WORCESTER, MA – The Manchester Monarchs could only muster a shorthanded goal as they fell to the Worcester Sharks, 3-1, at the DCU Center on Friday night.
Manchester (20-9-1-2) remains in first place in the AHL with 43 points. Worcester (16-11-0-2) is tied for fifth in the Atlantic Division with 34 points.
“We had our opportunities,” said Monarchs Head Coach Mark Morris. “Tonight, it was apparent for the first time that we were a little disjointed. The energy was there but our execution was not where it needed to be to pull off a win.”
Center Ryan Vesce’s game-winning goal came at 4:52 of the second period as bodies crashed the net. On the power play, center Benn Ferriero battled for the puck in the right corner of the Monarchs zone when the rubber biscuit popped out to center Logan Couture near the right post. Couture slid a pass through bodies to Vesce in the crease for the finishing touch that put the puck in the net and the Sharks up 2-1.
The Monarchs struck first with left wing Bud Holloway
’s team-leading ninth goal of the season at 6:41 of the opening period. Skating shorthanded while right wing Kevin Westgarth
sat in the penalty box for hooking, the Monarchs started off on the defense. The Sharks collected the puck in their zone and began the breakout but a Worcester player sent a pass behind his teammate and Holloway was able to pick up the loose puck. Holloway skated in on goaltender Alex Stalock and deked slightly to his left before he flipped the puck into the net over the netminder’s left pad.
Left wing John McCarthy evened the game at 1-1 with his third tally of the season at 12:16 of the first period. McCarthy picked Monarchs left wing Dwight King
’s pocket at center ice and cut toward Manchester’s net. Protecting the puck with his body, the winger skated around a Monarchs defender and moved it from his forehand to backhand before chipping it over goaltender Jonathan Bernier
’s left pad. Defenseman Joe Callahan picked up an assist on the tying goal.
Adding a little insurance, center Steven Zalewski pocketed his ninth goal of the season at 12:05 of the final frame. Vesce’s feed along the left wing boards bounced off of Monarchs defenseman Viatcheslav Voynov’s foot and headed toward the end boards. Zalewski picked up the loose puck and snapped a wrist shot into the top of the net behind Bernier to give the Sharks a 3-1 advantage. Couture picked up his second assist of the night on the goal.
Bernier (14-8-2) took the loss with 34 saves on 37 shots. Stalock (14-7-1) earned his 14th win of the season stopping 24-of-25 shots.
Manchester was 0-for-4 on the power play. Worcester went 1-for-3 with the man advantage.
Notables: This is the first time this season that the Monarchs have lost in regulation to the Worcester Sharks…Left wing Bud Holloway
scored his second shorthanded goal of his AHL career; the first was the game-winning goal in the Monarchs 3-1 win over the Springfield Falcons on December 26, 2008...Holloway leads the Monarchs with nine goals this season.