CHARLOTTE, NC –
Center Corey Elkins
and left wing Dwight King
picked up two goals apiece to lead the Manchester Monarchs to a 6-4 victory over the Charlotte Checkers at the Time Warner Cable Arena on Thursday night.
Manchester (26-14-1-1) earned their 26th win of the season and leads the Atlantic Division with 54 points. Charlotte (22-14-1-4) dropped their 14th game of the season and sit in second place in the East Division with 49 points.
“A strong first period was exactly what we needed,” explained Monarchs Head Coach Mark Morris. “The message before the game was about being thorough and we played with conviction. We sputtered periodically allowing Charlotte to reenergize when we lost focus and got careless. It was a good road win but we need to tighten some parts of our game before the puck drops tomorrow night. There were lots of good things and we hope to correct the things which need attention.”
Elkins picked up his second goal of the game and the eventual game-winner at 3:34 of the final frame. Center Jordan Nolan
grabbed the puck in the neutral zone and skated over the Checkers blueline. Nolan sent the puck to defenseman Viatcheslav Voynov who was skating into the zone on the left side of Nolan. Voynov found Elkins in the right face-off circle for the one-timer that gave the Monarchs a 5-2 lead.
King started off the scoring for the Monarchs at 2:21 of the opening period with his 10th goal of the season. Just one second after Manchester’s power play expired, King jammed the puck over the goal line to give the Monarchs the 1-0 advantage. Cycling on the power play, left wing Bud Holloway
found center Justin Azevedo
behind the Checkers cage. Azevedo sent a puck into the slot for King to stuff past netminder Justin Pogge.
King doubled the Monarchs score to 2-0 at 5:25 of the first period. With left wing Nicolas Blanchard in the penalty box for holding, the Monarchs worked quickly, scoring only seven seconds into the man advantage. Defenseman Thomas Hickey
found Holloway down low who tossed the puck on net. King was on the doorstep again and was able to put the puck in the back of the net for his 11th tally of the season.
At 11:34 of the first period, Elkins netted his 10th goal of the season. Right wing Brandon Kozun
found Elkins in the right face-off circle and the center threw the puck toward the net and it eluded Pogge as it found the back of the net.
The Checkers began to battle back with two tallies by center Brett Sutter. The first one, his fourth goal of the season, came at 19:20 of the first period. Defenseman Michal Jordan sent the puck behind the Monarchs net from the left wing half wall. Right wing Jerome Samson picked up the pass from Jordan and carried it out to the right face-off circle before turning and firing a shot on net. Monarchs netminder Martin Jones
made the initial save but Sutter was on the doorstep to stuff in the rebound.
Sutter capitalized with his second goal of the game, fifth tally of the season at 1:36 of the middle frame. Unassisted, Sutter broke into neutral territory and then across the Monarchs blueline with a 2-on-1 breakaway with left wing Chris Terry. Opting to shoot the puck rather than pass it, Sutter beat Jones to bring the score to within one goal as the Monarchs contained the lead at 3-2.
Azevedo picked up his 12th goal of the season at 6:42 of the second period to give the Monarchs their two goal lead again. Center Marc-Andre Cliche
shoved the puck out of the Monarchs zone and up to Holloway along the right wing in the neutral zone. Holloway flipped a pass over to Azevedo at center ice. Azevedo carried the puck over the Checkers blueline, cut to his right and then snapped a wrist shot from the top of the right face-off circle that squeaked through Pogge’s pads for the 4-2 advantage.
Charlotte began their second comeback of the game with left wing Jacob Micflikier’s 17th goal of the season at 11:06 of the final stanza. Skating on the power play, Jordan passed the puck to defenseman Brett Carson who blasted a shot on net. Jones got a piece of the puck but Micflikier was in the crease to finish off the rebound as he fell on top of the netminder.
At 13:45 of the third period, left wing Oskar Osala brought the Checkers back to within one goal. Left wing Drayson Bowman handed off the puck to Sutter in the neutral zone and the center carried it into Monarchs territory. Sutter dropped the puck back to Osala who ripped a one-timer from the high slot into the back of the net for his 10th goal of the season.
Cliche added a little insurance for the Monarchs with an empty net goal at 19:04 of the third period.
Jones (15-3-0) picked up his 15th win of the season with 32 saves on 36 shots. Pogge (13-8-2) stopped 22-of-27 shot in his eighth loss of the season.
Manchester went 1-for-4 on the power play. Charlotte was 1-for-5 with the man advantage.Notables:
Manchester picked up their second win of the season against Charlotte; the first was a 2-1 victory at the Verizon Wireless Arena on October 24…Both left wing Dwight King
and center Corey Elkins
scored two goals in the game…This is the first time King tallied two goals in one game…Elkins picked up his second two-goal game of the season; he also scored twice in a 4-1 win against Worcester on December 10.