MANCHESTER, NH – The Manchester Monarchs hosted their annual Teddy Bear Toss and had thousands of stuffed animals rain down on the ice after defenseman Thomas Hickey scored before they fell in a shootout to the Springfield Falcons, 3-2, at the Verizon Wireless Arena on Sunday afternoon.
Manchester (12-11-2-2) is fourth in the Atlantic Division with 28 points. Springfield (15-5-2-3) leads the Northeast division with 35 points.
“You’re not going to get many better chances than the ones we had,” said Monarchs Head Coach Mark Morris. “The fact of the matter is that you’ve got to score and their goalie played very well. I think our goalie played super in the first and their goalie was there to shut us down at the tail end.”
Right wing Cam Atkinson and center Nick Drazenovic beat goaltender Martin Jones in the shootout. Jones blanked left wing Matt Calvert on the Falcon’s final shootout attempt. Falcon’s goaltender Curtis McElhinney stopped left wing Tanner Pearson, center Robbie Czarnik, left wing Marc-Andre Cliche and center Linden Vey for the shootout victory.
The Falcons opened up the scoring with a power play goal from Atkinson at 5:55 of the second period. Drazenovic maneuvered the puck around a Monarchs defender at the right wing half-wall and sent a backhand pass to defenseman David Savard at the center point. Savard passed it over to Atkinson in the center of the left wing face-off circle where he settled the puck before blasting a slap shot past Jones high on the stick-side for his 15th goal of the season.
The Monarchs evened the game at 1-1 with a goal by Hickey at 4:05 of the third period. Center Andrei Loktionov won a face-off at the right wing face-off circle back to Hickey at the right point. Hickey fired a wrist shot past McElhinney midway up on the glove side for his second goal of the season.
Manchester took the lead with a strike from right wing Brandon Kozun at 7:25 of the third period making the score 2-1. Left wing Dwight King fed a pass from in front of the Monarchs bench to Kozun on the right wing entering the Flacons zone. Kozun broke in on a 2-on-1 scoring opportunity and looked to pass before Kozun roofed a wrist shot just under the cross bar on the glove side of McElhinney for his eighth goal of the season.
Springfield tied the game at 2-2 with a goal from left wing Jonathan Audy-Marchessault at 13:12 of the third period. Savard fed Audy-Marchessault inside the center of the left wing face-off center where he one-timed a shot that beat Jones high on the glove side for his eighth goal of the season.
Jones (7-11-2) took his second shootout loss of the season stopping 25-of-27 shots in regulation and 1-of-3 shootout attempts. McElhinney (14-3-2) earned his 14th win of the season and saving 32 out of 34 shots regulation and 4-of-4 shootout attempts.
Manchester went 0-for-4 on the power play. Springfield was 1-for-5 with the man advantage.
Notables: The Monarchs earned 3-of-6 standings points in three games this weekend…The Monarchs are 2-1-0-1 against the Northeast Division leading Falcons…Monarchs goaltender Martin Jones set a franchise record with his seventh consecutive loss…Jones also appeared in his 100th game as a Monarchs netminder.
The Monarchs return to action against the Connecticut Whale at the Verizon Wireless Arena on Friday, December 21 at 7:00 p.m. Catch all of the play-by-play action of Monarchs hockey with Ken Cail online on the Monarchs Radio Network at WGIR 610AM, WGIRAM.com and at ManchesterMonarchs.com, presented by Manchester-Boston Regional Airport.