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Monarchs Advance to Conference Finals

by Kim Mueller / Los Angeles Kings
Viatcheslav Voynov tallied the game winning goal as the Monarchs nominated.
MANCHESTER, NH - Defenseman Viatcheslav Voynov scored his first goal of the playoffs at 1:55 of overtime to give the Manchester Monarchs a 2-1 victory over the Worcester Sharks at the Verizon Wireless Arena on Friday night in game six to advance them to the 2010 Calder Cup Eastern Conference Final against the Hershey Bears. Game one of the conference series will be held on Wednesday, May 12 against the Bears at the Giant Center.

“It was a hard fought battle but we’re glad we don’t have to go back to Worcester,” said Monarchs Head Coach Mark Morris.

When discussing the Monarchs next opponent, the Bears, Morris explained, “All you have to do is look up in their rafters to see their history. We know it’s going to be a tough battle and we look to build on our success for this next series.”

Voynov’s game-winning goal at 1:55 of the overtime period sent the Monarchs to the Eastern Conference Final for the second time in team history. Voynov entered the offensive zone on a two-on-one break with center Andrei Loktionov. Voynov slid the puck across the ice to Loktionov skating down the center of the zone. Sharks goaltender Alex Stalock slid to the left post to defend a potential Loktionov shot when the Monarchs rookie center returned the pass to his defenseman along the right wing. Voynov buried the puck into the center of the net to clinch victory and end the series. Left wing Bud Holloway also assisted on Voynov’s game-winner.

Center Ryan Vesce put the Sharks up, 1-0, at 1:15 of the opening period. The puck popped free in the slot and Vesce was on the doorstep to swipe a shot on Monarchs goaltender Jonathan Bernier. The puck trickled up and over Bernier’s blocker for Vesce’s third goal of the season, unassisted.

The Monarchs tied the game at 1-1 with a power play goal at 9:06 of the second period. Voynov fired the puck from the center point that Stalock was able to get a piece of with his left pad. As he tried to control the rebound, center Gabe Gauthier was on the doorstep and started to thrash away at the puck. Before Stalock could cover it up, Gabe jammed in his third goal of the playoffs to even the score. Right wing Trevor Lewis assisted on the goal.

Bernier (8-2) recorded his eighth victory of the playoffs, stopping 28-of -29 shots on net. Stalock (6-5) drew the loss, halting 25-of-27 shots on goal.

Manchester went 1-for-3 on the power play. Worcester was 0-for-1 with the man advantage.

NOTABLES: Manchester advances to the Calder Cup Eastern Conference Final for the second time in team history…The only other time they advanced was in 2007 and they were swept in four games by the Hershey Bears…Left wing Bud Holloway extended his point streak to 10 games with an assist on the game-winning goal…Holloway has 11 points (6-5=11) in those 10 games…Left wing Kyle Clifford made his AHL debut tonight…Center Gabe Gauthier extended his point streak to four games with four points (3-1=4).
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