MANCHESTER, NH – Right wing Brad Smyth scored two power play goals to lift the Manchester Monarchs over the Albany River Rats, 4-3, in front of Manchester's second sellout crowd of the season, 9,916 fans at the Verizon Wireless Arena on Saturday night.
Manchester (21-8-1-3, 46 points) is in second place in the Atlantic Division. Albany (10-23-0-2, 22 points) is in last place in the Atlantic Division.
It did not take long for the Monarchs to attack as center Greg Hogeboom scored his first of the season one-minute, eight-seconds into the game. Defenseman Mark Ardelan fed the puck to center Yanick Lehoux at the Monarchs blue-line. Hogeboom snuck behind the Albany defense and collected a pass from Lehoux. Recently named to the 2006 ECHL All-Star Game, Hogeboom skated in on River Rats goaltender Frank Doyle and released a shot at the hash marks that zipped into the back of the net to give the Monarchs a 1-0 lead.
Lehoux made the score 2-0 with his fifth of the season at 9:29 of the first period. On the power play, defenseman Marty Wilford and left wing Jeff Tambellini shuffled the puck at the points before setting up Lehoux for a slap shot from the top of the left face-off circle to double the Monarchs lead.
Albany answered back with two goals of their own from defenseman Bryan Miller and right wing Aaron Voros.
Monarchs goaltender Barry Brust was faced with a scramble of players in front of him when Miller chipped in his second of the season, unassisted at 10:20 of the first period.
Albany defenseman Krisjanis Redlihs controlled the puck on the power play at the left face-off circle. Looking for the perfect pass-shoot combination, Redlihs sent a cross-ice feed to Voros who sent a one-timer past Brust at 13:12 of the first period to tie the game at 2-2. Right wing David Clarkson also assisted on Albany's power play goal.
The Monarchs regained the lead with their second power play goal of the game at 15:32 of the first period. Left wing Noah Clarke controlled the puck behind Albany's net, came around on the near side and sent the puck to Smyth who was waiting at the edge of the left wing face-off circle for the one-timer and his 13th of the season. Defenseman Eric Werner also assisted on Smyth's goal to give the Monarchs the 3-2 lead.
Smyth connected on the power play for the second time tonight at 13:44 of the middle frame. Clarke sent the puck from the near boards to Werner at the point who sent a slap shot slightly to the left of the net. Werner's shot was set up perfectly for Smyth to tip it in just inside the near post for his 14th goal of the season.
Albany fought back to within one goal with Miller's second goal of the night, third of the season at 1:51 of the third period. Left wing Jason Ryznar won the face-off deep in the Monarchs zone to Miller positioned at the high arc of the right face-off circle. Miller sent a shot into the top right corner of the net to make it a 4-3 game.
Brust (6-1-1) earned his second victory in as many nights stopping 24 shots. Doyle (8-14-2) took the loss with 12 saves.
Manchester went 3-for-6 on the power play. Albany was 1-for-5 with the man advantage.