MANCHESTER, NH – Right wing Tim Jackman and defenseman Jeff Likens led the the Manchester Monarchs past the Springfield Falcons 6-4 on Wednesday night in front of a crowd of 6,864 at the Verizon Wireless Arena.
Manchester (49-21-6-1) leads the Atlantic Division with 105 points. Springfield (28-47-1-2) is in last place in the Atlantic with 59 points.
The Falcons lit the lamp first at the five-minute mark of the opening frame. Former Monarchs left wing Eric Healey passed the puck to center Daniel Corso who was to the right of Monarchs goaltender Barry Brust. Corso fed the puck to right wing Norm Milley who was stationed at the point and released a one-timer beating Brust five-hole for his 25th goal of the season.
Retaliating only 20 seconds later was left wing Petr Kanko scoring his 10th goal of the season. Left wing Jeff Giuliano poked the puck out from behind Springfield's net to center Matt Ryan. Bringing the puck around the left side of the net, Ryan passed the puck to Kanko at the top of the crease. Kanko controlled the puck and shot it over netminder Jonathan Boutin's glove side tying the game at one apiece.
The Monarchs gained a 2-1 lead while on the power play with defenseman Peter Harrold's seventh tally of the season. Center Marty Murray freed the puck from the corner and found left wing Noah Clarke at the top of the right face-off circle. Clarke connected with Harrold at the point who found an opening in the net, sneaking a slap shot pass Boutin at 8:21 in the period.
Returning to the Monarchs from the Reading Royals, defenseman Bryan Schmidt carried the puck down the right wing boards into the offensive zone. With a swift pass to Jackman, Boutin was caught slightly out of position. Jackman saw his chance and took a hard slap shot passing by the right pad of Boutin. The puck crossed the line at 16:28 of the first period to give the Monarchs a 3-1 lead.
With 36 seconds left in the opening period, Springfield mounted a comeback. Forward Jacob Micflikier dumped the puck into the Monarchs zone. Rushing in was right wing Kyle Wanvig who gathered the puck and took a shot on Brust. On the rebound, the puck found the stick of left wing David Spina on the right post, who slid the puck past Brust sending the Monarchs into the locker with a 3-2 lead.
Springfield goaltender Kevin Beech came into the game to start the second period.
Springfield continued their comeback with a power play goal at 2:25 of the second period. Corso passed the rubber disk to Healey at the right post, shifting Brust to his left. Healey fed Milley the puck at the left face-off circle who took a one-timer into the open net tying the game at three-all.
On the power play with players screening Beech, Clarke passed the puck to Murrary who was to the left of the net. Murray spun around and took a shot which was intercepted by Jackman crossing the crease. Jackman held onto the puck as Beech sprawled on the ice and took a backhand shot scoring his second goal of the night at 6:07 putting the Monarchs ahead 4-3.
Moving into Springfield's zone, Murray connected with Likens across the ice just inside of the right face-off circle. Likens blasted a shot on Beech beating him stick side for his second goal as a member of the Monarchs and increasing the lead to 5-3. Forward Kevin Westgarth
also collected an assist on the goal at 15:35 of the second period.
Scoring his second goal of the evening, Likens traveled to the red light district at 10:53 of the final frame. Receiving a pass from Ryan at the point, Likens shot the puck and beat Beech to give the Monarchs a 6-3 lead. Also collecting an assist on the tally was center Trevor Lewis
At 16:48 in the final frame, Springfield closed the gap to two goals with Spina's tally goal of the night. Defensemen Nick Kuiper took a shot on Brust who made the initial save but was unable to control the puck. Spina corralled the puck and sent a second shot on Brust beating him over his right shoulder and making the final score 6-4 in favor of the Monarchs.
Brust backed the win with 21 saves on 25 shots. Beech got the loss stopping 30-of-33 shots while Boutin stopped 11-of-14 in 20 minutes of play.
Manchester went 2-for-5 with the man advantage. Springfield was 1-for-4 on the power play.