WORCESTER, MA – The Manchester Monarchs treaded water as they fell to the Worcester Sharks, 5-2, at the DCU Center on Tuesday night.
Manchester (23-10-1-2) remains in first place in the Atlantic Division with 49 points. Worcester (19-12-0-2) is ranked fourth in the Atlantic Division with 40 points.
Left wing John McCarthy deflected in his sixth goal of the season off a shot from defenseman Nick Petrecki to give the Sharks a 3-0 advantage at 5:08 of the second period. Right wing Dan DaSilva found Petrecki in the high slot for a shot through traffic that McCarthy redirected into the back of the net for the eventual game-winning goal.
Center Steven Zalewski started the Sharks scoring at 5:56 of the opening period with his 11th goal of the season. Only six seconds into the power play, center Logan Couture passed the puck from the left point to the left half wall where defenseman Joe Callahan was located. Callahan quickly fed the puck to Zalewski in the high slot for a one-timer that beat goaltender Jonathan Bernier.
The Sharks doubled their lead to 2-0 at 7:28 of the first period with center Benn Ferriero’s seventh goal of the season. Couture shot the puck from the left point but it hit off bodies in the left face-off circle and fell to the ice. Defenseman Danny Groulx picked up the puck and sent it between the hash marks for Ferriero to unleash the one-timer beating Bernier on the glove side.
Defenseman Patrick Mullen put the Monarchs on the board at 12:25 of the middle frame with a power play tally. With center Juraj Mikus screening goaltender Alex Stalock, Mullen ripped a snap shot from the left point that snuck into the net. Left wing Bud Holloway and right wing David Meckler assisted on Mullen’s third goal of the season.
Zalewski picked up his second goal of the game and 12th tally of the season at 18:05 of the second period. Defenseman Derek Joslin found Zalewski in the right face-off circle for a snap shot that squeaked into the goal just inside the left post. Ferriero picked up an assist on the Sharks fourth goal of the game.
Mikus cut the Sharks lead in half with his third goal of the season at 2:13 of the third period. Skating on the power play, defenseman Viatcheslav Voynov tossed the puck on net from the right point. Stalock made the save but the rebound bounced free to Mikus for the tip in. Holloway picked up his second assist of the night on the goal that brought the game to 4-2.
Left wing Dennis McCauley finished off the Monarchs with an empty net goal at 18:59 of the final frame. Defenseman Michael Wilson and left wing Kevin Henderson assisted on the empty net goal.
Bernier (16-9-2) took his ninth loss of the season stopping 35-of-39 shots. Stalock (17-8-1) earned his 17th win of the season with 15 saves.
Manchester was 2-for-4 on the power play. Worcester was 1-for-2 with the man advantage.
Notables: The Monarchs loss dropped him to second place in the AHL behind the Hershey Bears (24-8-0-2) who have 50 points…Goaltender Jonathan Bernier’s last two losses came to the Sharks, Tuesday’s 5-3 loss and a 3-1 loss on December 18…Bernier was named the starting goaltender for the Canadian team at the 2010 Time Warner Cable AHL All-Star Classic…Defenseman Patrick Mullen and center Juraj Mikus both scored their third goal of the season…Left wing Bud Holloway has a goal and two assists in his last two games.