LOWELL, MA – Goaltender Jonathan Bernier
stopped 18 shots for his fourth shutout of the season as the Manchester Monarchs blanked the Lowell Devils, 3-0, in front of 1,047 fans at the Tsongas Arena on Tuesday night.
Manchester (34-29-0-8, 76 points) is in third place in the Atlantic Division with nine games remaining on the regular season. Lowell (31-31-2-6, 70 points) is in sixth place in the Atlantic Division.
“It was a solid win,” said Monarchs Head Coach Mark Morris. “In the second period, Marty Murray got cut and we lost him for the period and it put us out of sorts but Bernier was solid in net for us. We got back in sync in the third period and I think we wore down Lowell.”
Center Justin Azevedo scored his ninth goal of the season and right wing David Meckler picked up his ninth point against the Devils as the Monarchs took a 1-0 lead at 7:32 of the opening period. Center Gabe Gauthier carried the puck into Lowell’s territory with Meckler skating to his left on a 2-on-1 breakaway. Sending the puck over to Meckler, the right wing ripped a one-timer that goaltender Jeff Frazee stopped at the top of the crease. The rebound bounced out to the hash marks for Azevedo to backhand into the net.
The Monarchs doubled their lead at 7:40 of the third period with left wing Matt Moulson’s 16th tally of the season. Right wing Trevor Lewis carried the puck along the left wing while battling off a Devils’ defender. The forward carried the puck out of the left wing corner and found Moulson on the right doorstep of the net for the quick tap in. Defenseman Alec Martinez picked up an assist on the goal that gave Manchester a 2-0 advantage.
Azevedo and Gauthier teamed up again for the third goal of the game. Azevedo skated down the right wing and wristed the puck on net and Frazee got a piece of the shot. The rebound fell behind Frazee for Gauthier to swipe into the open net for his 10th goal of the season at 15:09 of the final frame. Defenseman Joe Piskula assisted on the final goal of the game.
“We got some gritty goals and played well for all but a few minutes in the second period,” said Morris. “It was a great way to win two points.”
Bernier (20-20-4) picked up his 20th win and fourth shutout of the season stopping all 18 shots from Lowell. Frazee (25-18-5) took his 25th loss of the season stopping 24-of-27 shots.
Manchester went 0-for-4 on the power play. Lowell was 0-for-3 with the man advantage.