Manchester (21-17-0-2) is in second place in the Atlantic Division with 44 points. Adirondack (20-15-1-1) is in second place in the Northeast Division with 40 points.
“Finding a way to win again has been elusive over the last five outings,” said Monarchs Head Coach Mark Morris. “Right now, it’s important we establish a consistent effort and get to simplifying the way we play. There has been a lack of focus and it’s up to me to convince these guys to execute the things we practice. Results will come when we start playing like we did in the third period. There seemed to be more urgency and we were winning more puck battles. It’s a start and we need to build on it. Eliminate the momentary mental lapses and our fortunes will change.”
The Phantoms extended their lead to 4-2 when forward Eric Wellwood tallied his eighth goal of the season and the eventual game-wing tally at 7:01 of the second period. Defenseman Matt Walker grabbed the puck and fed a pass up to Wellwood who was coming out of the Phantoms zone. Wellwood picked up a burst of speed and skated down the center of the ice. He split the Monarchs defensemen and flipped a backhand shot over the glove of Manchester’s netminder Martin Jones
The back-and-forth first period started just one-minute into the game when Phantoms right wing Shane Harper tallied his sixth goal of the season. Defenseman Brandon Manning received a pass from center John Kalinski at the left point. Manning released a slap shot from the left point that Jones blocked and the rebound fell into the slot. Harper pounced on the loose puck and slipped it over the goal line to give the Phantoms the early 1-0 lead.
The Monarchs tied up the game at 1-1 at 4:33 of the opening frame with right wing Brandon Kozun
’s 10th goal of the season. Center Robbie Czarnik pulled up on the right wing half wall and passed the puck over to Kozun who was positioned between the hash marks. As he knelt down to the ice, Kozun fired a one-timer that beat Phantoms netminder Michael Leighton for the Monarchs first tally of the game. Left wing Dwight King
picked up an assist on the play.
The Monarchs took their first and only lead of the game at 10:20 of the first period with right wing Jordan Nolan
’s seventh goal of the season. Center Marc-Andre Cliche
launched a slap shot from the center point that Leighton made the save on. The rebound came to Nolan in the bottom left corner and the right wing fired a shot on net. The puck deflected off bodies and into the net as center Justin Azevedo
served as a screen in front of the net.
Adirondack answered on the power play as left wing Denis Hamel tallied his 14th goal of the season at 14:45 of the opening stanza. Left wing Tom Sestito received a pass from forward Jason Akeson at the left point. Sestito fired a slap shot producing a rebound out to the left of Jones. Hamel picked up the loose puck and curled around into the left face-off circle before releasing a wrist shot that found the back of the net to tie the game at 2-2.
Defenseman Kevin Marshall gave the Phantoms a 3-2 lead at 16:18 of the first period. From behind the Monarchs net, Sestito played the puck up the right wing boards to left wing Andy Bohmbach. At the right point, Bohmbach sent a short pass over to Marshall at the center point. Marshall’s slap shot beat Jones for his second goal of the season.
Following Wellwood’s game-winning goal, center Ben Holstrom gave the Phantoms an insurance tally at 17:36 of the second period. Right wing Mike Testwuide played the puck back to Holstrom at the right point. Holmstrom fired a low wrist shot that traveled through traffic and past Jones on his stick side to bring the score to 5-2. Marshall tallied an assist on Holstrom’s 11th goal of the season.
The Monarchs were able to sneak one more goal past Leighton when defenseman Thomas Hickey
tallied his second goal of the season at 13:34 of the third period. Skating on the power play, Czarnik cycled the puck from the left corner of the Phantoms zone to defenseman Nick Deslauriers at the left point. Deslauriers faked shot and passed the puck over to Hickey at the right point. Hickey one-timed the puck over Leighton’s glove and into the net for the final goal of the game.
Jones (11-11-1) took his 11th loss of the season stopping 24-of-29 shots. Monarchs netminder Jeff Zatkoff
(10-6-1) relieved Jones for the third period and made two saves on two shots. Leighton (14-12-0) earned his 14th win of the season making 23 saves on 26 shots.
Manchester went 1-for-4 on the power play. Adirondack was also 1-for-4 with the man advantage. Notables:
The Monarchs current five-game losing streak is tied for the season’s longest losing streak as Manchester dropped five straight games from October 16-26…Left wing Dwight King
(7-17=24) is on a three-game point streak with a goal and three assists for four points...King’s assist tonight moves him into first place on the Monarchs with 24 points…Center Robbie Czarnik (5-9=14) has four points (1-3=4) in his last two games…Right wing Brandon Kozun
(10-11=21) is on a three-game point streak (2-1=3).