SCRANTON, PA – The Manchester Monarchs had two goals tipped into the net by the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins in the 4-1 loss in front of 6,255 fans at the Wachovia Arena at Casey Plaza on Wednesday night.
Manchester (18-20-0-5, 41 points) is in sixth place in the Atlantic Division. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (25-15-1-2, 55 points) is ranked third in the East Division.
"We got beat to a lot of pucks tonight and I didn't feel as though our compete-level was very high," said Head Coach Mark Morris. "We were out-hustled to the first two goals and poor decisions led to an insurmountable comeback."
Right wing Bill Thomas doubled the Penguins lead at 15:59 of the second period by duplicating center Mark Letestu's goal earlier in the game. Former Monarchs center Connor James sprung left wing Luca Caputi in neutral territory who then skated down the left wing of the Monarchs zone. Caputi sent the puck toward the net and Thomas tipped in the pass on the right doorstep for his sixth goal of the season and a 2-0 lead.
The Penguins took the first plunge of the night with Letestu's 11th goal of the season at 3:35 of the opening period. James fed the puck up the ice from the neutral zone to defenseman Ben Lovejoy who turned on the wheels and started down the right wing. Along the boards in the right circle, Lovejoy threw the puck across the ice to Letestu for the quick tip-in on the left doorstep, beating goaltender Daniel Taylor.
The Monarchs put a tally on the scoreboard with left wing Matt Moulson's seventh goal of the season at 19:04 of the middle frame. On the power play, center Justin Azevedo collected the puck behind the Penguins' cage and chipped it over to right wing Teddy Purcell at the bottom, inside corner of the left circle. Purcell found Moulson for the one-timer at point blank range on the right side of goaltender John Curry.
Thomas put in his second goal of the night and seventh tally of the season at 11:30 of the final period. On the power play, Lovejoy picked up a pass at the right point from Letestu. The defenseman fired a shot on target and Taylor made the save. Thomas was in the slot to pick up the rebound, side-stepped to the left and flipped it into the top left corner of the net for the 3-1 advantage.
James finished off his former team with an empty net tally at 19:39 of the third period.
"We were out of sync most of the night and our power play was ineffective," said Morris. "We struggled for team chemistry tonight."
Taylor (1-1-0) took his first loss of the season stopping 23-of-26 shots. Curry (13-7-0) earned his 13th win of the season with 29 saves.
Manchester went 1-for-3 on the power play. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton was 1-for-4 with the man advantage.