MANCHESTER, NH – The Rochester Americans scored three goals in the final frame to beat the Manchester Monarchs, 5-3, in front of 5,605 fans at the Verizon Wireless Arena on Friday night.
Manchester (17-19-0-5, 39 points) is in sixth place in the Atlantic Division. Rochester (14-24-0-3, 31 points) is in seventh place in the North Division.
"We had a couple of tough breaks," said Head Coach Mark Morris. "I'm just really disappointed with this group."
Putting the Americans ahead for good was center Shawn Matthias at 13:28 in the third. Right wing Michael Duco streaked down the left side of the zone before sending the puck to the slot. Matthias was able to chip the puck past Monarchs netminder Jonathan Bernier for his sixth tally of the season. Defenseman Keaton Ellerby picked up his 11th assist on the go-ahead goal.
The Monarchs started the scoring for both teams early in the first stanza. At 3:49 of the opening frame, left wing Matt Moulson notched his sixth goal of the season with a power play goal. Center Trevor Lewis sent a pass from the left circle to the end line where center Justin Azevedo anxiously waited. After receiving the puck, Azevedo quickly sent a pass to Moulson who snapped the puck by Rochester's netminder Mike Brodeur.
Answering with their own tally at 7:05 in the first, the Americans put one past Bernier on a small breakout. Center Janis Sprukts benefited from the break when center Drew Larman found him along the left wing boards. Sprukts was able to slap a fast one by Bernier's glove for his ninth goal of the year. Defenseman Jason Garrison added the second assist to tie the game at one apiece.
Center David Meckler put the Monarchs back on top at 9:50 of the first frame with the Monarchs second power play goal of the contest. With Americans' defenseman Jordan Henry in the box for slashing, the Monarchs went to work low in the zone. Meckler corralled a rebound in front of the net and immediately sent it to center Brad Richardson low in the left circle. The center zipped the disc to left wing Scott Parse located above the left circle. The winger slapped a shot that Meckler was able to deflect past Brodeur for his ninth tally of the campaign.
Rochester was able to bring the game to within one goal in the second period. At 17:14 of the middle stanza, Sprukts found himself all alone skating in the Manchester zone. Sprukts started to his left and deked right, beating Bernier to his glove side for his second of three goals on the evening. Right wing Michal Repik and Garrison earned the assists on the lamp lighter.
On a conditioning stint from the Monarchs parent club in Los Angeles, Richardson put his mark on Manchester early into the second period. Right wing Bud Holloway picked up the puck near the left circle and skated around the net. Holloway dished the puck to Richardson who was parked on the right doorstep. Richardson poked the puck past Brodeur for his first goal of the year.
Spurkts led the Americans all the way back to tie the game at 3-3 with his third goal of the night and 11th tally of the sesaon. At 12:42 in the third frame, a small scrum was under way in the left corner of the Monarchs zone when Spurkts broke free. The center skated to the right of Bernier and threw the puck in front of the net. Monarchs leading scorer, Lewis, was standing above the crease defending the net when the biscuit flipped off his leg and past Bernier. Assisting on the play was center David Brine and Garrison with his second assist on the night.
Left wing Kenndal McArdle added the final dagger with an empty net goal at 18:45 in the third period. Garrison picked up his third assist on the night along with Spurkts.
"We had the firepower to win this one. As soon as the breaks started to go their way, we closed our tents. It's unacceptable," said Morris.
Bernier (10-12-2) took his 12th loss of the season after stopping 14-of-18 shots. Brodeur (11-4-1) earned his 11th win of the season turning away 33 shots.
Manchester went 2-for-6 on the power play. Rochester went 1-for-4 with the man advantage.