HARTFORD, CT – Hartford Wolf Pack’s netminder Chad Johnson picked up his second shutout of the season by blanking the Manchester Monarchs, 2-0, at the XL Center on Friday night.
Manchester (10-4-1-1) remains in first place in the Atlantic Division with 22 points. Hartford (9-7-0-0) moves into third place in the Atlantic Division with 18 points.
“We played our tails off,” said Monarchs Head Coach Mark Morris. “Our effort was as good as we’ve had all season. We had an unfortunate bounce and it put a damper on the outcome. Our effort was to get the goal back but we couldn’t seem to solve Johnson. It was a game that could have gone either way and we came up on the short end. We keep playing like that and we’re going to win a lot of hockey games. We need to find a way to score some goals.”
The Monarchs and Wolf Pack skated through 56 minutes and 46 seconds before right wing Derek Couture was able to put the puck past Monarchs goaltender Jonathan Bernier. Left wing Justin Soryal sent the initial shot on Bernier and then crashed the net for the rebound. With several Wolf Pack players in the crease, Couture was able to get his stick on the puck and push it over the goal line. Center Ryan Garlock picked up an assist on Couture’s first goal of the season at 16:54 of the third period.
Just 38 seconds later, left wing Dane Byers picked up his third tally of the season to give Hartford a 2-0 lead. Monarchs center Marc-Andre Cliche fanned on a shot in the Wolf Pack’s zone and Hartford’s Jordan Owens took advantage. Owens stole the loose puck and broke into the Monarchs zone with Byers. Choosing to pass rather than shoot, Owens sent the puck over to Byers for the shot from the left wing circle that beat Bernier at 17:32 of the final frame.
Bernier (7-4-1) took his fourth loss of the season with 23 saves on 25 shots. Johnson (7-4-0) earned his seventh win and his second shutout of the season stopping all 26 shots.
Manchester went 0-for-2 on the power play. Hartford went 0-for-3 with the man advantage.
Notables: The Monarchs are winless (0-2-1-1) in their last four road games…Tonight’s game is the second time this season that the Monarchs have been held off the scoreboard; Manchester was shutout in Norfolk, 2-0, on October 10…In nine seasons, the Monarchs have been shutout 31times…Centers Andrei Loktionov (0-2=2), Juraj Mikus (0-2=2) and Oscar Moller (1-1=2) ended their two-game point streak tonight…The Monarchs outshot their opponent for the third time this season…Manchester has a record of 1-1-1-0 when they outshoot their opponent.