MANCHESTER, NH – The Manchester Monarchs forced overtime with a late third period goal but came up short as the Springfield Falcons hopped on the bus with a 3-2 overtime victory in front of 6,193 fans at the Verizon Wireless Arena on Friday night.
Manchester (9-7-5-1) is tied for fourth place in the Atlantic Division with 24 points. Springfield (11-10-0-0) is in sixth place in the Atlantic Division with 22 points.
The Falcons tallied the first goal of the game off the stick of left wing Justin Keller at 10:01 of the first period. Center Dan Cavanaugh fired a slap shot toward the net with Monarch's goaltender Jason LaBarbera making the stop with his right pad. The rebound hopped out into the high slot where Keller backhanded the puck back to the net through a sea of bodies and through LaBarbera's legs. Defenseman Andy Delmore assisted on Keller's sixth tally of the season.
With just over four minutes left in the first period, Monarchs left wing Petr Kanko, the Monarchs and all in attendance were sure the Monarchs had tied it, however, Falcons goaltender Jonathan Boutin had other ideas. Monarch's right wing Ryan Murphy took a wrist shot from the left face-off dot that trickled to Kanko on the right post. Kanko tried to stuff it home but Boutin sprawled out with his glove stretched to full capacity and made the save on the goal line.
With 14 seconds left of the opening period, the Monarchs evened the score at one apiece with a power play goal by right wing John Zeiler for his third tally of the season. Murphy moved the puck out of the right corner and quickly fed a pass onto the tape of Zeiler's stick. The rookie quickly snapped a one-time snap shot through the legs of Boutin into the back of the cage. Left wing Noah Clarke earned his team high 18th assist of the season on the goal. The two squads went into the locker room after the first period tied at one.
After a scoreless second period, the Falcons came out flying in the third period. At the 36-second mark of the third period, former Monarchs left wing Eric Healey carried the puck behind the Monarch's net from left to right and cut to the top of the crease. LaBarbera was recovering from the left side of the net and came sliding back to the right post but slid too far. Healey then placed a shot inside the left post putting the Falcons up 2-1. The goal was Healey's team leading eighth of the season.
With 1:34 remaining in the game, Monarchs left wing Jeff Giuliano gave his team the chance to take points out of the game by pushing overtime. Defenseman Brendan Buckley fed a shot out of the right corner to defenseman T.J. Kemp who took the pass cleanly and then fired a slap shot on goal. Giuliano was posted in front of the net and tipped Kemp's shot upstairs over Boutin's glove. The goal gave Buckley his first point of the season and it gave Giuliano his second tally on the year.
In overtime, the Falcons took the two points on right wing Norm Milley's eighth goal of the season. The goal came at 2:44 when Milley broke in through the neutral zone one-on-one with a Monarchs defenseman Joey Mormina. Four strides into the Monarchs zone, Milley ripped a snap shot off Mormina's leg that surprised LaBarbera and made it into the goal inside the right post.
LaBarbera made 30 saves on 33 shots and took the loss for the Monarchs. Boutin earned the win stopping 33 shots on 35 attempts.
Manchester went 1-for-3 on the power play. Springfield was 0-for-4 with the man advantage.
The Monarchs travel to the Hartford Civic Center for a 7:00 p.m. face-off with the Hartford Wolf Pack on Saturday, December 2. Catch all of the play-by-play action of Monarchs hockey with Ken Cail on the Monarchs Radio Network WGIR-AM 610 and at www.monarchshockey.com
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