MANCHESTER, NH – The Manchester Monarchs lost a back and forth contest with the Manitoba Moose, 3-2, on Sunday evening at the Verizon Wireless Arena in front of 6,017 fans.
Manchester (21-24-0-5, 47 points) is in sixth place in the Atlantic Division. Manitoba (35-14-0-4, 74 points) gained sole position of first place in the North Division with the victory.
"It was our game to win and they got a lucky deflection. Our guys were in the right places," Head Coach Mark Morris commented. "They're a darn good team."
Right wing Guillaume Desbiens put the Moose on top for good at 12:31 of the final frame. Center Jason Krog started it all with a pass from the top of the point to the bottom of the left circle. Left wing Jason Jaffray accepted the pass and quickly sent it to the front of the net for Desbiens who one-timed the puck into the stitches. The goal was Desbiens' 12th of the season.
Manitoba started the scoring on Sunday evening with a shorthanded goal at 9:14 of the second period. Netminder Curtis Sanford and center Greg Rallo started the play, finding Jaffray in the neutral zone. Center Justin Azevedo was the only man to beat as he skated into the Monarchs zone. Jaffray faked a slap shot and made a move to his right before flipping a shot past goaltender Jonathan Bernier for his 16th tally of the season.
The Monarchs answered the opening tally just 14 seconds later. With defenseman Zack FitzGerald serving a double minor for high sticking, right wing Teddy Purcell capitalized on the man advantage. Center Marty Murray worked the puck on the left wing boards before finding Purcell in the high slot. The winger walked through the slot and wristed a shot past Sanford for his 11th goal of the season. Defenseman Alec Martinez picked up the second assist on the equalizer.
The Monarchs added a shorthanded goal of their own before heading into the locker room for the second intermission. At 19:01, center Brian Boyle cleared the puck toward Sanford who saved the shot and played it to his left. Sanford fanned on the puck and right wing Trevor Lewis was right there to capitalize, unassisted, on the mistake. Lewis took the bad angle shot to put the Monarchs on top 2-1 with his 13th tally of the season.
Left wing Pierre-Cedric Labrie evened the contest at 8:23 in the third stanza. Left wing Tom Maxwell skated behind the end line while Labrie streaked to the right of Bernier. Maxwell dished the puck to Labrie who sent the puck through the crease where it deflected off defenseman Paul Crosty's skate and into the net. Center Dusty Collins tallied the second assist on the goal that tied the game at two.
Bernier (12-16-3) burdened the loss after stopping 22-of-25 shots put on net by Manitoba. Sanford (3-0-1) earned his third win of the season after stopping 19-of-21 shots.
Manchester went 1-for-4 with an extra attacker. Manitoba was also 1-for-4 with the man advantage.