WORCESTER, MA – Right wing Grant Stevenson collected three points, including the game winning goal, in the Worcester Sharks 5-4 win over the Manchester Monarchs in front of a crowd of 3,538 at the DCU Center on Saturday night.
Manchester (3-3-0-0) is tied for fourth place in the Atlantic Division with six points. Worcester (5-2-0-2) is in second place in the Atlantic Division with 12 points.
Worcester scored the lone first period goal at 11:26 while on the power play. Left wing Lukas Kasper carried the puck into the Monarchs zone and slid it over to defenseman Garrett Stafford. The former University of New Hampshire Wildcat fired a bomb on Manchester's goaltender Jason LaBarbera who caught a piece of the puck as it trickled over the goal line. Stevenson earned an assist on the play.
The Monarchs tied the game at 1-1 at the 54-second mark of the second period with a power play goal from right wing Tim Jackman. Right wing Konstantin Pushkarev fed the puck over to defenseman T.J. Kemp at the left point. Rookie Kemp threw the puck on net and Jackman was there to redirect it past goaltender Dimitri Patzold for his second goal of the season.
The Sharks regained their lead at 6:23 of the second period with center Tom Cavanagh's first of the season. Cavanagh skated down the right side and sent a wrist shot buzzing over LaBarbera's right shoulder. Left wing Mathieu Darche and defenseman Mathieu Biron assisted on the goal to give Worcester a 2-1 lead.
Manchester responded 36-seconds later with defenseman Peter Harrold's first professional goal. With numerous players in front of Patzold, Harrold was able to get his stick on the puck and poke it into the back of the net. Rookie center Gabe Gauthier recorded his first professional point as he was credited with the lone assist on the play.
Right wing Lauri Tukonen gave Manchester the 3-2 lead at 12:23 of the middle frame as he redirected Pushkarev's one-timer from the right face-off circle. The go-ahead goal was Tukonen's fourth of the season.
Peppering LaBarbera in the final seconds of the middle period, Darche was able to sneak one by the Monarchs goaltender with two seconds left in the period. Darche's 11th of the season came on the power play as he was on one knee between the hash marks. Center Joe Pavelski and Biron assisted on Darche's goal to even the game at 3-3 heading into the third period.
Left wing Noah Clarke scored his fourth goal of the season at the 21-second mark of the third period. Clarke skated into the Sharks zone on a two-on-one and fired a shot past Patzold from just inside the right wing circle to give the Monarchs a 4-3 lead.
Worcester scored the next two goals to regain the lead they started with and win the game 5-4. Defenseman Scott Ferguson scored his first goal of the season with a shot from between the hash marks to tie the game at four goals apiece. Stevenson collected his second assist of the evening on the tying goal at 4:24 of the third period.
The game-winning goal came off the stick of Stevenson who finished the night with three points. At 6:33 of the final period, Stevenson blasted a one-timer from the left face-off dot past LaBarbera for his first goal of the season. Ferguson and Stafford assisted on the game winning goal.
LaBarbera (3-2-0) took the loss stopping 28 shots. Patzold (2-0-2) earned the win for the Sharks with 22 saves.
Manchester went 2-for-4 on the power play. Worcester was 3-for-3 with the man advantage.
For more information on the Manchester Monarchs visit thier official team website at www.monarchshockey.com