MANCHESTER, NH – Rookie defenseman Brian Boyle, dressed in his army fatigues as the team honored the military, fire and police for American Pride Night, scored the first goal and the last goal of the game in the Manchester Monarchs 4-3 overtime victory over the Springfield Falcons in front of 6,468 fans at the Verizon Wireless Arena on Saturday night.
Manchester (6-7-1-1) is in sixth place in the Atlantic Division with 14 points. Springfield (8-5-1-3) is tied for third place in the Atlantic Division with 20 points.
After three unanswered goals by the Falcons in the third period to push overtime, it took just 49-seconds into the extra period before defenseman Troy Milam blasted a slap shot on Falcons goaltender Devan Dubnyk. Boyle was positioned in front of the goaltender and tipped the shot over Dubnyk's right shoulder for the game-winning goal. Center Gabe Gauthier earned an assist on Boyle's sixth tally of the season to push his scoring streak to eight games.
Boyle first parked his 6-foot-7, 250-pound body in front of Dubnyk at 11:15 of the opening frame and capitalized on the power play with the first goal of the game. Cycling the puck, defenseman Peter Harrold sent the puck to right wing Teddy Purcell at the top of the left face-off circle. Purcell sent a wrist shot toward the net that hit Boyle in the leg. Boyle pivoted and with a quick swipe of his stick, he jammed the puck past Dubnyk for his fifth goal of the season and the Monarchs 1-0 lead.
Center Marc-Andre Cliche made it a 2-0 game at 14:43 of the first period with his second goal of the season. With Monarchs netminder Erik Ersberg skating to the bench for a delayed penalty, Harrold sent the puck into a battlefield of bodies in front of Dubnyk. Cliche swiped at the puck several times until he was able to slide it under Dubnyk and across the goal line.
Manchester tripled their lead in front of the home crowd as center Matt Ryan collected his first goal of the season at 4:34 of the middle period. On a five-minute power play as Falcons left wing Tim Sestito sat in the box for fighting, Purcell weaved the puck through Springfield players deep in the offensive zone. The untouchable rookie shot the puck on Dubnyk from point blank range at the right doorstep. Dubnyk made the save and directed the rebound to his right for Ryan to chip-in the goal as he fell to the ice. Milam earned an assist on the tally that brought the game to 3-0.
Former Monarchs defenseman T.J. Kemp spoiled Ersberg's shutout bid with his first tally of the season at 4:08 of the final stanza. On a 5-on-3 power play, Springfield fed the puck to their point where Kemp settled the puck, wound up and ripped a slap shot past Ersberg's glove to bring the Falcons to within two. Center Rob Schremp and defenseman Sebastien Bisaillon were credited with the assists.
Just over a minute later, Springfield struck again. Left wing Jean-Francois Jacques was denied by Ersberg as he shot the puck from the left face-off circle. The puck fell into the crease following Ersberg's save and bodies began to fly. Center Marc Pouliot flipped the puck into the net as Ersberg fell to the ice at 5:18 of the third period.
Ersberg left the game as he was injured by the traffic in front of the net when Pouliot tallied his third goal of the season. Netminder Dan Cloutier replaced Ersberg at the 5:08 mark of the final period.
With 5:01 remaining in regulation, Schremp evened the score at 3-3 with his fourth goal of the season. Schremp carried the puck to the hash marks and wristed a shot past Cloutier to tie the game and push overtime. Defenseman Bryan Young and center Tyler Spurgeon assisted on the Falcons third unanswered goal of the third period.
Ersberg stopped 27-of-29 shots through 45 minutes of play. Cloutier earned the win with nine saves on 10 shots. Dubnyk took the loss with 35 saves.
Manchester went 2-for-5 on the power play. Springfield was 1-for-10 with the man advantage.