MANCHESTER, NH – The Manchester Monarchs were able to hold on to their 3-2 lead as they beat the Worcester Sharks on Friday night at the Verizon Wireless Arena in front of 5,015 fans.
Manchester (21-23-0-5, 47 points) is in sixth place in the Atlantic Division. Worcester (27-21-0-2, 56 points) is in second place in the Atlantic Division.
"Credit Worcester with excellent execution late in the game, they made excellent plays," said Head Coach Mark Morris. "They took advantage of the extra attacker."
Captain and center Marty Murray made his presence known as he set up his third and decisive goal of the evening at 5:16 in the third period. The center was surveying the situation in the right corner when he found right wing Teddy Purcell hovering in the slot. Purcell took the biscuit and walked through traffic in front of the net before backhanding a shot past sliding netminder Thomas Greiss for his 10th goal of the season. Defenseman Josh Kidd picked up an assist after being struck in the face with the puck in the second period.
With his ninth tally of the season, right wing Matt Moulson gave the Monarchs the early 1-0 lead at 2:37 of the first frame. Purcell was able to chip the puck away from a Worcester defenseman in the neutral zone so that Moulson could walk into the Sharks zone. Moulson snapped a shot that beat Greiss top-shelf on his blocker side. Murray picked up his first assist of the night and 20th on the season.
Right wing Trevor Lewis added his 12th lamp lighter of the campaign just 26 seconds before the end of the first period. After sitting in the box for two minutes for a hooking violation, Lewis bolted out of the box and received a pass from Murray who was in the Monarchs zone. Lewis slowly approached the net, waiting for a fellow teammate to join him until he decided to bury the puck in the back of the net himself. Moulson was credited with the second assist on the Monarchs second goal of the night.
The Sharks started their late push at 16:20 of the third period with a goal by left wing Frazer McLaren. Defenseman Jason Demers and defenseman Patrick Traverse worked the puck into the Monarchs zone before finding McLaren in the left circle. The winger turned and ripped a shot through traffic that beat netminder Jonathan Bernier.
Worcester was able to add another goal with 1:13 left in the final period. With Greiss on the bench, the Sharks used the extra attacker to their advantage. Center Matt Fornataro was stationed in the right circle before turning and centering the puck to left wing Jamie McGinn who slammed home his 14th goal of the season. Center Tom Cavanaugh was credited with the second helper on the play.
"We beat a very good hockey team tonight," said Morris. "We created a lot of good scoring opportunities in the beginning."
Bernier (12-15-3) picked up the victory after stopping 29 shots while Greiss (17-13-2) took his 13th loss on the season after halting 28-of-31 shots.
Manchester went 0-for-3 on the power play. Worcester was 0-for-5 with the man advantage.