SPRINGFIELD, MA – The Manchester Monarchs split their home-and-home series with a 2-1 victory over the Springfield Falcons at the MassMutual Center on Saturday night.
Manchester (10-7-2-1) is tied with the St. John’s IceCaps (11-10-0-1) for the Atlantic Division lead with 23 points each. Springfield (11-4-1-3) leads the Northeast Division with 26 points.
“The team responded well in Springfield after last night’s third period,” said Monarchs Head Coach Mark Morris. “You can dwell on the setback or you can take steps to make corrections to erase the ‘stinkin’ thinkin’.’ Tonight we were able to sustain pressure and limit the Falcons chances. It was a solid effort against a team that humbled us the night before. The pro game is all about consistency and execution and we made plenty of good decisions on both sides of the puck that led to the win. I am proud of the way we were able to bounce back.”
Manchester took a 2-1 lead at 15:50 of the first period with a goal by center Linden Vey. Left wing Tanner Pearson skated with the puck from the left wing corner to behind the Falcons net. Pearson fired a centering pass that right wing Tyler Toffoli deflected at the left doorstep out to Vey between the face-off circles. Vey wristed a shot high on the glove side of Falcons netminder Paul Dainton for his fourth tally of the season and the eventual game-winning goal.
Springfield opened the scoring on the power play with a goal by right wing Cam Atkinson at 11:13 of the first period. Center Nick Drazenovic passed the puck from the right wing half wall to left wing Ryan Craig at the right doorstep. Craig tried to jam the puck into the net but Monarchs goaltender Peter Mannino denied him and produced a rebound that deflected into the air toward the left doorstep. Atkinson swatted the puck into the back of the net for his ninth goal of the season.
The Monarchs tied the game at 1-1 with a goal by left wing Dwight King at 13:40 of the opening frame. Defenseman Thomas Hickey took a slap shot from the left point that created a rebound between the face-off circles. Right wing Brandon Kozun hopped on the loose puck and skated toward the right wing face-off circle. Kozun played the puck back to King in the slot. King wristed a shot halfway up on the stick side of Dainton for his second goal of the season.
Mannino (3-1-0) earned his third victory of the season stopping 20-of-21 shots. Dainton (1-3-1) took his third loss of the season making 27 saves on 29 shots.
Manchester went 0-for-7 on the power play. Springfield was 1-for-6 with the man advantage.
Notables: The Monarchs are 2-1-0-0 against the Falcons this season, including 2-0-0-0 in Springfield…Monarchs right wing Tyler Toffoli has a five-game point streak (6-2=8)…Monarchs left wing Tanner Pearson is on a four-game point streak (1-3=4).
The Monarchs return home to the Verizon Wireless Arena to take on the Portland Pirates in a VIP Cup match-up on Sunday, December 2 at 3:00 p.m. Catch all the play-by-play action of Monarchs hockey with Ken Cail on the Monarchs Radio Network WGIR 610AM, WGIRAM.com and at www.manchestermonarchs.com, presented by Manchester-Boston Regional Airport.