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Monarchs Fall, 6-4

by Kim Mueller / Los Angeles Kings
Bud Holloway had a goal and two assists to lead the Monarchs attack.

BRIDGEPORT, CT – The Manchester Monarchs dropped their third consecutive game, a 6-4 defeat to the Bridgeport Sound Tigers at the Arena at Harbor Yard on Saturday night.

Manchester (29-17-2-5) remains in second place in the Atlantic Division with 65 points. Bridgeport (23-21-3-6) is in sixth place in the Atlantic Division with 55 points.

“We had a slow start as we found ourselves being down 3-1 early in the second period,” said Monarchs Head Coach Mark Morris. “We were able to end the second period up by a goal but the high sticking penalty at the three minute mark of the third period changed the momentum of the game. It was a disappointing loss; it should have been a two point night for us. We played well at times but found ourselves making some timely errors.”

Left wing Greg Mauldin picked up his third point of the night and his 17th goal of the season at 11:32 of the final period to give Bridgeport the eventual game winner. Defenseman Brendan Witt sent the puck behind the Monarchs cage to left wing Jesse Joensuu. Also collecting his third point of the game, Joensuu passed the puck to Mauldin in the bottom of the left face-off circle. Mauldin controlled the puck in the circle and snapped a shot into the net for the winner.

Two goals and two fights in the first minute of the game started off the fireworks. Former University of New Hampshire left wing Trevor Smith started the scoring with his 16th goal of the season only 33 seconds into the game. Joensuu tossed the puck into the slot and Smith quickly put it in the net behind Monarchs goaltender Jonathan Bernier. Mauldin also assisted on the first goal of the game.

Monarchs left wing Bud Holloway evened the game at 1-1 only 16 seconds later with his 15th tally of the season. Center Juraj Mikus fired a shot on net that goaltender Martin Biron made the save on. The rebound popped free in front and Holloway buried the rebound. Center Justin Azevedo assisted on the tying goal.

Monarchs left wing Dwight King dropped the gloves with center Michael Haley at the 54-second mark of the first period followed by a fisticuffs between left wing Richard Clune and right wing Pascal Morency only one second later.

Bridgeport put themselves back up on top at 11:05 of the first period when left wing Robin Figren tallied his second goal of the season. Forward Matt Martin found Figren just outside the left point for a one-timer through traffic that found the back of the net. Right wing Tomas Marcinko assisted on the go-ahead goal that sent both teams to the locker room for the first intermission with the Sound Tigers up by one goal.

Joensuu extended the Sound Tigers lead to 3-1 at 4:17 of the second period. Smith passed the puck to Joensuu who beat Bernier for his 11th goal of the season.

The Monarchs then went to work in the second period with three goals in a span of five minutes and 13 seconds. Defenseman David Kolomatis capitalized on the power play with his third tally of the season at 8:10 of the middle frame. Cycling the puck, Holloway found Azevedo along the left wing boards and the center fed the puck to Kolomatis in the high slot. Kolomatis took a stride toward the net before he snapped a shot past Biron as right wing Kevin Westgarth screened the goaltender.

Right wing John Zeiler followed Kolomatis’ lead with his sixth goal of the season at 12:12 of the second period. King slid the puck to Zeiler in the slot who flipped a quick backhand shot up and over Biron and into the top of the net. Westgarth assisted on the goal that brought the score to a 3-3 tie.

Azevedo finished off the Monarchs scoring flurry with his fourth goal of the season at 13:23 of the second period. Skating into the Sound Tigers zone on a 2-on-1 rush, Mikus opted to shoot and Biron made the pad save. The puck flipped up in the air and Azevedo tapped it in with the shaft of his stick. Holloway picked up an assist on the goal that gave the Monarchs their only lead of the game.

Bridgeport answered back with three goals of their own in the third period. On the power play, defenseman Mark Flood tied the game at 4-4 with his sixth goal of the season at 3:06 of the final frame. Center Greg Moore cycled the puck to Mauldin at the left point before sending it over to Flood at the top of the left face-off circle for the one-timer to tie the game.

Martin finished off the Monarchs with his ninth goal of the season at 13:34 of the third period. Right wing Sean Bentivoglio received a pass from center Tyler Haskins in the right face-off circle. Bentivoglio walked in and wristed a shot on Bernier. The goaltender made the save but Martin tapped in the rebound for the 6-4 final.

Bernier (21-13-5) took his 13th loss of the season with 29 saves on 35 shots. Biron (1-1-0) earned his first win of the season with 27 saves.

Manchester was 1-for-6 on the power play. Bridgeport was also 1-for-4 with the man advantage.

Notables: Manchester dropped three consecutive road games for the first time this season…The Monarchs current three-game losing streak is also their longest overall losing streak of the season…After shutting out his opponent in two straight games, goaltender Jonathan Bernier has let in eight goals on 66 shots in the last two games…Left wing Bud Holloway and center Justin Azevedo each collected a goal and two assists for three point games.
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