Manchester (18-11-0-2) is in first place in the Atlantic Division with 38 points. Worcester (13-7-3-3) is third in the division with 32 points.
“I couldn’t be happier with the effort over the last month plus,” said Monarchs Head Coach Mark Morris. “We have had a good run so far, and we look forward to picking up where we left off following the holiday break.”
The Monarchs took the lead in the second period with a give-and-go by right wing Brandon Kozun
and left wing Dwight King
at 5:59. Defenseman Thomas Hickey
spotted King cutting through the neutral zone down the left wing. King dropped the puck over to Kozun as they entered the Sharks zone on a two-on-one break. Kozun skated down the left wing with King to his right. In the left face-off circle, Kozun faked a shot and then sent a pass over to King in the right slot. The left wing tipped the puck past goaltender Antero Nittymaki for his fourth goal of the season to give the Monarchs a 2-1 advantage.
The Monarchs opened the scoring with a quick goal by Kozun at 2:01 of the opening period. Center Robbie Czarnik passed the puck from the right point to the left point where King as the Monarchs entered Worcester’s territory. King found Kozun all alone in the slot for the quick tip-in for his eighth goal of the season.
Worcester tied the game at 1-1 with a goal from right wing Jack Combs at 7:23 of the opening period. Combs skated into the left corner and snapped an odd angle shot at goaltender Jeff Zatkoff
’s right pad. The puck deflected off of Zatkoff’s pad and trickled into the net for Combs’ third tally of the season. Right wing Tommy Wingles and defenseman Mike Moore assisted on the Sharks lone goal of the game.
Monarchs added an insurance goal to make the score 3-1 at 8:47 of the third period with a one-timer by right wing Linden Vey
. Hickey poked the puck just outside of the Monarchs zone to left wing Ray Kaunisto
along the left wing boards. Kaunisto led a 2-on-1 breakaway up the ice with Vey. Kaunisto skated up the left wing and snuck a pass behind the Shark’s defenseman to Vey in the right slot. Vey tipped in the pass for his seventh goal of the season.
Zatkoff (9-3-1) earned his ninth victory of the season stopping 40-of-41 shots. Nittymaki (1-1-0) took his first loss of the season making 25 saves on 28 shots.
Manchester went 0-for-2 on the power play. Worcester was 0-for-3 with the man advantage. Notables:
Monarchs moved back into first place with 38 points in the Atlantic Division…The Monarchs have not lost back-to-back games since November 5-6…The Monarchs have won nine of there last 10 home games...Right wing Brandon Kozun
is on a four-game point-streak (1-4=5) and has scored a point in 10 of his last 11 games...The Monarchs are 4-0-0-0 against the Sharks this season at the Verizon Wireless Arena…Left wing Dwight King
now leads the team in points with 17 and in assists with 13…Goaltender Jeff Zatkoff
is ranked second in the AHL with a .935 save percentage.