MANCHESTER, NH – Left wing Jeff Giuliano scored the double overtime game-winning goal to give the Manchester Monarchs the franchise's first playoff overtime victory, a 6-5 win over the Hartford Wolf Pack at the Verizon Wireless Arena in front of 3,895 fans on Friday night. The Monarchs have a 2-1 lead in the Atlantic Division Semifinal Series B of the 2006 Calder Cup Playoffs.
Manchester (43-30-3-4, 93 points) finished the regular season in third place in the Atlantic Division. Hartford (48-24-2-6, 104 points) ended the regular season in second place in the Atlantic Division.
The Wolf Pack jumped out to a 2-0 lead early in the first period with power play goals by center Dwight Helminen and defenseman Daniel Girardi. Monarchs center Matt Ryan's hooking penalty accompanied by a bench minor for too many men gave Hartford a five-on-three power play at 2:18 of the first period. With two-seconds remaining on the two-man advantage, Helminen captured a pass from left wing Chad Wiseman and blasted a shot from the hash marks that whizzed by Monarchs goaltender Barry Brust. Right wing Colby Genoway assisted on the first power play goal at 2:42 of the first period.
Doubling their lead, Girardi collected a pass at the right point from center Lee Falardeau and sent a slap shot into the back of the net. Wiseman gave the puck to Falardeau who quickly redirected it over to Girardi as he was pressured by Monarchs players along the left wing boards. Girardi's slap shot at 3:28 of the opening frame was his first goal of the playoffs.
The Monarchs answered back to tie the game before the buzzer for the first intermission sounded. Right wing Konstantin Pushkarev scored his first goal of the playoffs at the nine-minute mark when defenseman Brad Fast stopped a clearing pass at the Wolf Pack blueline and sent it to a wide-open Pushkarev at the top of the right face-off circle. Pushkarev wound up and hurled the puck off the crossbar and into the net.
Manchester scored a power play goal of their own to tie the game 2-2 at 15:06 of the first period. Cycling the puck with plenty of pressure, right wing Alexandre Daigle picked up the puck from left wing Noah Clarke near the end red line and passed it on to right wing Tim Jackman at the left post. Instead of shooting the puck point blank on net, Jackman sent a bobbling puck across the crease to Clarke who settled it down and jammed it past Wolf Pack goaltender Al Montoya for his first goal of the playoffs and the night.
Left wing Petr Kanko gave the Monarchs the 3-2 lead at 4:59 of the second period. Pressuring Montoya in the crease, Ryan was spun around while he tried to shoot but Jackman was able to pick up the puck for a shot. Montoya made the save but the puck poked free and Kanko chipped in the rebound.
Clarke, Jackman and Daigle reunited to pick up the Monarchs second power play goal of the evening for a 4-2 lead at 1:58 of the final stanza. Daigle fed the puck to Jackman who forwarded it on to Clarke at the top of right corner of the crease. Clarke lifted the puck over Montoya for his second of the night.
After Clarke's second goal of the night, Montoya was replaced by goaltender Robert Gherson for the remainder of the third period.
At 4:45 of the third period, New Hampshire native Giuliano picked up the puck deep in the Monarchs zone, shoved it ahead, received a tip from Daigle and skated the entire length of the ice to soar the puck into the net for his first goal of the playoffs.
Left wing Nigel Dawes scored his second tally of the series at 6:21 of the final frame as the Wolf Pack pressured Brust. Defenseman Dale Purinton and Helminen assisted on Hartford's goal to bring the score to 5-3.
Left wing Alexandre Giroux scored his first of the playoffs at 12:03 to bring the Wolf Pack within one goal. On the power play, Giroux picked up the rebound from Helminen's shot and fired it past Brust.
At 19:01 of the third period, former Monarchs right wing Brad Smyth was credited with the tying goal as the puck deflected off of his body and into the net to tie the game 5-5 and push the sudden death overtime periods. Wiseman and Genoway assisted on the tying goal.
After a scoreless overtime period, Giuliano broke down the right wing, cut in front of the net, deked Gherson and shoveled the puck just inside the left post for the Monarchs first overtime victory in a playoff series. Fast and Daigle assisted on the game-winning goal at 1:46 of double overtime.
Brust (2-1) earned his second win of the series with 45 saves. Montoya (1-1) stopped 16 shots before being replaced by Gherson in the third period. Gherson (0-1) took the loss with nine saves in 39:17 of work.
Manchester went 2-for-6 on the power play. Hartford was 3-for-8 with the man advantage.
The Monarchs continue their journey for their first playoff series win on Sunday, April 23 when they host Hartford in game four at 4:05 p.m. at the Verizon Wireless Arena.
For more information on the Manchester Monarchs visit thier official team website at www.monarchshockey.com