|Oscar Moller tallied two power play goals in the Monarchs loss.
LOWELL, MA – With five goals scored on the power play, special teams played a factor in the Manchester Monarchs 5-3 loss to the Lowell Devils on Saturday afternoon at the Tsongas Arena.
Manchester (12-5-1-2) and Lowell (12-6-3-0) are tied for the lead in the Atlantic Division with 27 points each.
Just 1:04 into the third period, center Ben Walter scored his seventh goal of the season to put the Devils up 4-3 as Monarchs center Andrei Loktionov sat in the penalty box for hooking. Center Michael Swift shot the puck from the right face-off circle that Monarchs goaltender Jeff Zatkoff bobbled at the top right corner of the crease. The puck fell to the ice and right wing Nathan Perkovich was able to nudge it over to Walter for the go-ahead goal.
The game started off quickly with three goals in a time span of one minute and 53 seconds. The Monarchs struck first with Loktionov’s sixth goal of the season at 4:12 of the first period. Left wing Bud Holloway fed the puck to center Oscar Moller who carried it around the Devils cage from right to left. Along the left wing endboards, Moller found Loktionov in the left face-off circle for a one-timer. Loktionov’s shot trickled past Devils goaltender Jeff Frazee as he hugged the right post.
The Devils rebounded quickly to tie the game at 1-1 at 4:42 of the opening frame with right wing Stephen Gionta’s seventh tally of the season. Defenseman Olivier Magnan shot the puck from the point into traffic in front of the net. With three Devils on the doorstep and the puck bouncing around, Gionta was able to tap in the rebound to even the game at 1-1. Left wing Alexander Vasyunov was also able to get his stick on the puck in front of the net to pick up an assist.
At 6:08 of the first period, Lowell took the lead with a power play tally from Swift. With Monarchs center Juraj Mikus in the penalty box, the Devils set up in Manchester’s zone. Defenseman Matt Taormina collected the puck at the center point and fired a slap shot toward Zatkoff. The puck deflected off of Perkovich who was in the slot and slid to Swift near the right post for the center’s fifth goal of the season.
The second period belonged to Moller who scored his seventh and eighth goals of the season to put Manchester up 3-2. Moller’s first power play goal of the game came at 12:08 of the middle stanza as he picked up the rebound from defenseman Alec Martinez’s shot from the left point. Center Gabe Gauthier was between the hash marks to chip at the puck following the shot from Martinez but Moller got the last word as he beat Frazee to tie the game at 2-2.
Moller’s second power play goal of the game came at 14:57 of the second period to give the Monarchs a 3-2 advantage. Defenseman Viatcheslav Voynov threw the puck on net and Frazee made the save. With the goaltender down on the ice, Loktionov took a swipe at the puck but the rebound came out to the right face-off circle where Moller was stationed. The center snapped a wrist shot into the top of the net for his eighth goal of the season.
The Devils scored on a fluke goal to send both teams to their respective locker rooms with a 3-3 tie following two periods. At 19:52 of the middle frame, Taormina fired a slap shot from the right point that deflected up and over Zatkoff. The puck bounced off the endboards to right wing Vladimir Zharkov on the right doorstep. Zharkov flipped the puck into the open net as Zatkoff tried to move from his right to left. Devils right wing Patrick Davis assisted on the tying goal.
Perkovich finished off the Monarchs with a wrap around goal at 16:08 of the third period to bring the final score to 5-3 in favor of the Devils. Zharkov assisted on the insurance goal.
Zatkoff (4-2-0) took his second loss of the season with 27 saves. Frazee (4-4-0) earned his fourth win of the season stopping 17 shots.
Manchester went 2-for-5 on the power play. Lowell was 3-for-8 with the man advantage.
Notables: Manchester gave up three power play goals to Lowell today, the most in one game this season…Center Oscar Moller recorded his first multi-goal game of the season with two tallies and one assist for three points…Moller moves into the goal scoring lead on the Monarchs roster with eight goals…Goaltender Jeff Zatkoff took his first loss since he dropped a 2-0 decision to the Norfolk Admirals on October 10…Left wing Bud Holloway is on a three-game point streak (1-2=3).