MANCHESTER, NH – The Manchester Monarchs rallied from a two goal deficit but fell in their annual New Year’s Eve Celebration game to the Worcester Sharks, 3-2, at the Verizon Wireless Arena on Monday night.
Manchester (14-15-2-2) is in fourth place in the Atlantic Division with 32 points. The Sharks (16-11-1-2) are in second place in the Atlantic Division with 37 points.
“It is why you play the whole 60 minutes,” said Monarchs Head Coach Mark Morris. “We had a half hazard clear and a real casual recovery. I’m extremely disappointed with our sense of urgency because I was proud of the way we bounced back. We just continue to find ways to spoil a good effort.”
Worcester took the lead for good at 3-2 with a goal by left wing John McCarthy at 18:54 of the third period. Defenseman Matt Pelech dumped the puck in behind the Monarchs net. Monarchs goaltender Peter Mannino went behind the cage to play it but it skipped past him and into the right wing corner. Center Tim Kennedy grabbed the loose puck and immediately sent a centering pass for McCarthy in front of the net. McCarthy redirected the puck into the open net for his fifth goal of the season and the eventual game-winning goal.
The Sharks opened the scoring with a goal by center Jon Matsumoto at 6:56 of the first period. Matsumoto played the puck off the right wing half wall in the Monarchs zone to defenseman Denny Urban who skated between the top of the face-off circles. Urban circled back and had the puck poked free. Matsumoto grabbed the loose puck and launched a wrist shot through traffic from just inside the center point. Matsumoto’s wrist shot found the back of the net for his eighth goal of the season.
Worcester opened up a 2-0 lead with a power play goal by center Freddie Hamilton at 9:50 of the first period. Defenseman Matt Tennyson passed the puck from the center point to center James Sheppard at the left wing half wall. Sheppard spotted Hamilton racing into the zone and played the puck to him at the center point. Hamilton released a wrist shot that beat Mannino for his fourth goal of the season.
Monarchs defenseman Thomas Hickey cut the Worcester lead to 2-1 with a power play goal at 11:25 of the second period. Defenseman Nick Deslauriers passed the puck to Hickey at the left point. Hickey faked a shot and skated toward the center point as he wristed a shot beating Sharks netminder Harri Sateri high on the glove side. Left wing Tanner Pearson also recorded an assist on Hickey’s third goal of the season.
Manchester tied the game at 2-2 with a goal by right wing Brandon Kozun. Pearson fed Monarchs center Linden Vey as the Monarchs broke out of the defensive zone. Vey quickly played the puck to Kozun in the neutral zone. Kozun skated down with speed on the right wing and around a Sharks defender before cutting across the front of the net and backhanding a shot five-hole on Sateri for his ninth goal of the season.
Mannino (7-4-0) took his fourth loss of the season stopping 15-of-18 shots. Sateri (6-6-1) earned his sixth victory of the season making 35 saves on 37 shots.
Manchester went 1-for-5 on the power play. Worcester was 1-for-4 with the man advantage.
Notables: The Monarchs are 6-4-2-0 all-time in games on New Year’s Eve…The Monarchs went 1-2-0-0 in their three match-ups with the Sharks in the last six days…Monarchs center Linden Vey tallied an assist on right wing Brandon Kozun’s second period goal marking his team-leading 16th assist this season.
The Monarchs will travel to play the St. John’s IceCaps at the Mile One Centre at 6:00 p.m. on Friday, January 4. Catch all the play-by-play action of Monarchs hockey with Ken Cail on the Monarchs Radio Network WGIR 610 AM, WGIR.com and at www.manchestermonarchs.com, presented by Manchester-Boston Regional Airport.