WORCESTER, MA – Goaltender Jonathan Bernier
stopped 28 shots for his sixth consecutive win and the Manchester Monarchs earned their sixth win in a row as they edged the Worcester Sharks, 4-3, in front of 3,827 fans at the DCU Center on Sunday evening.
Manchester (33-26-0-6, 72 points) is in third place in the Atlantic Division. Worcester (32-28-1-2, 67 points) is in fifth place in the Atlantic Division.
"We had a real tenuous start but we turned it up in the second half of the first period," said Monarchs Head Coach Mark Morris. "The second period was much the same as the first but we came together as a team. We played well defensively in the third period to come away with the win."
Right wing Trevor Lewis backhanded a rebound over goaltender Taylor Dakers' right pad to give the Monarchs their final lead of the game. Defenseman Davis Drewiske ripped a slap shot from the center point that Dakers saved but the rebound fell in front of him and Lewis was there to flip the puck into the net for this 15th goal of the season. Center Marty Murray assisted on the game-winning goal at 16:33 of the second period. The Sharks drew first blood with center Tom Cavanagh's 13th goal of the season at 7:03 of the opening frame. Right wing Ryan Vesce sent the puck toward the net from the left wing half wall. The puck ping-ponged off of sticks before it could reach the net. Cavanagh took a swipe at the puck and chipped it over Bernier and into the left corner of the net to start the scoring off. Center Matt Fornataro picked up an assist on the goal.
Manchester answered back with two goals in the final five minutes of the first period to take the 2-1 lead into the locker room for the first intermission. Skating on the power play, Lewis collected the puck at the center point and sent a slap shot through traffic toward the net. Center Brian Boyle was on the left doorstep and redirected the rubber over Dakers for his eighth goal of the season. Murray assisted on the goal that brought the game to 1-1 at 15:36 of the first period.
At 19:37 of the opening frame, left wing Vladimir Dravecky scored his fifth goal of the season to give the Monarchs a 2-1 advantage. Right wing David Meckler's shot from the right face-off circle was saved by Dakers and center Justin Azevedo took the rebound behind the net. The rookie center found Dravecky on the left doorstep for the go-ahead goal.
Worcester started the second period off with a bang as right wing Riley Armstrong and left wing Frazer McLaren scored 16 seconds apart within the first minute of the second period. Armstrong's 21st goal of the season came at the 25-second mark of the middle frame as he skated from the left wing corner to the net and jammed the puck past Bernier's left pad and into the net. Center T.J. Fox assisted on Armstrong's tally to even the score.
Setting a new Monarchs season record for the fastest two goals scored by their opponent at 16 seconds, McLaren shot the puck from the right corner that bounced off of bodies in front of the net and behind Bernier at the 41-second mark of the second period. Right wing Dan DaSilva assisted on McLaren's goal to give Worcester a 3-2 lead.
Monarchs' defenseman Alec Martinez scored his eighth goal of the season at 14:18 of the second period to even the game at three goals apiece. With only one second remaining on forward P.J. Fenton's high sticking penalty, the Monarchs cycled the puck in the Sharks zone. Left wing Scott Parse fed the puck to defenseman Viatcheslav Voynov at the right point. Voynov passed the puck to his defensive partner at the top of the left face-off circle where Martinez's wrist shot found the top left corner of the net.
"It's nice to finish off four games in five nights and I'm really proud of our guys," said Morris.
Bernier (19-17-3) earned his 19th win of the season stopping 18-of-31 shots. Dakers (11-8-0) took his eighth loss of the season with 38 saves.
Manchester went 2-for-6 on the power play. Worcester was 0-for-2 with the man advantage.