Manchester and Adirondack are the only teams in the six-team North Division that have played 30 games so far, but how they reached that mark is different, especially lately.
The division-leading Monarchs have won eight of their last 10, and are on a four-game winning streak. The Thunder are 5-5 over their last 10, mirroring their overall .500 mark (15-13-1-1).
The Thunder are coming off a 5-3 loss to Worcester on Saturday, in which their effort was there in spurts, most notably the third period — but that had to be to make up for a first period in which they trailed 3-0.
“Defensively we’re not smart in certain situations, especially that second goal,” Thunder coach Brad Tapper said. “It’s a learning experience, we still have a lot of games to go. I think we’re limping into the break. We’ve got to come back on the 27th ready to win at home.”
“I think we won the third period, that was our objective,” said forward Ben Murphy, who had a goal and an assist in the loss.”
Murphy said the coaches have preached a 1-2-2 formation in the neutral zone against solid transition teams like Mamchester.
“If that 1-2-2 is tight and all the forwards are buying into that for 60 minutes,” Murphy said, “I think that could be utilized because that clogs up the neutral zone, and when you’re clogging up the neutral zone like that, they can’t really get pucks north-south in transition as they would want to.”