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DEVILS DROP MONARCHS, 7-3

by Staff Writer / Los Angeles Kings
MANCHESTER, NH –Right wing Benoit Mondou recorded three goals and an assist while defenseman Olivier Magnan matched the four point effort by notching a quartet of assists as the Lowell Devils overcame the Manchester Monarchs en route to a 7-3 victory before 7,116 fans at the Verizon Wireless Arena on Tuesday night.

Manchester (25-25-4-4) is in fifth place in the Atlantic Division with 58 points. Lowell (18-29-7-4) is in seventh place in the Atlantic Division with 47 points.

Left wing Mike Pandolfo's third goal of the season, tallied in the midst of the Devils' scoring parade, proved to be the decisive one. Mondou's pass from the left wing corner missed its intended target in front of the net, but slid all the way to defenseman Olli Malmivaara at the point. Malmivaara released a shot that was initially stopped by Monarchs goaltender Daniel Taylor, but the rebound dropped to Pandolfo in front of the net and the winger buried it 2:30 into the second period.

The Devils opened the scoring on the fifth goal of the season from Malmivaara at 8:34 of the first period. Controlling the puck at the left wing half wall, center Erik Rasmussen dished the puck to Malmivaara at the point. Unchallenged, Malmivaara stepped up and let a wrist shot go from the right circle that slipped past Monarchs Taylor. Right wing Nicklas Bergfors also earned an assist on Malmivaara's tally.

Lowell took only 65 seconds to double their lead when Mondou was credited with a goal off an odd bounce. With Monarchs center Matt Ryan in the box for hooking, the Devils went to work on the power play. After right wing Grant Marshall's one-time attempt to Taylor's right went behind the cage, the ensuing battle behind the net led to the puck jumping off a stick and over the net where it bounced past the goal line. Rasmussen collected the secondary assist on Mondou's eighth marker of the year scored at 9:39 of the opening frame.

The Devils made the Monarchs pay for center Brady Murray's high-sticking major on a nifty goal, the second of the game and ninth of the season from Mondou with 1:09 remaining in the first period. In the middle of a scrum in the left wing corner, Marshall chipped the puck to center Ivan Khomutov behind Manchester's net. Khomutov quickly found Mondou alone at the bottom of the right face-off circle, where he one-timed a blast over the left shoulder of Taylor.

The Devils' fifth tally came courtesy of center Petr Vrana's 10th goal of the year at 7:27 of the second period. Working on Lowell's third power play, Malmivaara's shot from the point hit Taylor high on the chest and bounced down to the ice where Vrana banged home the rebound. Magnan also earned an assist on the play.

Manchester finally answered with a goal from Ryan. Lowell goaltender David Caruso failed to hold on to Monarchs defenseman John Klemm's blast from the point and the rebound came out to Ryan, who backhanded the puck into the net while on his knees. Ryan's seventh tally of the season came 9:03 into the second period.

Mondou quickly squelched any thoughts of a Manchester comeback with his third goal of the contest, and 10th of the year, scored 10:23 into the middle frame. A well-placed pass from Magnan in the left corner was tipped past Taylor by Mondou in front.

Lowell's fifth power play goal of the night, and seventh of the game came off of Malmivaara's stick. Working in Manchester's zone, Vrana cycled the puck to Magnan at the left point, who then slid the puck to Malmivaara at the right point. Malmivaara's knuckling shot bounced past Taylor, giving the Devils a 7-1 lead. The goal was Malmivaara's second of the game and sixth on the season, scored 15:48 into the second stanza.

With time winding down in the second period, center Gabe Gauthier tallied the Monarchs' second goal of the night, scored on the man advantage. Center Brian Boyle found Gauthier at the blueline, where his point shot passed through a screen and beat Caruso to the blocker side. The goal, Gauthier's 21st of the year was scored at 19:22.

Manchester remained in the game with a goal by left wing Petr Kanko at the 14:59 mark of the final period. Streaking down the right wing, Boyle unleashed a shot that was stopped by Caruso, but the rebound bounced out to Kanko at the bottom of the left circle, where the winger slipped the puck past the sprawled goaltender.

Taylor (10-5-2) turned aside 19-of-26 shots in the loss. Caruso (2-2-0) stopped 35-of-38 shots en route to the victory.

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