MANCHESTER, NH – The Manchester Monarchs scored nine goals and defeated the Connecticut Whale at the Verizon Wireless Arena, 9-2, on Saturday night.
Manchester (11-9-2-1) is tied with the Worcester Sharks (11-8-1-2) for the lead in the Atlantic Division. Connecticut (10-10-2-0) is ranked second in the Northeast Division.
“I think we woke up a sleeping giant,” said Monarchs Head Coach Mark Morris. “Goals have been hard to come by and obviously it was a welcome sign. We played a good team game. I give our guys a lot of credit because we had a pretty determined message that we sent in our morning meeting. We had too many situations where we had gotten out to leads and let them slip through our fingers. We played good tonight. We were good for three periods and for the most part, we avoided costly turnovers and were able to play a good solid team game.”
Manchester scored their third unanswered goal of the first period at 12:06 with a goal by left wing Richard Clune. Left wing Jordan Nolan skated down the right wing boards with the puck and wristed a bad angle shot from the bottom of the right wing face-off circle. Nolan’s shot was stopped by Whale netminder Cameron Talbot. Clune picked up Nolan’s rebound at the right post. Clune bounced the puck off of Talbot’s pads and flipped it just inside the left post for his second tally of the season and the eventual game-winning goal.
The first goal of the night came at 5:34 of the first period with a breakaway goal from Nolan. Center Jordan Weal broke the puck out of the Monarchs zone feeding Clune in front of the team benches. Clune forwarded a pass just over the Whale blueline to Nolan who skated past a Whale defenseman before wristing a shot from the slot low on the stick side of Talbot for his second goal of the season.
The Monarchs lead was extended to 2-0 at 7:21 of the first period with a goal by defenseman Andrew Bodnarchuk. Center Andy Andreoff took control of the puck behind the net before passing it to Bodnarchuk at the right point. Right wing Stefan Legein deflected the puck before it reached the point. Bodnarchuk grabbed the puck above the right wing face-off circle, skated toward the middle of the ice and wristed a shot from in between the top of the face-off circles. Bodnarchuk’s shot beat Talbot high on the glove side for his third goal of the season.
Right wing Christian Thomas got the Whale on the score sheet with a goal at the 18:00-minute mark of the opening frame. After a shot from left wing Tommy Grant, Thomas collected the rebound in front of the net and wristed a shot high on the glove side of Manchester goaltender Peter Mannino. Center J.T. Miller was also credited with an assist on Thomas’ sixth goal of the year the goal.
Right wing Brandon Kozun gave the Monarchs a 4-1 lead 47 seconds into the second period. Center Andrei Loktionov played the puck back to defenseman Slava Voynov at the right point. Voynov faked a slap shot and skated to the top of the right wing face-off circle before writing a shot on goal producing a rebound in front of the net. Kozun poked the rebound five-hole for his sixth goal of the season.
Loktionov gave the Monarchs their fifth goal in 28 minutes at 7:08 of the period. Right wing Tyler Toffoli one-timed a shot from inside the right wing face-off circle producing a rebound on the left doorstep. Loktionov corralled the rebound and roofed a tough angle shot into the open net to give the Monarchs a 5-1 advantage.
The Whale replaced Talbot with goaltender Jason Missiaen following the Monarchs fifth goal.
Connecticut cut the Monarchs lead to 5-2 with a goal 2:57 into the third period. Defenseman Mike Vernace took a slap shot from the left point producing a rebound in front of Mannino. As the goaltender went to cover the puck, center Kelsey Tessier poked the puck in under the glove for the goal. Grant also tallied an assist on Tessier’s second goal of the season.
Manchester scored their first of four third period goals at 11:28 of the final frame with a strike by Voynov. Kozun skated the puck down the left wing board on a two-on-one breakaway before passing it to Voynov who jumped into the play. Voynov took the pass between the face-off circles before wristing a shot halfway up on the stick side of Missiaen. Left wing Dwight King was also credited with an assist on Voynov’s fifth goal of the season.
Kozun scored his second goal of the game giving the Monarchs a 7-2 lead at 14:12 of the third period. King skated the puck around defenders along the left wing boards. King got to the bottom of the left wing face-off circle before firing a hard centering pass for Kozun in front of the net. Before being checked into the net, the winger was able to swipe the puck past Missiaen for the goal. Loktionov also tallied an assist on Kozun’s seventh goal of the season.
The Monarchs lead grew to 8-2 just sixteen seconds later when right wing Linden Vey scored his first of two goals at 14:28 of the final frame. Left wing Tanner Pearson skated the puck down the left wing and behind the goal. Pearson centered a pass for Vey in the slot where Vey finished it for his fifth goal of the season.
The Monarchs capped the scoring with Vey’s second goal of the game at 17:51 of the third period. Vey broke up a play in the neutral zone getting the puck to Pearson entering the Whale zone on the left wing. Pearson fed Vey who was skating down the middle of the ice. Vey wristed a shot from the slot that beat Missiaen high on the stick side for his sixth goal of the season.
Mannino (4-1-0) earned his fourth victory of the season stopping 23-of-25 shots. Talbot (8-7-0) took his seventh loss of the season and made saves on 17 out of 22 shots. Missiaen (2-3-0) stopped 12-of-16 shots in relief of Talbot.
Manchester was 0-for-1 on the power play. Connecticut went 0-for-1 with the man advantage.
Notables: The Monarchs set an all-time single game franchise record with nine goals…All nine of the Monarchs goal were even strength…The Monarchs had 14 different players record a point in the game…Nine Monarchs players recorded multiple points.
The Monarchs return to action against the Sharks at the Verizon Wireless Arena at 3:00 p.m. on Sunday, December 9. Catch all of the play-by-play action of Monarchs hockey with Ken Cail on the Monarchs Radio Network at WTPL The Pulse 107.7 FM, WGIRAM.com and at ManchesterMonarchs.com, presented by Manchester-Boston Regional Airport.