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Monarchs drop final game of the season

by Staff Writer / Los Angeles Kings
PROVIDENCE, RI – The Manchester Monarchs fought to the bitter end but dropped the last game of the 2010-11 regular season, 3-2, to the Providence Bruins at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center on Sunday evening.

Manchester (44-26-4-6, 98 points) finishes the season in second place in the Atlantic Division with 98 points.  Providence (38-26-3-3, 82 points) end the season in fifth place in the Atlantic Division with 82 points.

“This afternoon, we rested Bud Holloway and Thomas Hickey in an effort to make sure we have good energy for the playoffs,” explained Monarchs Head Coach Mark Morris.  “We inserted some of our newer Monarchs to give them some experience.  We were caught napping in the first period and it cost us.  Strong second and third periods weren’t enough to overcome the early deficit.  We had great energy and the effort was there.  Unfortunately, it was too little, too late as (goaltender Anton) Khudobin was spectacular.”

The Bruins brought the score to 3-0 at 13:20 of the first period with forward Carter Camper’s first goal of the season.  Forward Adam Estoclet sent a pass from neutral ice that snuck behind the Monarchs defense.  Center Maxime Sauve flew down the right wing and picked up the pass near the right door step of the Monarchs cage.  Manchester’s goaltender Jeff Zatkoff stopped Sauve’s backhand attempt with the toe of his skate in the middle of the crease.  With Zatkoff continuing to slide to his left, Camper was at the left post to chip in the loose puck.

Providence struck first with defenseman Yury Alexandrov’s sixth goal of the season at 4:07 of the opening period.  While putting on pressure in the Monarchs zone, left wing Jordan LaVallee-Smotherman fed the puck to Alexandrov at the right point.  The defenseman fired a slap shot that eluded Zatkoff on his glove side for the first goal of the game.  Center Trent Whitfield picked up an assist on the goal.

Center Ryan Spooner doubled the Bruins lead at 9:42 of the first period with his third tally of the season.  Center Kyle MacKinnon carried the puck into the Monarchs zone and handed it off to Spooner between the hash marks for a quick one-timer that beat Zatkoff five-hole.

The Monarchs found their way onto the scoreboard when center Tyler Toffoli scored his first goal of the season in his professional debut.  Center Justin Azevedo sent a pass behind the Bruins cage for left wing Dwight King to corral.  Toffoli positioned himself in the bottom inside corner of the left face-off circle where he retrieved a pass from King that he one-timed past goaltender Anton Khudobin at 3:28 of the second period.

Defenseman Viatcheslav Voynov brought the Monarchs to within one goal when he scored his 15th goal of the season at 9:01 of the third period.  Left wing Ray Kaunisto carried the puck down the right wing and tossed the puck toward the net.  Voynov collected the puck between the left face-off circle and the end red line.  The third year defenseman surveyed the scene and decided to wrist a shot on net that beat Khudobin to bring the score to 3-2.  Left wing David Meckler assisted on the goal.

Zatkoff (20-17-5) took his 17th loss of the season, stopping 27-of-30 shots on goal.  Khudobin (28-16-2) earned his 28th win of the season with 41 saves on 43 shots.

Manchester went 0-for-4 on the power play.  Providence was also 0-for-4 with the man advantage.

Notables:  Manchester has a record of 4-5-1-0 in the final game of the regular season throughout their 10 year history…Over the last five years, the Monarchs are 0-4-1-0 in their season finale…Center Tyler Toffoli scored his first professional goal in his professional debut…Defenseman Viatcheslav Voynov scored his 15th goal of the season, a career high for him.

The Monarchs will meet the Binghamton Senators in Round One of the 2011 Calder Cup Playoffs.  Game one against the Senators will be played at the Verizon Wireless Arena on Thursday, April 14 at 7:00 p.m.  Catch all the play-by-play action of Monarchs hockey with Ken Cail on the Monarchs Radio Network WGAM 900/1250 AM and at
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