|Oscar Moller scored the game winner in the Monarchs 2-1 win. |
HERSHEY, PA – Goaltender Jonathan Bernier
backstopped the Manchester Monarchs to a 2-1 win over the Hershey Bears in front of 10,223 fans at the Giant Center on Sunday night.
Manchester (3-1-0-0) is tied with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers (3-0-0-0) for first place in the Atlantic Division with six points. Hershey (3-1-0-0) took their first loss of the season but remain the front runners in the East Division with six points.
“We came out with a flurry (Sunday night),” said Monarchs Head Coach Mark Morris. “We put a lot of pucks on net and the boys fought tooth and nail. It was a great character win for us.
“We had a real solid effort from our veteran line of (Marc-Andre) Cliche, (Gabe) Gauthier and (David) Meckler. Our penalty killers were good. (Joe) Piskula and (Andrew) Campbell did a great job shutting down the two highest scoring forwards in the American Hockey League.”
Center Oscar Moller doubled Manchester’s lead in the second period with his second goal of the season at 13:57. It was a foot race to the puck between Moller and Bears’ defenseman Patrick Wellar from Hershey’s blueline into their zone. Moller took a slight lead and collected the puck. Putting his body between him and Wellar, the center controlled the puck with only his left hand on his stick. As they reached the hash marks, Moller flipped the puck with one hand up and over goaltender Braden Holtby to give the Monarchs a 2-0 lead over the reigning Calder Cup champions.
Right wing Brandon Segal put the Monarchs on the scoreboard with four and a half seconds remaining in the opening period. With the face-off to the left of Holtby, center Justin Azevedo won the draw straight back to Segal at the top of the circle. The right wing scooped the puck up and snapped a wrist shot into the top right corner of the net for his second tally of the season.
The Bears got on the board at 13:21 of the third period with left wing Alexandre Giroux’s third goal of the season. Hershey was putting on some pressure in the Monarchs zone as they cycled the puck. Defenseman John Carlson found Giroux high between the face-off circles. The veteran winger teed up a slap shot that buzzed through traffic and into the net behind Bernier to cut the Monarchs lead in half. Right wing Andrew Gordon also picked up an assist on the goal.
As the final buzzer was about to ring at Giant Center, Hershey shot the puck on net. No red light went on but the Bears lifted their arms in the air as if they had scored the tying goal. Bernier was on the ice and looked as though he was covering the puck. No goal was allowed and final score was announced 2-1 in the Monarchs favor.
“It came down to the final seconds and Bernier was able to keep it from going into overtime,” said Morris. “A lot of fans went home disappoint in Hershey. We are very pleased with our two pints here. We beat a great hockey team.”
Bernier improved his record to 3-0-0 on the season by stopping 34-of-35 shots. Holtby (2-1-0) took his first loss of the season with 26 saves.
Manchester went 0-for-3 on the power play. Hershey was 0-for-6 with the man advantage.
Notables: The Monarchs victory over the Bears is only their third win in team history at the Giant Center; the last win in Hershey came on March 30, 2008 with a final score of 5-2…Manchester has an overall record of 6-9-1-1 against Hershey since the team’s inception in 2001…The Monarchs also handed Hershey their first loss of the season on Sunday night…Right wing Brandon Segal has scored the first goal of the game twice in the four games the Monarchs have played this season, the 6-3 opening win in Albany on October 3 and Sunday’s 2-1 win over Hershey…Segal and center Oscar Moller both scored their second goals of the season tonight…Moller’s tally was his second game-winning goal for the Monarchs this season; he also scored the game-winner on Friday against Norfolk.