MANCHESTER, NH – The Manchester Monarchs gave up five goals in the third period squandering a three-goal lead, losing to the Springfield Falcons, 5-4, at the Verizon Wireless Arena on Friday night.
Manchester (9-7-2-1) is in second place in the Atlantic Division with 21 points. Springfield (11-3-1-3) leads in the Northeast Division with 26 points.
“Yeah we played great in the first two (periods),” said Monarchs Head Coach Mark Morris. “I think our guys mentally thought they had the game and Springfield had other thoughts. We fell asleep on a D-zone (defensive) coverage and right after that we got called for too many men on the ice and it was a tough one to swallow.”
Springfield pulled ahead at the 16 minute mark of the third period with a shorthanded goal by left wing Ryan Craig. Center Nick Drazenovic played the puck to center Audrey Joudrey entering the Monarchs zone on the left wing. Joudrey and Craig headed in on a two-on-one where Joudrey skated with the puck to the left wing face-off circle. Joudrey passed the puck to Craig in the slot where he wristed the puck top-shelf on the glove side of Monarchs goaltender Martin Jones for his fourth goal of the season.
The Monarchs opened the scoring with a goal by center Jordan Weal at 14:10 of the first period. The play started as right wing Stefan Legein carried the puck around the right wing boards behind the Falcons cage before coming out at the left corner of the net. Legein passed the puck across the ice on a diagonal to defenseman Vincent LoVerde at the right point. LoVerde fired a slap pass for Weal on the left doorstep. Weal tipped the puck in for his first professional goal.
The Monarchs struck again, this time at 1:54 of the second period pushing their lead to 2-0. Monarchs center Linden Vey skated through the neutral zone feeding left wing Tanner Pearson on the left wing as he gained the Falcons zone. Pearson skated to the left wing face-off circle before firing a centering pass that Vey tipped over to right wing Tyler Toffoli in the slot. Toffoli wristed a shot past Springfield goaltender Curtis McElhinney for his team-leading 10th goal of the season.
Captain and center Marc-Andre Cliche scored the team’s third tally of the game at 10:26 of the second period giving the Monarchs a 3-0 lead. Springfield defenseman Nick Holden had the puck behind his own net. Attempting to break the puck out, Holden skated out from behind his own net to the slot where Monarchs left wing Dwight King was able to intercept Holden’s pass. King quickly slid the puck across the top of the crease to Cliche who easily one-timed the puck into the net past McElhinney for his third goal of the season.
Springfield started their comeback at 2:32 of the third period with a goal by Holden. Center Matt Calvert passed the puck from the right wing half wall across the slot to Calvert who corralled the puck and in one fluid motion let a wrist shot go that went off the post and in the net for the goal. Drazenovic also recorded an assist on Calvert’s fifth goal of the season.
The Falcons pulled within one goal for the first time in the game getting the only power play goal of the night from Calvert at 5:26 of the final frame. Set up in the Monarchs zone, Springfield defenseman David Savard passed the puck from the right point to right wing Cam Atkinson who was stationed in the left wing face-off circle. Atkinson fired a pass across the seam to Calvert who let loose a one-timer that beat Jones who was unable to get across the crease in time.
The Monarchs answered with a goal by center Robbie Czarnik at 11:47 of the third period. Set up in the Falcons zone, defenseman Slava Voynov kept the attempted clearing pass in the zone at the center point. Voynov passed the puck to the left point where fellow defenseman Jake Muzzin fired a slap pass for Czarnik in the slot. Czarnik redirected the pass on goal where the puck deflected off McElhinney and into the back of the net for his first goal of the season.
The Falcons answered with a goal of their own eleven seconds later off the stick of left wing Dalton Smith bringing the score to 4-3. Savard dumped the puck into the Monarchs zone in the right wing corner. Left wing Michael Chaput gave chase on the forecheck and swiped the loose puck to Smith who banged the puck home from in front of the Monarchs net for his third goal of the season at 11:58 of the third period.
Springfield tied the game at 4-4 with a goal by Craig at 13:30 of the final frame. The scoring play started when right wing Tomas Kubalik brought the puck from the right wing corner back to the right wing half-wall before he played the puck for Holden at the left point. Holden fired a wrist shot that Jones took off his chest producing a rebound in front of the net. Craig picked up the rebound and put it in an empty net for his third goal of the season.
Jones (7-8-1) took his eight loss of the season stopping 27-of-32 shots. McElhinney (10-2-2) earned his 10th win of the season making 25 saves on 29 shots.
Manchester went 0-for-2 on the power play. Springfield was 1-for-3 with the man advantage.
Notables: The Monarchs tied a record for most goals allowed in a period with five goals in the third period…Monarchs left wing Dwight King returned from injury, tallying an assist in the game…Center Jordan Weal scored the first professional goal of his career…Defenseman Vincent LoVerde tallied his first American Hockey League point, earning an assist on Weal’s first period goal…Monarchs right wing Tyler Toffoli has a four-game goal streak (6-1=7).
The Monarchs travel to the MassMutual Center to take on the Falcons on Saturday, December 1 at 7:00 p.m. Catch all the play-by-play action of Monarchs hockey online with Ken Cail on the Monarchs Radio Network WGIR.com and at www.manchestermonarchs.com, presented by Manchester-Boston Regional Boston.