MANCHESTER, NH - Center Gabe Gauthier lead the Manchester Monarchs with two goals and an assist as the home team topped the Springfield Falcons 5-2 on Sunday evening at the Verizon Wireless Arena in front of 7,225 fans.
Manchester (27-26-4-4) is in fifth place in the Atlantic Division with 62 points. Springfield (27-25-5-5) is in fourth place in the Atlantic Division with 64 points.
Gauthier wasted no time putting the Monarchs ahead for good along with adding his second tally of the evening. At 4:51 in the second period, right wing Lauri Tukonen worked the puck behind the right side of the Falcons' net when he dished the disc to Gauthier in the slot. The left winger slammed the puck past goaltender Jeff Deslauriers with the second assist going to defenseman Joe Piskula.
The Falcons found the back of the net first with a goal at 8:01 in the opening frame. With goaltender Jonathan Quick's water bottle floating behind the net, defenseman Richard Petiot tried to make a pass behind the cage. The puck hit the bottle and stopped in its tracks. Falcons' left wing Rob Schremp took the disc and put it past an unsuspecting Quick.
Manchester later answered with a similar tally at 15:36 in the first period. Left wing Paul Crosty was stepping out of the penalty box when center Matt Ryan went on the forecheck. The Falcons defenseman had his pocket picked by Ryan who took the puck and quickly sent it past Deslauriers. The unassisted lamplighter was Ryan's eighth of the year.
Gauthier gave the Monarchs the lead at 2:56 in the second period. Crosty sent the puck deep into the Falcons' zone where Gauthier took it and sent it to right wing Kevin Westgarth. The winger sent a centering pass from a bad angle and found Gauthier waiting in front of the netminder. Gauthier quickly corralled the puck and put it through the five-hole of Deslauriers for his 22nd of the year.
Closing the gap, the Falcons scored a power play goal near the end of the second period. Defenseman Theo Peckham fired a shot on Quick from the left circle. Quick made the save but yielded a rebound to his left where left wing Viacheslav Trukhno was anticipating the puck. With Quick still to his right and flurry of players in the crease, Trukhno punched the puck into an almost open net from the left circle. Former Monarchs defenseman T.J. Kemp earned an assist on Trukhno's seventh goal of the season at 17:05 of the middle frame.
Fresh out of the locker room at the 30-second mark of the third and final frame, left wing Matt Moulson added the first of two insurance goals for the home team. Right wing Teddy Purcell was battling behind the Falcons' net when he found a streaking Moulson who chipped the puck up and over Deslauriers' right skate.
Adding yet another tally, center Brady Murray earned his sixth goal of the year. Defenseman Jeff Likens drove the puck into the Falcons' zone where Murray dug it out in the right circle. He fired a shot that ricocheted off a Falcon defender and top shelf over the glove of the Springfield's netminder. Center David Meckler was credited with an assist on the score that came at 5:32 in the third period.
Quick earned his second win in as many days with 22 saves on 24 shots on net. Deslauriers encumbered the loss stopping 33-of-38 shots on goal.
Manchester went 2-for-7 with an extra man. Springfield was 1-for-11 on the power play