MANCHESTER, NH – The Manchester Monarchs rallied from a two goal deficit but fell to the Connecticut Whale, 5-2, at the Verizon Wireless Arena on Friday night.
Manchester (12-12-2-2) is fifth in the Atlantic Division with 28 points. Connecticut
(12-13-2-0) is third in the Northeast Division with 26 points.
“I didn’t like the goals we allowed tonight,” said Monarchs Head Coach Mark Morris. “We have to find a way to keep the puck out of the net. So much of how you win is based on momentum and we have to find a way to close teams out and come up big when we have to.”
Connecticut regained the lead for good at 3-2 with a goal from center Kelsey Tessier at 19:36 of the second period. Left wing Ryan Bourque gained the Monarchs zone at the right wing. Bourque pulled up at the right point and passed to Tessier skating down the middle of the ice. Tessier skated in and took a wrist shot from between the face-off circles that beat goaltender Martin Jones high on the stick side for his third goal of the season. Defenseman Steven Delisle also had an assist on the goal.
Connecticut opened up the scoring with a goal from left wing Marek Hrivik at 7:54 of the first period. Center Kris Newbury picked up the loose puck in the left corner and passed to Hrivik in front of the net. Hrivik was able to sneak the puck just inside the right post for the goal. Hrivik’s third goal of the season was also assisted by Delisle.
The Whale opened up a 2-0 lead with a power play goal from center Kris Newbury at 12:40 of the first period. From the left point, defenseman Matt Gilroy passed the puck over to right wing Chad Kolarik for the initial slap shot from center point. Newbury had the rebound at the left side of the slot and tapped the puck in for the goal.
The Monarchs scored their first goal of the game on the power play off the stick of center Marc-Andre Cliche at13:18 of the second period. Center Andrei Loktionov passed the puck from the right point to defenseman Jake Muzzin at the left point. Muzzin took a wrist shot that Cliche was able to redirect into the goal for his fourth tally of the season.
Manchester tied the game at 2-2 with Cliche’s second goal of the game at 14:04 of the middle period. Left wing Richard Clune gained the Whale zone along the left wing boards before passing to right wing Stefan Legein at the top of the left wing face-off circle. Cliche then took a centering pass from Legein in front of the net and tipped the puck up over Whale netminder Cameron Talbot for his fifth goal of the season.
The Whale extended their lead to 4-2 with a goal from left wing Chris Kreider for his fifth goal of the season. Center Kyle Jean gained the Monarchs zone on the left wing and skated to between the top of the face-off circles before dropping the puck off to Kreider at the top of the right wing face-off circle. Kreider took a wrist shot high on the stick side of Jones for the goal at 4:46 of the third period. Defenseman Blake Parlett also recorded an assist on the play.
Monarchs goaltender Peter Mannino relieved Jones following Connecticut’s fourth goal.
Connecticut finished off the scoring with and empty net goal by Newbury with 45 seconds left in the final period. Right wing Chad Kolarik was able to poke out the puck from traffic in the left wing corner. The puck came right to Newbury in the top half of the left wing face-off circle. Newbury finished it into the open net for his 10th goal of the season. Hrivik also had an assist on Newbury’s goal.
Jones (7-12-2) took his 12th loss of the season making 19 saves on 23 shots. Mannino (5-2-0) made five saves on five shots in relief of Jones. Talbot (10-10-0) earned his 10th win of the season stopping 39 out of 41 shots.
Manchester went 1-for-5 on the power play. Worcester was 1-for-3 with the man advantage.
Notables: The are 1-8-1-0 when they play on Friday this season…Center Marc-Andre Cliche scored two goals in the game notching goals 62 and 63 of his Monarchs career…Cliche is now tied for eighth place on the Monarchs all-time goals scored list with 63.
The Monarchs return to action against the Portland Pirates in the sixth VIP Cup series match-up, presented by VIP Parts, Tires and Service, at the Verizon Wireless arena on Saturday, December 22 at 7:00 p.m. Catch all of the play-by-play action of Monarchs hockey with Ken Cail on the Monarchs Radio Network at WGIR 610 AM, WTPL The Pulse 107.7 FM, WGIRAM.com and at ManchesterMonarchs.com, presented by Manchester-Boston Regional Airport.