LOWELL, MA – A bad bounce off the boards and a goal off a defenseman's skate deemed costly as the Manchester Monarchs fell to the Lowell Devils 3-2 in a shootout in front of 2,325 fans at the Tsongas Arena on Friday night.
Manchester (4-5-1-1) remains tied for fifth place in the Atlantic Division with 10 points. Lowell (5-5-0-1) moves into fourth place in the Atlantic Division with 11 points.
Rookie center Gabe Gauthier captured his second goal in as many games to give the Monarchs a 1-0 lead at 10:44 of the opening period. Defenseman Joey Mormina fired a shot from the point that tipped off of left wing Matt Moulson's stick in front of the net. Gauthier quickly pounced on the puck and flipped a backhander past Devils goaltender Frank Doyle. The goal was Gauthier's third of the season.
Lowell center Chris Minard tallied his second goal of the season to tie the game at 1-1 at 3:23 of the third period on a freak bounce off of the end boards. Right wing Barry Tallackson sent the puck deep into the Monarchs zone. Manchester's goaltender Jason LaBarbera went behind the net to stop the puck but it took a bad hop and bolted out in front and Minard was there to score into the open net. Defenseman Tomas Harant collected an assist on the fluke goal.
The Monarchs regained their one-goal lead as defenseman Peter Harrold tallied his second goal of the season at 9:20 of the final frame. On the power play, center Patrick O'Sullivan passed the puck to defenseman T.J. Kemp on the point. Kemp fed the puck up to Harrold who flipped a backhander into the net for the 2-1 lead.
The Devils evened things up at 2-2 with a little help from Kemp as the Monarchs defenseman accidentally kicked the puck into his own net at 14:26 of the third period. Left wing Patrick Davis skated into Manchester's zone and put a shot on net. LaBarbera made the save but with the commotion in front of the net, left wing Dan LaCouture got his stick on the puck and it deflected off of Kemp for the goal. Defenseman David Hale assisted on the tying goal.
O'Sullivan was the only Monarchs player to score on Doyle in the shootout as right wings Lauri Tukonen and Konstantin Pushkarev and defenseman Eric Werner were all denied on the doorstep. Centers Justin Papineau, Petr Vrana and Minard were able to get the puck past LaBarbera for the shootout victory.
LaBarbera took the loss with 39 saves. Doyle earned the win stopping 31 shots.
Manchester went 1-for-3 on the power play. Lowell was 1-for-6 with the man advantage.
For more information on the Manchester Monarchs visit thier official team website at www.monarchshockey.com