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Moller's Pair Leads Monarchs to Win

by Kim Mueller / Los Angeles Kings
Oscar Moller tallied two goals to lead the Monarchs.

MANCHESTER, NH – Center Oscar Moller recorded two goals as the Manchester Monarchs defeated the Adirondack Phantoms, 4-3, at the Verizon Wireless Arena on Saturday night.

Manchester (38-26-3-6) remains in third place in the Atlantic Division with 85 points. Adirondack (31-36-3-4) is in sixth place in the East Division with 69 points.

“It may not have been our best effort but it was a win,” said Monarchs Head Coach Mark Morris. “Oscar is finding his scoring touch. The depth of our forward lines has been a big factor as of late. Again, solid goaltending gave us the chance to come out on top.”

Center Justin Azevedo increased the Monarchs lead to 4-2 with his 13th goal of the season at 8:59 of the third period. A Phantoms’ defender sent a pass toward the left wing boards that missed one of his teammates and found its way to the blueline. Azevedo stood at the point and fired a one-timer that trickled under the arm of goaltender Carter Hutton and into the back of the net.

Defenseman Patrick Mullen recorded his fourth goal of the season at the 9:44 mark of the first period to put the Monarchs up 1-0. Mullen collected a bouncing puck at the Phantoms blueline and made his way into the slot in front of the crease. Swerving through traffic, Mullen deked to his backhand and sent a shot that beat Hutton on his blocker side. Right wing John Zeiler collected the lone assist on the goal.

The Monarchs extended the lead to two goals at the 0:48 mark of the second period as Moller netted his 11th goal of the season. Left wing Dwight King collected the puck along the right wing boards and sent it back to the point. Defenseman Alec Martinez shot a one-timer that got blocked in front and slid directly to Moller standing in the slot. The nifty forward gathered the puck and wristed a shot that beat the goaltender on his glove side.

The visiting Phantoms countered back with a goal four minutes later at the 4:48 mark of the second period. Right wing Stefan Legein fought off several Monarchs’ defenders behind netminder Jeff Zatkoff. Legein sent a pass to the slot that found center Jon Matsumoto at the right post. Matsumoto wristed a shot that hit the bottom of the crossbar and into the back of the net. The tally was Matsumoto’s team-leading 27th goal of the season and cut the Monarchs lead in half to 2-1. It was also assisted by right wing Andreas Nodl.

Moller scored his second goal of the night with 14:35 gone in the second period on the power play to regain the Monarchs two goal lead. Martinez gathered a pass from King inside the offensive zone. Martinez blistered a shot that got blocked by a Phantoms’ defender. The rebound flew right to Moller who one-timed a shot from the left wing face-off circle for his 12th goal of the season.

Right wing David Laliberte cut the Monarchs lead once again down to one goal with his 17th goal of the season at the 16:59 mark of the second period. Defenseman Joonas Lehtivuori sent a slow-rolling pass from behind the net, through the slot and to the left point. Laliberte one-timed a pass that beat Monarchs goaltender Jeff Zatkoff. Matsumoto also gathered an assist on the goal.

The Monarchs’ deficit once again would be cut to one goal with Laliberte’s second goal of the night and 18th tally of the season. Defenseman Kevin Marshall took a slap shot from the right point that ricocheted off Zatkoff’s pads toward the slot into the air. Matsumoto batted the puck out of the air toward his teammates standing to the left of him. Laliberte gathered the puck out of mid-air and slapped the puck that beat the Monarchs goaltender blocker side to finish the scoring.

Zatkoff (10-9-0) recorded his 10th victory of the season, halting 29-of-32 shots. Hutton (1-2-1) drew his second loss of the season, stopping 36-of-40 shots.

Manchester went 1-for-6 on the power play. Adirondack was 0-for-2 with the man advantage.

NOTABLES: With two assists tonight, defenseman Alec Martinez has 10 points in his last six games (1-9=10)…Center Justin Azevedo has four goals (4-0=4) in his last five games including a three-game goal scoring streak (3-0=3)…Center Oscar Moller extended his point streak (3-4=7) to five games with seven points in his last five games…Manchester is now 20-1-1-1 when scoring first at home this season…Manchester remains undefeated at home (7-0-0-0) when scoring four goals in a game.
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