MANCHESTER, NH – The Manchester Monarchs were led by left wing Bud Holloway
as they defeated the Hartford Wolf Pack, 6-1, at the Verizon Wireless Arena on Sunday night. All Monarchs fans in attendance receive free sundaes from McDonalds when the Monarchs score four or more goals on a Sunday.
Manchester (27-14-2-4) regained sole possession of first place in the Atlantic Division with 60 points. Hartford (23-17-2-4) is in fourth place in the Atlantic Division with 52 points.
“We keep playing it one game at a time and it was great to rebound with a win after our last two games,” said Monarchs Head Coach Mark Morris. “We had a stellar game from Bud Holloway. I thought it was a complete game by the entire team.”
Holloway netted his second goal of the night at the 9:45 mark of the first period on the power play putting the Monarchs up by two goals. Defenseman Andrew Campbell collected the puck after a clearing attempt by the Wolf Pack along Hartford’s blueline. Campbell sent it to the right wing face-off circle where Holloway teed off a blazing slap shot that beat Wolf Pack netminder Steve Valiquette on his glove side. Defenseman David Kolomatis also received an assist on the play.
With 4:15 gone in the first frame, Holloway tallied his 13th goal of the season to put the Monarchs up 1-0 on the power play. Right wing Geoff Walker broke down the right wing side on a 2-on-1 with Holloway. Walker sent it over to Holloway skating far post who one-timed the puck straight into the back of the net. Left wing David Meckler also gathered an assist on the goal.
Center Gabe Gauthier extended the home team’s lead to three goals with his eighth goal of the season at the 5:54 mark of the second period. Defenseman Johann Kroll collected the puck in the neutral zone and sent it to the left wing boards where left wing Richard Clune was streaking over the blueline. Clune grabbed the puck and sent it to a barreling Gauthier making his way to the net. Gauthier one-timed the puck as he cut in front of the Hartford goal and put it into the back of the net.
Exactly one minute later, Campbell added a goal to increase the Monarchs lead. Holloway controlled the puck behind the visiting goal as he was fending off a Hartford player. The left winger then sent a pass out to the left wing boards where Campbell was stationed. Carrying the puck into the left wing face-off circle, Campbell took a wrist shot that beat Valiquette on his glove side. Right wing Kevin Westgarth picked up an assist on Campbell’s second goal of the season.
Hartford ended Monarchs goaltender Jonathan Bernier’s shutout bid as center Corey Locke scored his team-leading 18th goal of the season at the 13:39 mark of the second period. Newcomer center Kenny Roche, in only his fourth game with his team, received the puck behind the net along the left side. Roche then forwarded a pass across the crease where he found Locke. The nifty sniper wristed a shot that soared over the glove of Bernier, hit the bottom of the crossbar and into the twine. Defenseman Michael Sauer collected his ninth assist of the season on the goal.
The home team would regain their four goal lead when center Corey Elkins recorded his team-leading 15th goal of the season with 3:09 remaining in the second frame. Elkins pick-pocketed a Wolf Pack defender who tried to control a bouncing puck at center ice. The rookie center took the puck on a breakaway toward Valiquette who dove at Elkins trying to make the poke check. Elkins flipped a backhander that floated over the sprawled goaltender and landed in the back of the net to bring the score to 5-1.
Hartford replaced Valiquette between the pipes with netminder Chad Johnson at the start of the third period.
Left wing Dwight King netted his third goal of the season with 9:58 gone in the final frame to extend the lead to 6-1. Elkins shot the puck toward Johnson who made the initial save but the puck squirted away and ended up behind the net. Elkins quickly swung around the net, picked up the puck and looked for the wrap around but instead found King out front who one-timed the puck through the five-hole of Johnson and into the net. Left wing David Meckler collected his sixth assist of the season on the goal.
Bernier (19-11-4) earned his 19th win of the season, stopping 22-of-23 shots. Valiquette (4-5-1) took his fifth loss of the season with 17 saves on 22 shots. Johnson (14-8-2), who replaced Valiquette for the third period, saved 11 of the 12 shots that he faced in 20 minutes.
Manchester was a 2-for-2 on the power play. Hartford was 0-for-4 with the man advantage.
Notables: The Monarchs are 15-1-0-0 when scoring first at home this season…Manchester is 4-0-0-0 at home on Sundays this season…Center Corey Elkins has seven points (4-3=7) in his last five games…Left wing Bud Holloway moved into second place on the team in points with 28 (14-14=28)…Holloway also moved into a tie for fourth place in the AHL with five game-winning goals…Defenseman Doug Nolan moved into fifth place on the Monarchs all-time games played list with 250 games in Manchester…Goaltender Jonathan Bernier is ranked second all-time for the Monarchs with 2,459 saves.