Sharks (7pm)

Sunday, October 20

Binghamton Senators @ Bridgeport Sound Tigers (3pm)

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins @ Manchester Monarchs (3pm)

Portland Pirates @ Worcester Sharks (5pm)

Twitter: @MikeMiccoli
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