October 28, 2013

AHL Journal: Toffoli on a tear for Monarchs

By Mike Miccoli

Tyler Toffoli is making a case for a promotion back to Los Angeles, as the Monarchs forward has 12 points through the team's first ten games. (Getty Images)

It’s understood that the success of the Eastern Conference’s top-ranked team, the Manchester Monarchs, has come thanks to the overall team effort that Mark Morris squad is putting forward. However, the squad got even more of a boost this past weekend when Tyler Toffoli broke out offensively in a big way.

Toffoli scored four goals and assisted on three others in the Monarchs’ three games this past week. Because of his surge, Toffoli is now tied for third in the AHL in scoring with 12 points. His strong weekend comes after a challenging previous set of games where he was held scoreless against the Providence Bruins -- during which he was a team-worst minus-3 -- and in an overtime loss against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins.

The Monarchs were able to come away from the weekend with two wins, but suffered their first regulation loss at the hands of the St. John’s Ice Caps. It was also the first weekend since the start of the season where the Monarchs didn’t go to overtime in any of their tilts.

Toffoli gained some valuable NHL experience last year. He has played in more postseason games with the Los Angeles Kings (12) than regular season (10) tilts, as the young forward played a contributing role in last year’s playoffs. He scored two goals with four assists in his time with the former Stanley Cup Champions.

Now in his third year as a pro, the Kings’ second-round pick in 2010 will definitely garner attention from the NHL club if he continues to stabilize his game and remains a force offensively.

News and Notes

  • Things are beginning to go from bad to worse for the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. With just one win on the season, their only game this past weekend would have been an ideal hit of the refresh button to get on track with somewhat of a new start. Instead, the Syracuse Crunch shutout the Sound Tigers, 5-0, scoring each of their goals in the second period. Anders Nilsson's goals-against average inflated to 4.56 after being peppered with 30 shots in the first two periods. The Sound Tigers will be busy with three games this upcoming week, attempting to get back on track.

  • Speaking of teams getting back on track, the Portland Pirates swept both of their opponents this week to pick up their first two wins of the season. Mark Visentin was in net for both games: Wednesday night against the Hartford Wolfpack and Saturday night against the Albany River Rats. Visentin was solid in stepping up as the Pirates' assumed starter, stopping 52 of 56 shots.

  • The anticipated return of Providence Bruins grinder Bobby Robins was put briefly on hold after the winger was handed a one-game suspension for a roughing incident during Friday night's game against the Springfield Falcons. Robins sat out the for the Bruins' Sunday game against the Ice Caps, a 5-2 win, after missing the team's first six games with a knee injury. Providence finished 2-0 this weekend, handing the Falcons their first loss of the season in a shootout.

  • Former Boston College standout, John Muse (East Falmouth, Mass.) had an impressive start of the 2013-14 AHL season with the Charlotte Checkers. After making his season debut this past Friday, Muse recorded two straight shutouts against the Grand Rapids Griffins and the Chicago Wolves, stopping all 57 shots he faced. For his efforts, he was named the CCM/AHL Player of the Week.

  • Speaking of the Checkers, the club signed former New York Islander Rick DiPietro to a tryout. The Winthrop, Mass., native will look to join the team after injuries to Cam Ward and Anton Khudobin prompted two promotions (Justin Peters, Mike Murphy) from their nearby farm team. "It's a safety net and could give us more depth," Carolina Hurricanes GMJim Rutherford, said of the 32-year-old DiPietro. "At this point it's a PTO. We'll see what kind of shape he's in, how he plays."

The Week Ahead

Wednesday, October 30

Springfield Falcons @ Adirondack Phantoms (7pm)

Bridgeport Sound Tigers @ Hartford Wolfpack (7pm)

St. John's Ice Caps @ Portland Pirates (7pm)

Friday, November 1

St. John's Ice Caps @ Portland Pirates (7pm)

Hartford Wolfpack @ Springfield Falcons (7pm)

Manchester Monarchs @ Providence Bruins (7:05pm)

Bridgeport Sound Tigers @ Worcester Sharks (7:30pm)

Saturday, November 2

Norfolk Admirals @ Bridgeport Sound Tigers (7pm)

Providence Bruins @ Manchester Monarchs (7pm)

Hartford Wolfpack @ Springfield Falcons (7pm)

St. John's Ice Caps @ Worcester Sharks (7pm)

Twitter: @MikeMiccoli
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