SPRINGFIELD, MA – Goaltender Yutaka Fukufuji stopped all 20 shots he faced for his first American Hockey League shutout as the Manchester Monarchs scored six power play goals to top the Springfield Falcons 7-0 in front of 3,453 fans at the MassMutual Center on Friday night.
Manchester (50-21-6-1) leads the Atlantic Division with 107 points. Springfield (28-48-1-2) is in last place in the Atlantic with 59 points.
The Monarchs hopped on the scoreboard in the first period with two power play goals. Defenseman Doug Nolan tallied his second of the season at 10:38 of the opening frame by picking up the rebound from left wing Lauri Tukonen's one-timer at the point. Center Patrick O'Sullivan earned an assisted on the first goal of the game.
O'Sullivan scored his 18th goal of the season at 13:32 of the first period with a slap shot from the right face-off circle. Defenseman Jeff Likens fed the puck to O'Sullivan who held onto it until he found an opening and rifled it under the left arm of Springfield's goaltender Jonathan Boutin. Left wing Matt Moulson also earned an assist on the goal.
The next two power play tallies came off the stick of rookie center Trevor Lewis
. At 2:36 of the middle period, Fukufuji handed the puck off to defenseman T.J. Kemp in the Monarchs zone. Kemp fed the puck to a streaking Lewis who carried it into the Falcons zone all alone toward Boutin. Sliding the puck to his backhand, Lewis flipped it over the goaltender.
Lewis scored his fourth of the season and second of the night at 11:11 of the second period while the Monarchs skated on a 5-on-3 power play. O'Sullivan passed the puck from the right face-off circle to Lewis along the right post. Lewis jammed the puck over the goal line to give Manchester a 4-0 lead. Kemp also earned an assist on the goal.
The lone non-power play goal came from left wing Petr Kanko at 13:38 of the middle frame. Kanko picked up the loose puck in the slot and ripped it into the back of the net for his 11th goal of the season. Defenseman Joey Mormina and forward Paul Crosty earned assists.
Goaltender Kevin Beech replaced Boutin for the third period.
Rookie forward Kevin Westgarth
scored his first professional goal at 2:29 of the final period. Left wing Jeff Giuliano picked up the puck behind the Falcons net from Kanko. Fighting off a Springfield defenseman, Giuliano controlled the puck and passed it to the slot for Westgarth. The rookie snuck the puck past Beech.
The Monarchs finished off the Falcons at 4:24 of the final stanza when right wing John Zeiler capitalized with his 12th tally of the season. O'Sullivan fired a shot on net that Beech got a piece of and redirected it to his right. Zeiler was on the doorstep to flip the puck top shelf. Tukonen earned an assist on the final goal of the game to bring the score to 7-0.
Fukufuji stopped all 20 shots he faced for his first AHL shutout. Boutin took the loss stopping 21-of-26 shots while Beech stopped seven shots in the third period.
Manchester went 6-for-12 with the man advantage. Springfield was 0-for-7 on the power play.