MANCHESTER, NH – Forwards Stephen Gionta and Ben Walter netted goals less than two minutes apart early third period to help the Lowell Devils edge the Manchester Monarchs, 3-2, on Max’s Birthday at the Verizon Wireless Arena on Friday night.
Manchester (33-21-2-5) remains in third place in the Atlantic Division with 73 points. Lowell (31-22-4-3) is in fourth place in the Atlantic Division with 69 points.
“Overall, I thought our performance was right there,” said Monarchs Assistant Coach Scott Pellerin. “We had a couple of mistakes that they took advantage of in the third period. They are a good team and capitalized on our mistakes. We made a couple of changes and our players responded. It’s unfortunate we couldn’t come away with two points tonight.”
Walter broke the 2-2 tie at 1:14 of the final frame to put the Devils up 3-2. Gionta sent the center breaking down the right side toward the Monarchs end of the ice. Walter ripped a wrist shot that beat Monarchs goaltender Jonathan Bernier
top shelf on his blocker side giving the Devils the lead. Defenseman Matt Taormina also gathered an assist on Walter’s 17th goal of the season.
The Devils started the scoring off early in the second period as defenseman Matthew Corrente netted his fourth goal of the season putting Lowell up 1-0. The defenseman gathered the puck in the neutral zone and gained speed as he skated into the Monarchs zone. Corrente squared his body and fired a shot from the high slot which beat Bernier on his blocker side. Corrente’s goal at the two-minute mark of the second period was unassisted.
The Monarchs knotted the game at 1-1 when right wing Scott Parse
whistled a shot that beat Lowell netminder Mike McKenna on his glove side. Right wing Geoff Walker fended off a couple of Devils’ defenders and sent the puck to the left wing boards. Parse collected the puck and quickly sent a shot that beat McKenna short side. Center Gabe Gauthier also collected an assist on Parse’s fourth goal of the season at 15:22 of the second period.
Only 31 seconds later, right wing John Zeiler recorded his seventh goal of the season giving the Monarchs a 2-1 advantage. Left wing Dwight King
sent the puck deep into the Devils’ zone which was chased down by Zeiler. The winger broke toward the net sliding the puck under McKenna who went down into the butterfly. Defenseman Viatcheslav Voynov also collected an assist on the goal.
The Devils came out strong early in the third period as Gionta capitalized on a scoring chance tying the game at 2-2. Taormina sent a slap shot that was denied by the Monarchs netminder. Bernier bobbled the puck that got jammed loose by Gionta who dashed around the net. The winger wrapped around the net with Bernier sprawled out of the cage and slid it into the back of the net. Gionta’s 12th goal of the season was scored at the 35-second mark of the third period.
Bernier (25-16-5) took his 16th loss of the season, stopping 22-of-25 shots on goal. McKenna (18-11-3) collected his 18th win of the season, stopping 40-of-42 shots.
Manchester went 0-for-1 on the power play. Lowell was also 0-for-1 with the man advantage.
Notables: The Monarchs fell to the Lowell Devils in their fourth straight game this season…Manchester outshot their opponent for the 15th time (7-6-1-1) in 61 games…The Monarchs recorded 19 shots in the second period, the most in a period this season, and 42 shots in the game, the most shots taken in one game…Defenseman Viatcheslav Voynov has assists in his last two games after going scoreless in his previous 15 games.