PROVIDENCE, RI – The Manchester Monarchs could not overcome two early first period goals and fell to the Providence Bruins, 3-2, at Dunkin’ Donuts Center on Friday night.
Manchester (7-5-0-1) ranks second in the Atlantic Division with 15 points. Providence (5-6-0-1) is in fifth place in the Division with 11 points.
“A slow start spoiled a determined effort,” said Monarchs Head Coach Mark Morris. “Down by two, we worked hard to make a comeback but the hole we dug was too deep. We had a ton of chances. Sooner or later our scorers need to find the back of the net again. There were plenty of opportunities. It’s time to bear down and finish around the net.”
The Bruins regained the lead at 3-2 when right wing Jamie Tardif poked in a rebound at 13:25 of the second period. Center Ryan Spooner carried the puck into the Monarchs zone on the left wing creating a two-on-two opportunity. Spooner skated to the right wing face-off circle crossing with Tardif before wristing a shot on Monarchs goaltender Peter Mannino. Spooner’s shot produced a rebound in front of the net for Tardif to poke in for his fourth tally of the season and the eventual game-winning tally.
The Bruins opened the scoring at 1:18 of the first period when left wing Chris Bourque scored on the rebound. Left wing Craig Cunningham fired a wrist shot from the top of the left wing face-off circle producing a rebound for Bourque to clean up at the right post. Bourque’s second of the season was also assisted by defenseman Matt Bartkowski.
Providence took at 2-0 lead at 2:48 of the first period when center Carter Camper tallied a power play goal. Spooner found left wing Jordan Caron at the bottom of the right wing face-off circle. Caron skated to the net taking the puck to the right doorstep before sending a pass across the crease for Camper to finish of for his third goal of the season.
The Monarchs cut the deficit to 2-1 with a goal by right wing Brian O’Neill at 11:44 of the second period. Defenseman Slava Voynov fed left wing Marc-Andre Cliche in the neutral zone as Cliche gained the Bruins zone on the left wing. Cliche skated in on a two-on-one holding the puck until wristing a shot five-hole from the left wing face-off circle. Cliche’s shot squeaked through the pads of Bruins goaltender Niklas Svedberg and rolled toward the goal line where O’Neill pushed it in the net for his first goal of the season.
The Monarchs tied the game at 2-2 only 38 seconds later when Cliche scored at 12:22 of the middle stanza. Defenseman Andrew Bodnarchuk played the puck to Cliche at the top of the right wing face-off circle. Cliche fired the puck through traffic and beat Svedberg midway up the glove side for his second goal of the season.
Mannino (1-1-0) took his first loss of the season stopping 28-of-31 shots. Svedberg (5-2-0) earned his fifth victory of the season making 30 saves on 32 shots.
Manchester went 0-for-3 on the power play. Providence was 1-for-3 with the man advantage.
Notables: The Monarchs lost their first road game in regulation this season…The Monarchs road record this season is 2-1-0-1…The Monarchs power play has failed to score in each of their last four games (0-for-17)…Right wing Justin Johnson made his season debut for the Monarchs.
The Monarchs travel to Webster Bank Arena to take on the Bridgeport Sound Tigers at 7:00 p.m. on Saturday, November 17. Catch all of the play-by-play action of Monarchs hockey with Ken Cail on the Monarchs Radio Network at WGIR 610AM, WGIRAM.com and at ManchesterMonarchs.com, presented by Manchester-Boston Regional Airport.