Manchester (3-2-0-1) is tied for third place in the Atlantic Division with seven points. Bridgeport (2-4-0-0) is in fifth place in the Atlantic Division with four points.
“Physical and high scoring,” said Monarchs Head Coach Mark Morris when describing the game tonight. “They came out of the gates feisty and we answered the call. I think our guys answered to (Bridgeport’s) aggression and we played a real strong first period. The penalty barrage in the second period took our focus away and we let them back in. A timely goal pulled us back in and we finished strong in the third period.”
Right Brandon Kozun scored his fifth goal of the season and his second of the night at 19:49 of the second period. Monarchs defenseman David Kolomatis blasted a shot from the center point of the zone that goaltender Nathan Lawson made a pad save on. Kozun picked up the rebound in the slot, fought off a defenseman and backhanded the puck over Lawson’s right pad to put the Monarchs up 4-2. Defenseman Alec Martinez picked up his second of three assists on the eventual game-winning goal.
Sound Tigers center Micheal Haley was sent to the penalty box for four minutes for roughing and the Monarchs went to work, capitalizing on two power play goals. At 6:40 of the first period, left wing David Meckler lit the lamp for his fourth goal of the season. Defenseman Viatcheslav Voynov carried the puck through the neutral zone and fed a pass over to center Corey Elkins on the left wing. Elkins sent the puck across the zone to Meckler who put home a one-timer that beat Lawson on his glove side.
Left wing Dwight King deflected a slap shot from Martinez at 7:41 of the opening frame to double the Monarch’s lead to 2-0. Martinez’s shot from left point soared through traffic and ricocheted off of King’s stick for his fifth goal of the season. Center Justin Azevedo collected an assist on the second power play goal of the game.
In a show of force, three fights broke out within four seconds of each other. Right wing John Zeiler started things off by dropping his gloves with defenseman Travis Hamonic at 8:41 of the first period. In the second fight, right wing Richard Clune squared off with forward Matt Martin. In the final battle of the show of force, right wing Justin Johnson decided to dance with right wing Jeremy Yablonski. The penalties were sorted out and players were in their respective boxes when the clock started up again at 8:46.
At 10:04 of the first stanza, Kozun lit the lamp for his fourth goal of the season. Kozun carried the puck into the Sound Tigers zone and tossed a shot toward the net from the right face-off circle. The puck bounced off of bodies as Kozun skated around the back of the net and picked up his own rebound in the bottom of the left face-off circle. Snapping a wrist shot, Kozun gave the Monarchs a 3-0 advantage. Elkins and defenseman Patrick Mullen assisted on the goal.
Center Rob Hisey scored at 14:31 of the first period to snap the Sound Tigers scoreless period. The Monarchs were down by two men as goaltender Jeff Zatkoff did his best to stop the barrage of shots from the Sound Tigers. With Zatkoff off to the left side of the net and defenseman Andrew Campbell on his knees in the crease, Hisey flipped in his second goal of the season. Left wing Jesse Joensuu and right wing Rhett Rakhshani assisted on Bridgeport’s first goal of the game.
The Sound Tigers cut the Monarchs lead to only one at 15:47 of the middle frame with left wing Justin DiBenedetto’s second goal of the season. Skating on the power play, defenseman Mark Katic found DiBenedetto along the right wing for a slap shot that beat Zatkoff on his stick side. Defenseman Dustin Kohn assisted on the goal that brought the game to 3-2.
Sound Tigers center David Ullstrom beat Zatkoff at 1:13 of the third period for his second goal of the season. Ullstrom skated up the right wing with Joensuu and snapped a wrist shot from the half-wall that snuck in five-hole on Zatkoff. Defenseman Dylan Reese assisted on the play.
Rookie right wing Zach Harnden scored his first professional goal at 4:49 of the final stanza. Harnden shared a give-and-go with Meckler in the left face-off circle before firing a laser beam of a wrist shot over the right shoulder of Lawson to cushion the Monarchs lead to 5-3. Voynov also earned his second assist of the game.
Center Justin Azevedo finished off the scoring with his second goal of the season at 11:03 of the third period. Martinez sent a blistering slap shot toward the net from the right face-off circle. Azevedo came flying down the ice at the perfect time to deflect the puck into the goal from the bottom inside corner of the right face-off circle. Defenseman Thomas Hickey picked up his first point of the season by assisting on the Monarchs sixth goal of the night.
Zatkoff (2-1-1) earned his second win of the season stopping 28-of-31 shots. Lawson (0-1-0) took the loss with 30 saves on 36 shots.
Manchester was 2-for-7 on the power play. Bridgeport was 2-for-6 with the man advantage.
Notables: The six goals on the evening for the Monarchs marks the highest goal total on the year for Manchester…The Monarchs last scored six goals January 24, 2010 in a 6-1 win against the Hartford Wolf Pack…Defenseman Alec Martinez is tied for fourth place amongst defensemen in the AHL with six points…Martinez has four assists in his last two games…Martinez’s three assists tonight mark the highest individual assist total for a Monarchs player this season…Defenseman Viatcheslav Voynov has three assists in his first two games of the season…Right wing Brandon Kozun has three goals in his last two games and six goals in his last five games…Left wing Dwight King has scored a goal in all but one game this season…Meckler and King scored 41 seconds apart during first period, the fastest two goals have been scored consecutively this season…Goaltender Erik Ersberg was placed on waivers today.
The Monarchs travel to the MassMutual Center to face-off with the Springfield Falcons at 7:00 p.m. on Saturday, October 23. Catch all of the play-by-play action of Monarchs hockey with Ken Cail on the Monarchs Radio Network WGAM 900/1250 AM and at www.manchestermonarchs.com.