Monarchs rule the East

The Manchester Monarchs are kings of the East.

The Monarchs won their first Eastern Conference championship on Wednesday night, completing a four-game sweep of the Hartford Wolf Pack with a 3-1 win in Game 4 at the XL Center in Hartford.

The Monarchs will host Game 1 of the 2015 Calder Cup Finals on Sat., June 6, against either the Utica Comets or the Grand Rapids Griffins. The Western Conference Finals are currently tied at one game apiece.

Manchester scored first for the fourth time in the series and the 11th time in 14 playoff games overall, taking a 1-0 lead at 3:13 of the first period when Nic Dowd put home a loose puck off the rebound of a Kevin Gravel shot.

It was Dowd’s third goal of the series and fourth of the postseason.

Hartford tied things up at 1:23 of the second period, with Ryan Haggerty cleaning up a loose puck in the crease for his second goal of the postseason.

The Monarchs regained the lead at 6:18, with Adrian Kempe getting his own rebound and beating Yann Danis in close for his second of the series and fourth of the playoffs.

Brian O’Neill, the AHL’s regular-season MVP and scoring champion who starred at nearby Yale University, put the game away during a delayed penalty with 11:50 remaining. O’Neill beat Danis over the glove with a perfectly placed shot in the top corner of the net for his third goal of the series and ninth of the postseason.

Manchester finished the game with a 31-22 advantage in shots on goal as it completed just the second sweep of a best-of-seven series in franchise history.

Berube (11-3) made 21 saves, earning his ninth win in the last 10 games.

Danis (7-7), back in net after serving as backup in Game 3, stopped 28 shots.

Eastern Conference Finals – Series “M” (best-of-7)
1-Manchester Monarchs vs. 3-Hartford Wolf Pack
Game 1 – Thu., May 21 – MANCHESTER 3, Hartford 2
Game 2 – Sat., May 23 – MANCHESTER 7, Hartford 4
Game 3 – Tue., May 26 – Manchester 5, HARTFORD 3
Game 4 – Wed., May 27 – Manchester 3, HARTFORD 1