PROVIDENCE, RI ? The Manchester Monarchs fell to the Providence Bruins, 5-2, following three quick goals in the first period in front of 8,707 fans at the Dunkin' Donuts Center on Friday night.
Manchester (25-25-0-5, 55 points) is in sixth place in the Atlantic Division, one point behind the fifth place Worcester Sharks (27-24-0-2, 56 points) and three points behind the fourth place Lowell Devils (26-22-1-5, 58 points). Providence (31-21-2-1, 65 points) is in first place in the Atlantic Division.
"We opened the game with a lot of energy and it led to a 5-on-3 power play but we failed to score," said Head Coach Mark Morris. "(Providence) ended up scoring after that and we unraveled. They had three quick goals in succession and for the next two full periods, we played extremely scrambley. The third period, we applied a lot of energy and played with more structure but it wasn't enough."
Setting a new season record for the quickest three goals scored in a game during the 2008-09 Monarchs season, left wing Peter Schaefer chipped a shot over goaltender Daniel Taylor at 6:50 of the opening frame for his seventh goal of the season. The first three goals of the game were scored 58 seconds apart, one-second shy of tying the Monarchs franchise record for the fastest three goals in a game that was set on March 19, 2006. Right wing Brad Marchand picked up a pass from defenseman Johnny Boychuk and then found Schaefer along the right doorstep for the third goal of the night.
Five goals were collected in the first 12 and a half minutes of the game to give the Bruins a 4-1 lead early. The scoring began when Taylor controlled the puck behind Manchester's cage but misplayed it and handed it over to right wing Jordan Knackstedt who easily found the open net for his seventh goal of the season at 5:52 of the opening frame.
A mere 37 seconds later, Boychuk picked up his 12th tally of the season to give the Bruins a 2-0 advantage. Fellow blueliner Jeff Penner slid the puck to his defensive partner at the left point where Boychuk connected on the one-timer that beat Taylor at 6:29 of the first period. Marchand also picked up an assist on the goal.
Taylor was replaced by Monarchs netminder Jonathan Bernier following Schaefer's goal. Taylor stopped 3-of-6 shots.
The Monarchs put a tally on the scoreboard at 10:47 of the first period while on the power play. Defenseman Alec Martinez blasted a shot from the center point that bounced off of left wing Matt Moulson and over to center Marty Murray positioned to the left of Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask. Murray redirected Martinez shot past Rask for his 10th goal of the season.
Providence answered with a power play goal of their own at the 12:31-mark of the first period. Boychuk scored his second goal of the game and 13th tally of the season with a one-timer from the left point that beat Bernier top shelf. Defenseman Matt Lashoff and center Wacey Rabbit assisted on the goal that brought the score to 4-1.
The Monarchs cut the Bruins lead in half at 11:39 of the third period with Martinez's sixth goal of the season. Martinez carried the puck deep into the Bruins zone and behind the net. The rookie defenseman threw the puck out in front and it bounced off of Rask and into the net. Center Justin Azevedo and left wing Scott Parse earned the assists on the goal.
Rabbit finished off the evening with an empty net goal at 17:23 of the final period assisted by center Zach Hamill and left wing Matt Marquardt.
Taylor (6-2-0) took the loss stopping 3-of-6 shots before being replaced by Bernier (12-16-3) in the first period who stopped 31-of-32 shots. Rask (23-17-0) earned his 23rd victory with 22 saves.
Manchester went 1-for-6 on the power play. Providence was 1-for-5 with the man advantage.