Monarchs blank Vandals

The Fort McMurray Monarchs beat up on the Lloydminster Vandals this past weekend by a 65-0 score to improve to 5-1 on the season. Robert Murray/Fort McMurray Today/Postmedia Network

The Fort McMurray Monarchs beat up on the Lloydminster Vandals this past weekend by a 65-0 score to improve to 5-1 on the season. Robert Murray/Fort McMurray Today/Postmedia Network

Robert Murray – Fort McMurray Today – Tuesday, July 12, 2016

The Fort McMurray Monarchs were rolling on both sides of the ball as they returned from their bye week to shutout the Lloydminster Vandals by a 65-0 score on the road.

With it, the Monarchs improved to 5-1 on the season as they looked to cement themselves into one of the league’s two first round byes ahead of playoffs.

“With these bye weeks, you’re going 100 per cent for a week and then you’re off again so it’s kind of tough,” Monarchs head coach Dave Spence said. “You’ve just got to maintain that momentum going into the playoffs where it’s do or die.”

The win ensured the Monarchs could stay undefeated against the Vandals in franchise history, with their third victory in as many opportunities. This game was also the second shutout for the Monarchs against the Vandals, with Lloydminster only managing to score seven points in the other previous meeting.

Whether or not the Monarchs expected the result before they arrived, it was a chance for the team to experiment, which Spence said revolved around quarterback Will Arndt, who continued to solidify the team’s offensive options.

“He showed great pocket presence and delivered the ball extremely well,” Spence continued. “He distributed it really well.”

“He’s a commanding leader, he’s smart and he listens to his teammates so he’s been a great addition.”

The team’s third clean sheet of the season continued to shine a light on the Monarchs’ defence, which has allowed a shade less than 14 points per game while the offence continued to hum along at it’s usual pace, increasing their offensive output to more than 56 points per game.

“You go out every week and you’ve got to be able to try to dominate an opponent,” Spence said. “These lopsided scores happen because we came in prepared and they weren’t.

“That’s just how it works out.”

It’s worked out that way for most of the Monarchs’ season so far, though their final two games present an opportunity for two mid-level opponents that might provide more of a challenge as the Monarchs move closer to the playoffs.

They’ll face the Edmonton Raiders July 23 and host the St. Albert Stars Aug. 7.

Spence expected nothing short of a stiff challenge from both teams in their final two games.

“I don’t think anybody has really laid down for us. We just have a dominant team who tend to score a lot points. That bodes well for us.”

rmurray@postmedia.com