MANCHESTER, NH – The Manchester Monarchs kept the lamp bright late in the game with six unanswered goals to beat the Lake Erie Monsters, 6-2, in front of 5,314 at the Verizon Wireless Arena on Saturday night.
Manchester (24-24-0-5, 53 points) is in sixth place in the Atlantic Division. Lake Erie (21-28-1-5, 48 points) is in sixth place in the North Division.
"We got stronger as the game went along," said Monarchs Head Coach Mark Morris. "Our guys are beginning to gel with the line combinations and our power play is starting to click."
The Monarchs got their first lead of the night when right wing Teddy Purcell scored his second of the night on the power play at 1:44 of the second period. Center Marty Murray received the puck behind the net from left wing Scott Parse. Murray gave a crisp pass to Purcell who blasted the puck over goaltender Tyler Wieman's right shoulder for his 15th tally of the season.
The Monsters lit the lamp first when right wing Robert Snowball pierced one past netminder Daniel Taylor at 3:57 of the first period. Center Codey Burki stripped the puck from defensemen Drew Bagnall in the Monarchs defensive zone. Burki skated toward the net and dished the puck to Snowball who gave the Monsters a 1-0 lead with his first goal in his first AHL game.
At the 8:50 mark of the first period, left wing Tom Fritsche gave the Monsters a 2-0 lead when he put his 10th goal past Taylor. The Monarchs failed to capitalize on the power play and center Matt Hendricks quickly skated down the left hand side for a 2-on-1. He flicked the puck across the front of the crease where Fritsche shot the puck past Taylor's blocker side for a shorthanded goal.
The Monarchs got on the board at the 11:22 point of the first period when Purcell scored on a 5-on-3 power play. Left wing Matt Moulson slipped the puck to Parse who was located at the top of the left face-off circle. Parse passed a sizzler to Purcell who raced it to the top of the left face-off circle. Purcell ripped a low wrist shot past Wieman for his 14th goal of the year to become the lead goal scorer for the Monarchs.
Just 10 seconds into the second period, Murray tied the game at 2-2 with a new franchise record for the fastest goal from the start of a period. Defenseman Alec Martinez quickly played the puck to Moulson in the slot who found unmarked Murray in the center of the right face-off circle. Murray cracked a one-timer past the glove side of Wieman to tally his ninth of the season.
The Monarchs doubled their lead at 16:49 of the third stanza with a goal from center Marc-Andre Cliche. Martinez released the puck to left wing Vladimir Dravecky on a 2-on-2 counter attack. Dravecky skated down the left wing toward the net and released the biscuit into the crease where Cliche placed it into the net for a 4-2 lead with his second goal of the season.
Right wing Kevin Westgarth doubled his goal total on the season with his second tally of the season at 17:54 of the third stanza. Left wing Richard Clune sent the puck to center Brian Boyle who shuffled the disk to Westgarth in the slot. With a low glove side shot, Westgarth made the score 5-2.
With only 18 seconds remaining in the game, Clune tripled the score and tallied his second goal of the season. Purcell assisted on the final goal of the night when he blasted a shot from the left point the bounced off of Westgarth's shin pad and to Clune for the quick tip in.
"Hopefully we can carry the confidence from the last couple of games through the rest of the season and into the playoffs," said Morris.
Taylor (5-1-0) picked up his fifth win of the season and fourth in a row with 20 saves. Wieman (9-19-1) took his 19th loss of the season stopping 28-of-34 shots.
Manchester went 3-for-5 on the power play. Lake Erie was 0-for-5 with the man advantage.