MANCHESTER, NH –The Manchester Monarchs were defeated by the Bridgeport Sound Tigers who were led by former Monarchs Assistant Coach Scott Pellerin, 5-2, at the Verizon Wireless Arena on Friday night.
Manchester (6-3-0-1) leads the Atlantic Division with 13 points. Bridgeport (7-3-0-0) are in second place in the Northeast Division with 16 points.
“We were like a lawn mower with a bad spark plug,” said Monarchs Head Coach Mark Morris. “We couldn’t seem to get it going and once we did, just couldn’t sustain it. The mental mistakes and miscues we had were extremely costly and credit Bridgeport with a real strong start. They got a ton of shots early on that put us on our heels and made us play catch-up.”
Defenseman Travis Hamonic recorded his first goal of the season four minutes into the third period putting the Sound Tigers up 3-2. Center Brock Nelson took the puck around the net on his backhand toward the left wing corner and dished the puck to left wing Nino Niederreiter at the right wing face-off circle. Niederreiter wristed the puck on goal where Monarchs goaltender Martin Jones made the initial save. Hamonic poked at the loose puck and pushed it through Jones’ five-hole for his first of the season and the eventual game-winning goal.
The Sound Tigers opened the scoring with a goal by center Casey Cizikas at 16:24 of the first period. The Monarchs attempted to clear the puck out of the defensive zone but it was kept in by Hamonic at the right point. Hamonic shot the puck at the goal but it deflected off bodies in front and trickled to Cizikas in between the face-off circles. Cizikas tipped the puck into the vacant net for his fourth goal of the season.
The Monarchs got on the board when defenseman Andrew Bodnarchuk scored his first goal of the year at 18:19 of the second period. Right wing Brandon Kozun skated the puck behind the net toward the left corner before playing it to center Andrei Loktionov at the left wing half wall. Loktionov skated the puck back to the left point and fed Bodnarchuk at the top of the right wing face-off circle where he wristed the puck through two Monarchs screens and over Bridgeport’s goaltender Andres Nilsson’s right shoulder for his first goal of the season.
Left wing Brandon DeFazio scored 22 seconds later at 18:41 to put the Sound Tigers back on top, 2-1, in the second period. Cizikas battled with a Monarchs defenseman behind Manchester’s net that freed the puck. Cizikas took the puck off the wall and sent it to the slot where DeFazio was waiting to bury the shot. DeFazio’s fifth goal of the season was also assisted by defenseman Aaron Ness.
The Monarchs pulled even 39 seconds into the third period when center Linden Vey scored his third goal of the season making the game a 2-2 tie. Defenseman Nick Deslauriers took the puck from the left hash mark and chipped it down the boards to right wing Tyler Toffoli in the left wing corner. Toffoli centered the pass to Vey in between the face-off circles for a wrist shot that beat Nilsson for his third goal of the season.
Bridgeport’s lead increased to 4-2 with an unassisted shorthanded goal at 13:58 of the third period. Nelson picked off a pass from defenseman Jake Muzzin in front of the Monarchs bench and broke away all alone on Jones. Nelson deked and backhanded the puck through Jones’ five-hole for his sixth of the season.
Niederreiter finished the scoring with a power play goal at the 17-minute mark of the third period. DeFazio passed the puck from behind the Monarchs net to right wing Colin McDonald at the right door step. McDonald did a touch pass to Niederreiter squeaked through a shot for his seventh goal of the season.
Jones (5-3-1) took his third loss of the season making saves on 39-of-44 shots. Nilsson (1-0-0) earned his first win of the season with 32 saves on 34 shots.
Manchester was 0-for-3 on the power play. Bridgeport went 1-for-3 with the man advantage.
Notables: The Monarchs surrendered their first shorthanded goal against this season…The Monarchs were outshot for the first time at home this season 44-to-34… Defenseman Andrew Bodnarchuk scored his first goal in a Monarchs uniform.
The Monarchs return to action for Mullets In Movember at the Verizon Wireless Arena against the Providence Bruins at 7:00 p.m. on Saturday, November 10. Catch all of the play-by-play action of Monarchs hockey with Ken Cail online on the Monarchs Radio Network at WGIRAM.com and at ManchesterMonarchs.com, presented by Manchester-Boston Regional Airport.