Manchester (28-22-0-2) is in second place in the Atlantic Division with 58 points. Connecticut (24-16-4-5) is in first place in the Northeast Division with 57 points.
“We have a couple guys with the Kings,” said Monarchs Head Coach Mark Morris. “One of our leaders and key members of our team wasn’t healthy to play. We had to jockey our lines and play some defensemen up front. It is hard to manufacture it when you haven’t had a chance to practice your game plan. We are in a tough spot right now, but we are trying to make the most of it. The kids played hard but too many mental mistakes cost us three quick goals in the second period.”
The Whale extended their lead to 2-0 only nine seconds after their first tally in the second period. At 12:10 of the middle frame, center Jonathan Audy-Marchessault picked up his 18th tally of the season and the eventual game-winner. Right wing Andre Deveaux started the breakout by finding center Casey Wellman along the right wing boards in the neutral zone. Wellman gained the Monarchs zone and skated through the middle before playing the puck over to Audy-Marchessault at the top of the left wing face-off circle. Audy-Marchessault fired a one-timer that beat Monarchs goaltender Martin Jones
The Whales opened the scoring in the game at the 12:01 mark of the second period. Defenseman Tim Erixon dumped the puck into the right wing corner of the Monarchs zone. Audy-Marchessault beat Monarchs left wing Ray Kaunisto
to the puck and carried it along the end wall toward the left corner. Audy-Marchessault found Wellman in the slot. Wellman wristed a shot high on the glove side of Jones for his 15th goal of the year.
The Whale pushed the lead to 3-0 at 13.32 of the second period with a power play tally. Whale right wing Mats Zuccarello won a puck battle along the right wing boards in the neutral zone and sent a pass to left wing Wojtek Wolski who was entering the Monarchs zone on the right wing. Wolski skated down the right wing and cut toward the net. As the left wing crossed through the crease, he passed the puck back to center Kris Newbury who tipped it in for his 18th of the season.
The Monarchs scored their only goal of the game at 1:35 of the third period, cutting the Whale lead to 3-1. Defenseman Thomas Hickey
found center Robbie Czarnik in the neutral zone with speed down the middle of the ice. Czarnik split the Whale defense and curled the puck back before firing a shot that beat goaltender Chad Johnson on his blocker side for his sixth goal of the season.
The Whale finished off the scoring at the 2:16 mark of the third period. Right wing Kelsey Tessier took the puck behind the net and passed to Erixon at the left point. Erixon fired a long range wrist shot that was redirected by right wing Andreas Thuresson on the ride side of the net. Thuresson was able to slip the puck past Jones on the redirect for his 10th goal of the season.
Jones (13-13-1) took his 13th loss of the season stopping 36-of-40 shots. Johnson (15-9-5) earned his 15th win of the season making 26 saves on 27 shots.
Manchester went 0-for-4 on the power play. Connecticut was 1-for-3 with the man advantage. Notables:
Center Robbie Czarnik has seven points (2-5=7) in his last five game…Left wing Richard Clune
leads the team with 143 penalty minutes…Center Marc-Andre Cliche
missed his first game of the season due to injury…The Whale scored two goals only nine seconds apart to mark the fastest two goals by an opponent this season.