MANCHESTER, NH – The Manchester Monarchs lost to the Worcester Sharks in a close 3-2 game that came down to a penalty shot that was missed with six seconds left on the clock as 9,118 fans cheered on the home team at the Verizon Wireless Arena on Saturday night.
Manchester (36-32-0-8, 80 points) is in fifth place in the Atlantic Division. Worcester (40-34-1-2, 83 points) is in third place in the Atlantic division.
"We came out really sluggish in the first period, but I thought our guys rallied together and really put a strong effort in the second and third and stuck together as a team," stated Monarchs Assistant Coach Scott Pellerin.
Defenseman Kyle McLaren scored the winning tally at 8:35 of the final stanza. Defensemen Mike Moore pushed the puck to left wing Lukas Kaspar who was positioned down in the right corner. Kaspar flung the biscuit out to Mclaren at the point. With a blast from the blueline, McLaren's shot deflected off a Monarchs defenseman and past the stick side of goaltender Jonathan Bernier to place the final score at 3-2. This was McLaren's first tally of the season with the Sharks.
Right wing Ryan Vesce tallied the first goal of the game at 12:35 of the opening period to put Worcester up 1-0. After Moore won the puck at their blueline, he played it to center Tom Cavanagh who was positioned by Worcester's penalty box. Cavanagh quickly found Vesce who skated into the left circle and placed a fluttering shot over the left shoulder of Bernier. This marked the 23rd goal scored by Vesce this season.
At 10:42 of the second period, Monarchs defensemen Thomas Hickey scored his first professional goal and evened the score at 1-1. With the man advantage, center Marty Murray played the puck from the left corner to the front of the goal where left wing Matt Moulson tipped the puck over to Hickey who was driving to net. Hickey slammed a wrist shot past the blocker side of netminder Thomas Greiss.
With only 2:23 remaining in the second stanza, right wing Dan DaSilva scored to put Worcester ahead 2-1. The sharks demonstrated tic-tac-toe passing in the Monarchs zone that ended with the puck on DaSilva's stick at the left point. DaSilva smashed a slap shot that found the top shelf of the blocker side of Bernier to tally his fifth goal of the season. Defensemen Patrick Traverse and Jason Demers assisted on the goal.
Defenseman Viatcheslav Voynov closed the gap at 12:59 of the final period when he scored his seventh goal of the season. Moulson sent a crisp past out to Hickey positioned at the right point. Hickey fired a shot that deflected off a Sharks player out to Voynov at the right point. Voynov cranked a wrist shot that bounced off the post and past Greiss to make the score 3-2.
With six seconds left in the game, McLaren pushed the Sharks net off it's bearings and referee Francis Charron awarded a penalty shot to the Monarchs. Coach Mark Morris picked Moulson to take the shot. The left wing skated toward Greiss and attempted a backhand shot over the left pad but the goaltender made the save and kept the score in the Sharks advantage.
"We had an opportunity late in the game with a unique penalty shot situation and we had opportunity to tie it up," claimed Pellerin.
Bernier (22-23-4) stopped 33-of-36 shots for his 23rd loss of the season. Greiss (28-23-2) earned his 28th win of the season by turning down 34 of Manchester's 36 shots.
Manchester went 1-for-2 on the power play while Worcester was 0-for-4 with the man advantage.