MANCHESTER, NH ? Right wing Hugh Jessiman scored his first goal of the season in the Hartford Wolf Pack's 5-4 victory over the Manchester Monarchs in front of 5,548 fans at the Verizon Wireless Arena on Friday night.
Manchester (5-5-1-1) is ranked fourth in the Atlantic Division with 12 points. Hartford (6-5-0-1) is in third place in the Atlantic Division with 13 points.
At 5:17 of the final frame, Jessiman was able to gain position at the crease and tip the puck past Monarchs netminder Erik Ersberg to give the Wolf Pack a 5-4 win. The Wolf Pack controlled the puck just four seconds after a power play expired when defenseman Ivan Baranka released a wrist shot on Ersberg from the middle of the blueline. Jessiman, stationed in the crease, was able to deflect the puck past the glove of Ersberg bringing the score to 5-3. Defenseman Corey Potter assisted on the tally.
Right wing Kevin Westgarth lit the lamp at the 3:15 mark of the first period to score his second goal of the season. At center ice, defenseman Brian Boyle passed the rubber biscuit up to center Brady Murray as he broke over the blueline. Westgarth followed Murray into the zone and received the puck while moving in on Hartford's goaltender Al Montoya. As Westgarth approached the net, he lifted the puck over Montoya's glove giving the Monarchs the early 1-0 lead.
At 8:01 in the first stanza, right wing Teddy Purcell fought off Hartford's defensemen and left only the ice between himself and Montoya. As Purcell moved toward the left goal post he released a backhand shot over Montoya's glove and lit the lamp. Defenseman Troy Milam and right wing Lauri Tukonen were awarded assists on the goal giving the 2-0 lead to the Monarchs.
Not to be out done, Hartford scored four unanswered goals starting at 9:54 of the first period with a power play goal. Left wing Brodie Dupont passed the disk to center Artem Anisimov at the top of the left face-off circle. Anisimov sent a slap shot in on Ersberg while defenseman Andrew Hutchinson was screening Ersberg at the top of the crease. Hutchinson was able to deflect the puck into the back of the net decreasing the Monarchs lead to 2-1.
On their second power play at 15:59 of the second period, Hartford tied the game at 2-2. Defenseman Thomas Pock released the initial shot on Ersberg from the left point. Before the puck could reach the net, right wing Greg Moore's stick was able to redirect the puck in mid-air over the glove of Ersberg and found the stitches. Potter assisted on the 2-2 tying goal.
Hartford started the second period scoring at the eight minute mark with their third power play goal of the game. Left wing Lauri Korpikoski sent the puck to Pock at the left post who quickly forwarded the disc to Hutchinson who was stationed at the left post. Hutchinson uncorked a slap shot from the post beating Ersberg top, stick side giving the Wolf Pack a 3-2 lead.
At 12:13 of the second period, right wing Francis Lessard caught Ersberg mid-slide and scored, increasing their lead to 4-2. Defenseman Michael Sauer passed the puck from the right post to Hutchinson in the right face-off circle. Surveying the ice, Hutchinson went tape-to-tape with Lessard who was at the top of the crease and was able to score his first goal of the year.
Center David Meckler was able to put a stop to the Hartford scoring with his fourth goal of the season and first goal not against the Springfield Falcons. Controlling the puck in the left corner of Hartford's zone, Meckler stood parallel to the net and took a shot on net which bounced off of Montoya's leg pad and lit the lamp at 12:55 in the second period. Getting their first points of the season, left wing Petr Kanko and center Matt Ryan brought the Monarchs within one mark, 4-3.
With time winding down and after the 5-3 go-ahead goal by Jessiman, the Monarchs came back within one. Purcell's initial shot was blocked by Montoya but the puck scooted free into the crease. A crowd of players converged on the puck but it was Tukonen's stick that last touched the puck and brought the game to a 5-4 final. Center Gabe Gauthier was given an assist on the final tally of the evening.
Esrberg took the loss stopping 25-of-30 shots he faced. Montoya stopped 31-of-35 shots for the win.
Manchester went 1-for-3 on the power play. Hartford was 3-for-6 with the man advantage.