MANCHESTER, NH – The Manchester Monarchs recovered from a two-goal, first period deficit to beat the Bridgeport Sound Tigers 6-2 on Saturday night at the Verizon Wireless Arena.
Manchester (32-17-1-5, 70 points) achieved their 32nd win of the season and hold on to first place in the Atlantic Division with 70 points. Bridgeport (19-27-3-3, 44 points) sits in seventh place in the Atlantic Division.
“Our net presence was pretty obvious,” said Monarchs Head Coach Mark Morris following Saturday night’s victory. “When you score in bunches like that it’s a lot of fun.”
“Obviously the puck was bouncing our way when yesterday, it was tough to get pucks past (Portland goaltender Jhonas) Enroth,” reflected Morris.
“Tonight we made a firm commitment to get to the net, and we did.”
Center Justin Azevedo
gave the Monarchs their first lead of the game at 4:23, exactly two minutes after the team’s tying goal. After receiving the puck from left wing Dwight King
, fellow winger Bud Holloway
fought to keep possession while skating away from the corner along the right boards. Holloway brought the puck to the face-off circle and passed it across to Azevedo in the slot. Azevedo wristed a shot, beating Bridgeport’s goaltender Joel Martin on his stick side for the eventual game-winning goal.
Left wing Justin DiBenedetto scored his 12th goal of the season at 8:29 of the first period to give the Sound Tigers a 1-0 lead. Defenseman Mark Katic received the puck in the neutral zone and began Bridgeport’s ascension into Monarchs territory. Katic crossed the puck to left wing Brandon Svendsen at the point, who then fired a slap shot toward the goal. DiBenedetto had his skates tied with Monarchs defenseman David Kolomatis
but managed to get his stick on the puck and sneak it past Monarchs netminder Jeff Zatkoff
Left wing Eric Castonguay scored his second goal of the season at 14:40 of the first period to extend Bridgeport’s lead to 2-1. Center Tony Romano sent the puck ahead to left wing Jean Bourbeau who was positioned off to the right of Zatkoff. Bourbeau tried to slip it past the Monarchs goalie but was denied. Zatkoff could not contain the puck and instead Castonguay gained possession on the end red line. The Sound Tigers winger then fired it back at Zatkoff, who could not stop the puck coming from such an odd angle.
King started off the team’s second period retaliation, netting his 15th goal of the season just 26 seconds into the period. Holloway skated to the point along the left wing boards and fed the puck up to defenseman Viatcheslav Voynov. The All-Star defenseman then blasted a shot into the crease where King was able to get a stick on the puck, redirecting it right through the legs of the Sound Tigers goaltender.
Monarchs defenseman Colten Teubert knotted the game at two goals a piece at 2:23 of the second period for his second goal of the season. Right wing John Zeiler fought for the puck with a Sound Tiger defenseman in the slot and managed to send it up to Teubert at the point. Teubert then fired his ammo, which sailed right past Martin.
King increased the Monarchs lead to two goals at 6:48 of the second period once again tipping in a blast from defenseman Voynov. Kolomatis and Voynov played keep-away up at the blueline before Voynov saw the opportunity to score, firing one into the crease. King was able to get a stick on Voynov’s blast to beat Bridgeport’s Martin, increasing Manchester’s lead to 4-2.
Martin was replaced by goaltender Riley Gill following King’s second goal of the night. Martin stopped 12-of-16 shots on goal through just under 27 minutes of playing time.
Right wing Brandon Kozun
netted his 12th goal of the season at 13:02 of the second period. Initiating his drive near the right face-off circle after obtaining the puck from center Oscar Moller, Kozun weaved his way across the slot through a handful of sticks. Seeing his chance at the left circle, the right wing wristed his shot right over the shoulder of relief goaltender Gill.
Center Corey Elkins
scored his 14th goal of the season at 2:55 of the third period for the final tally of the night. After receiving the puck from Kaunisto near the slot, Elkins sought a path to the goal, weaving around a handful of both Monarchs and Sound Tigers players. The Monarchs center swung around the back of the net and looped the puck inside the right post for Manchester’s sixth and final goal of the game.
Zatkoff (13-11-4) collected his 13th win of the season, stopping 26-of-28 shots on goal. Martin (1-6-0) suffered his sixth loss of the season, halting 12-of-16 shots on goal, while Gill (0-0-0) halted 19-of-21 shots on goal in his relief.
Manchester was 1-for-4 on the power play. Bridgeport was 0-for-6 with the man advantage.
The Monarchs five goals scored in the second period tied the franchise record for most goals in a period, the last time being versus Hartford (now Connecticut) on December 4, 2009 in a 7-5 win…Defenseman Colten Teubert scored his second goal of the season…Left wing Dwight King
collected his second two-goal game of the season; the first came in the Monarchs 6-4 win over Charlotte on January 13…Defenseman Andrew Campbell
played in his 200th AHL game.