October 13, 2012

Jones leads Monarchs to 2-0 start, early division lead

By Jesse Connolly

Two games down, two wins in the books for the Manchester Monarchs. 

Martin Jones, seen here practicing with L.A. during the Cup finals, was stellar for the Monarchs this weekend. (Getty Images)

The Monarchs have jumped out to an early lead in the AHL’s Atlantic Division, thanks largely to netminder Martin Jones.

Jones got the start in Manchester’s season opener on Friday night down in Providence. The Bruins managed just one goal on 30 shots and went 0-for-5 on the man advantage, as the Monarchs – who got goals from Linden Vey, Andrei Loktionov and Andy Andreoff – won by a score of 3-1 at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center.

On Saturday night in Albany, coach Mark Morris once again turned to Jones to get the job done. The 22-year-old netminder was equally as strong, thwarting 22-of-23 Devils’ shots. Defenseman David Kolomatis tallied twice in the first period, scoring what would prove to be the game-winner at the 14:10 mark of the contest as the Monarchs earned a 2-1 victory.

“We beat a talented team tonight,” said Morris. “It caps off a successful start to our season leading to our home opener. The team is working hard and playing pretty good hockey. We have adapted nicely to the systems we have worked on since training camp. We’ll continue to make the necessary improvements to clean up parts of our game that need adjustments.”

Jones, a British Columbia native who’s in his third season with the club, now owns a 1.00 goals-against average and spectacular .962 save percentage through the first two games of the AHL season. On Saturday, he helped Manchester’s penalty kill remain perfect, as the team is now 9-for-9.

The Monarchs will square off with the P-Bruins again on Friday night in the team’s home opener at Verizon Wireless Arena. They’ll then welcome the visiting Portland Pirates to town the next night.

Jesse Connolly can be reached at jconnolly@hockeyjournal.com. Follow him on Twitter at @JesseNEHJ.