MANCHESTER, NH – Center Tim Sestito picked up two goals and an assist for the Lowell Devils which handed the Manchester Monarchs a 5-2 loss at the Verizon Wireless Arena on Friday night.
Manchester (25-12-1-4) remains in first place in the Atlantic Division with 55 points. Lowell (25-16-3-0) is ranked second in the Atlantic Division with 53 points.
At 6:46 of the second period, Lowell defenseman Rob Davison scored his fourth goal of the season extending the Devils lead to 3-0. Sestito won the face-off in the Monarchs zone back to the left point to Davison. The defenseman took a blazing slap shot over the glove of the Monarchs goaltender making it a three goal lead.
Sestito scored his 11th goal of the season at the 18:47 mark of the first period. Left wing Brad Snetsinger fought for the puck down low in the Monarchs zone behind goaltender Jonathan Bernier. The Devils winger came out with the puck to the right of Bernier and sent it out front to Sestito who slid it along the ice by a sprawled out goaltender and into the back of the net putting the Devils up 1-0.
With 5:32 gone in the second frame, Devils right wing Nick Palmieri netted his 15th goal of the season putting the visiting team up 2-0. With the Devils on the powerplay, defenseman Matt Cohen took a shot that went wide of the Monarchs net. Taking the puck and one-timing it off the back boards, Palmieri beat Bernier putting the Devils up 2-0.
At the 3:22 mark of the final frame, Sestito netted his second goal of the night and 12th of the season making it 4-0 in favor of the Devils. Center Michael Swift controlled the puck down low behind the Monarchs net. Swift quickly sent the puck out to a waiting Sestito sitting in the slot who one-timed the puck which beat Bernier five-hole. Right wing Patrick Davis also collected an assist on the play.
The Monarchs would get on the board for their first tally of the night when center Tom Cavanagh netted his second goal of the season in as many games at the 12:58 mark of the third period. After the Devils got two minor penalties putting the Monarchs on a 5-on-3 advantage, defenseman Viatcheslav Voynov freed the puck from the right point which was stopped by the Devils goaltender Jeff Frazee. The puck kicked out to his right to Cavanagh sitting at the doorstep who jammed it home and cut the deficit to three goals. Center Gabe Gauthier also collected an assist on the powerplay goal.
Two minutes and 19 seconds after Cavanagh’s goal, left wing Bud Holloway would put home his team tying 11th goal of the season cutting the Devils lead to only two. Right wing Geoff Walker sent the puck down low into the left corner of the opposing zone. Holloway was there to fire a puck at the net which beat the surprised Frazee short side and into the back of the net. Defenseman Joe Piskula also received an assist on the goal.
The Lowell Devils would add an empty net goal off the stick of center Ben Walter to extend their lead to 5-2.
Bernier (17-10-4) took his 10th loss of the season with 21 saves on 25 shots. Frazee (10-9-0) earned his 10th win of the season stopping 38-of-40 shots. Manchester went 1-for-6 on the power play. Lowell was 1-of-2 with the man advantage. Notables: Manchester’s undefeated streak in regulation (2-0-0-2) came to an end at four-games with their loss to the Devils…Center Tom Cavanagh (2-0=2)scored his second goal of the season in only his second game with the Monarchs…Left wing Bud Holloway (11-12=23) scored his 11th goal of the season to move into a tie for first place on the Monarchs in goal scoring with center Corey Elkins (11-15=26)…With the loss, the Monarchs are now (1-3-0) at home against the Devils this season…Center Gabe Gauthier’s (5-19=24) assist on Holloway’s goal ties him for first all-time on the Monarchs assist leader board with 114 assists with center Steve Kelly and right wing Noah Clarke…Tonight’s loss was the Monarchs first loss on a Friday at the Verizon Wireless Arena this season.