SYRACUSE, NY – Despite outshooting their opponent 33-15, the Manchester Monarchs were held off the scoresheet for the second consecutive game, a 2-0 loss to the Syracuse Crunch at the Onondaga County War Memorial at Oncenter on Wednesday night.
Manchester (34-25-3-5) dropped to fourth place in the Atlantic Division with 76 points. Syracuse (30-32-3-3) is ranked fifth in the Atlantic Division with 66 points.
“We outplayed our opponent tonight and spent a considerable amount of time in their end but all we could muster were a couple of goal posts,” said Monarchs Head Coach Mark Morris. “When you work that hard, you want a better result.
“A mental mistake in the neutral zone led to their goal in the second period and a late penalty gave them a man-up situation and allowed them to score a gain. It was a disappointing loss and we need to find a way to score some goals. We absolutely out-worked them but that doesn’t help us in the standings.”
Left wing Jordan LaVallee-Smotherman broke the 0-0 tie at 5:11 of the second period with his seventh goal of the season. Center Dan Fritsche carried the puck down the right wing. As he reached the end red line, Fritsche flipped the puck back to the right face-off circle. LaVallee-Smotherman picked up the loose puck and snapped a shot past Monarchs goaltender Jonathan Bernier
. Defenseman Brent Regner earned on assist on the eventual game-winning goal.
The Crunch solidified their win with an unassisted, power play goal by right wing Chad Kolarik at 15:37 of the third period. Deep in the Monarchs zone, Manchester went to clear the puck following a blocked shot but Kolarik picked up the loose puck in the bottom of the left face-off circle. He whipped a shot on net, beating Bernier for his 22nd goal of the season.
Bernier (26-19-5) stopped 13-of-15 shots for his 19th loss of the season. Crunch netminder Kevin Lalande (22-19-2) earned his 22nd win of the season and second shutout with 33 saves.
Manchester went 0-for-3 on the power play. Syracuse was 1-for-3 with the man advantage.
Notables: The Monarchs have lost four consecutive games, their longest losing streak of the season. Their four-game losing streak ties the team’s all-time losing streak…Manchester has been held off the scoreboard for the last 125 minutes and 16 seconds…The Monarchs have been shutout 35 times since the team’s inception in 2001.
The Monarchs return home to the Verizon Wireless Arena to face-off with the Portland Pirates on Friday, March 19 at 7:30 p.m. Catch all of the play-by-play action of Monarchs hockey with Ken Cail on the Monarchs Radio Network WGAM 900/1250 AM and at www.manchestermonarchs.com.