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IceCaps Down Monarchs 3-2

by Staff Writer / Los Angeles Kings

ST. JOHN’S, NF – The Manchester Monarchs dropped their third consecutive game, a 3-2 loss to the St. John’s IceCaps at the Mile One Centre on Saturday night.

Manchester (21-15-0-2) is in second place in the Atlantic Division with 44 points.  St. John’s (21-8-4-1) is in first place in the Atlantic Division with 47 points.

“Tonight was another close one,” said Monarch Head Coach Mark Morris.  “We battled back to tie the game up late but we had two turnovers to the middle of the rink on breakout passes.  Both ended up in our net.  Puck management and puck support are critical components in the late stages of any hockey game.  This one stings.  We leave Newfoundland with no points.  The game was there for the taking.  We will take something from this even though it isn’t a pleasant experience.  Some of the most enduring lessons are learned the hard way.  We worked hard up here.  You can’t fault our effort.”

Center John Albert tallied his fourth goal of the year with 42 seconds remaining in the game to give the IceCaps the 3-2 victory.  Monarchs defenseman Thomas Hickey attempted to clear the puck from Manchester’s zone when Albert picked off the pass and snapped a wrist shot into the back of the net.  Left wing Carl Klingberg earned an assist on the game-winning goal.

Right wing Rob Mignardi started the scoring with his second tally of the season at 15:45 of the opening period.  Center Marc-Andre Cliche sent the puck behind the IceCaps cage for Mignardi to scoop up and pass out front.  Right wing Jordan Nolan one-timed a shot from between the hash marks that goaltender David Aebischer stopped.  The rebound popped free to the left of the net for Mignardi to snap into the open net for the Monarchs 1-0 lead.

The IceCaps scored the equalizer at 1:26 of the second period.  Defenseman Paul Postma sent a short pass to right wing Spencer Machacek deep in the IceCaps zone.  Machacek skated coast-to-coast, weaving through players and tossed a shot on Monarchs goaltender Martin Jones who made the save.  Jones bobbled the rebound a bit and Machacek was able to get his stick on the puck and tap it into the net for his ninth goal of the season.  Defenseman Brett Festerling assisted on the tying goal.

Left wing Jason Gregoire gave the IceCaps a 2-1 lead at 5:24 of the third period with his second goal of the season, an unassisted tally.  Gregoire intersected a clearing pass by Hickey and carried the puck through Manchester’s zone toward the net.  After passing between the hash marks, Gregoire backhanded a shot that beat Jones on his glove side.

With defenseman Jason DeSantis in the penalty box for slashing, the Monarchs power play unit went to work and tied the game at 2-2 at 17:29 of the third period.  Right wing Brandon Kozun cycled the puck down low to Nolan in the left corner.  Nolan carried the puck behind the IceCaps cage and held it until left wing Dwight King could position himself in the slot.  Nolan passed the puck out in front and King one-timed a shot past Aebischer’s blocker for his seventh goal of the season.

Jones (11-10-1) took his 10th loss of the season stopping 33-of-36 shots.  Aebischer (10-3-1) earned his 10th win of the season making 14 saves on 16 shots.

Manchester went 1-for-4 on the power play.  St. John’s was 0-for-2 with the man advantage.

Notables: The Monarchs are on a three-game losing streak…Manchester is 0-4 in games against the IceCaps this season…Right wing Rob Mignardi scored his second goal of the season…Right wing Jordan Nolan recorded two assists and a fighting major, his first points and penalty minutes since returning from injury…Left wing Dwight King has recorded 13 points (6-7=13) in his last 18 games.

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