NORFOLK, VA –
Left wing Dwight King
recorded his first career hat trick as the Manchester Monarchs posted a 4-0 shutout of the Norfolk Admirals Friday night at the Norfolk Scope.
Manchester (42-23-3-6, 93 points) is ranked second in the Atlantic Division, only a single point behind the division-leading Portland Pirates (43-18-6-2, 94 points). Norfolk (36-20-8-6, 86 points) is ranked fourth in the East Division with 86 points.
“Tonight’s game was an exceptional road win,” remarked Monarchs Head Coach Mark Morris following the game. “With a short bench and some newcomers in the lineup, it was very rewarding. We had a huge game from (goaltender) Jeff Zatkoff
and (right wing) Bud Holloway
was extremely effective for us in all facets of the game.”
“King had a hat trick and played very well and finished around the net,” said Morris. “We killed off some key power plays. It was very gratifying to walk away - it was a real tough, physical affair and it should be an interesting game tomorrow night. Tempers flared and there was lots of physical play so I expect more of the same tomorrow night.
“Our fans should be proud of the way our guys laid it on the line tonight. It was a real gutsy effort,” concluded Morris.
King scored his 22nd goal of the season on the power play at 17:45 of the second period, giving Manchester a 1-0 lead. From the defensive end of the ice, center Justin Azevedo
sent a puck up ice to right wing Bud Holloway
, who was skating up the right wing across the blueline. From the top of the right point, Holloway sent a pass across the slot to King, positioned within the left face-off circle. A wrist shot from the left face-off dot beat Admirals goaltender Dustin Tokarski five-hole for the Monarchs first goal of the game.
King scored his second goal of the game at 10:30 of the third period, doubling up the Admirals by a score of 2-0. A Monarchs player dumped the puck down into the left wing corner where King engaged an Admirals player in a puck battle. Skating away with the puck toward the left wing corner, King fired a bad angle shot on goal that snuck past Tokarski for King’s 23rd goal of the season.
Left wing David Meckler
scored his 15th goal of the season, an unassisted marker, at 13:46 of the third period. Following a puck battle in the neutral zone, Meckler skated up the left wing boards with the puck. Moving from left to right into the left face-off circle, Meckler wristed a shot on goal that beat Tokarski blocker-side, extending the Monarchs advantage to 3-0.
King added an empty net goal with 59 seconds remaining in regulation to complete the hat trick. With the puck sitting on the blueline at the right point, Holloway dished the puck toward the slot where King broke into the zone. Skating directly up ice, King eluded an Admirals defender and tapped the puck into the gaping net for his first professional three-goal performance.
Monarchs goaltender Jeff Zatkoff
(19-14-5) collected his 19th victory of the season, stopping all 35 shots on goal for his third shutout of the season. Tokarski (20-16-4) drew his 16th loss of the year, stopping 15-of-18 shots on net.
Manchester went 1-for-4 on the power play. Norfolk was 0-for-4 with the man advantage. Notables:
Left wing Dwight King
recorded his first professional hat trick with tonight’s three-goal effort…King scored the 20th hat trick in Monarchs history, and the second hat trick for Manchester this season…King was the fifth different Monarchs player this season to score two goals in one period…Goaltender Jeff Zatkoff
recorded his third shutout of the year and his second during the month of March…The Monarchs have held their opponents scoreless on the power play in their last four games, successfully killing off 16 penalties over that span…Center Jordan Weal
skated in his first professional game this evening.