Manchester (13-7-1-1) recorded their 13th win of the season and moved into first place in the Atlantic Division with 28 points. The Devils (8-11-0-0) took their 11th loss of the season and remain in a tie for sixth place in the East Division with 16 points.
“Some nights the puck finds its way into the net and tonight was one of those nights,” explained Monarchs Head Coach Mark Morris. “We can certainly play with more structure and discipline in our game – [we need to] play sound defensively and play smart.”
Center Marc-Andre Cliche recorded the game-winning goal at 17:50 of the first period. Following an offensive zone face-off win by center Andrei Loktionov, the puck was sent back to defenseman Jake Muzzin. A powerful wrist shot was redirected by Cliche’s angled stick, beating the Albany goaltender to give the Monarchs a 3-0 advantage, a lead they would hold exiting the first period play.
Schenn scored his first professional goal at 5:39 of the first period to put the Monarchs on the board first. Following a neutral zone takeaway, center Corey Elkins and left wing David Meckler broke into the zone on a two-on-one breakaway. Elkins maintained puck possession and fired a slap shot on goal that was stopped by Albany goaltender Dave Caruso. In the scrum in front of the net, Meckler tried to force the puck home himself to no avail. Schenn, streaking in from the slot, forced the puck home for his first professional goal.
Meckler recorded his team-leading eighth goal, a power play marker, at 9:14 in the opening period to give the Monarchs a 2-0 lead. Center Oscar Moller, entrenched in the offensive zone following an Albany penalty, dished the puck to Meckler at the left point. Meckler dished the puck forward to Schenn who was positioned behind the goal. Sprinting toward the front, Meckler collected a Schenn feed at the mouth of the crease and pushed the puck past Caruso for his second point of the game.
Center David McIntyre scored his third goal of the season, a shorthanded goal, at 4:27 of the second period. In the midst of a penalty kill, the Devils sent the puck down into the Monarchs defensive zone. Hickey went back to gather the puck in the right wing corner, but lost an edge, allowing McIntyre to steal the puck and beat Monarchs goaltender Jeff Zatkoff five-hole to put the Devils on the board.
Defenseman Patrick Mullen recorded his first goal of the season at 8:26 of the second period. With the Devils and Monarchs in the midst of four-on-four play, Albany turned the puck over in their offensive zone. This created an odd-man rush for Manchester, initiated by Loktionov’s clearing of the zone. Moller skated up the right wing boards, flanked by Mullen. Skating past a cluster of defenders at the top of the slot, Moller threaded a pass through traffic to Mullen, positioned between the face-off circles. A powerful blast caught the Albany goaltender out of position, giving the Monarchs a 4-1 lead in the second period.
On the PSNH Power Play, Elkins scored the Monarchs fifth goal of the game at 19:04 in the middle frame. Muzzin began the scoring drive by passing the puck from the left point to Moller, stationed at the right point. After switching places, Moller fired a slap shot through heavy slot traffic. The puck deflected off of a body in the crease, falling toward the right post. A diving Elkins caught the puck on his stick, forcing the puck past Caruso to give the Monarchs a four goal lead exiting second period play.
Schenn scored his second goal of the game at 2:55 of the final stanza. Entrenched within the offensive zone, defenseman Viatcheslav Voynov collected the puck off of an Albany turnover. Voynov sent a diagonal pass from the right point toward the left post to Schenn. A nifty backhanded shot sent the puck over Caruso’s head to give the rookie his second professional goal.
Albany collected their second goal of the contest on the stick of center Adam Henrique at 12:20 of the third period. Center Matt Anderson sent a puck up the right wing boards to right wing Vladimir Zharkov, who was entering the zone. Maintaining his northward path parallel to the boards, Zharkov connected with Henrique across the slot, who beat the Monarchs goaltender for his fifth goal of the season.
Defenseman Colten Teubert recorded his first AHL point with his goal at 16:21 of the third period. Within the offensive zone, left wing Bud Holloway fed the puck across ice to Elkins. On the left side of the ice, Elkins connected with the rookie defenseman stationed at the right point. Teubert fired a slap shop from the right point that split traffic and found the top of the goal.
Zatkoff (8-6-1) earned his eighth win of the season, stopping 34-of-36 shots. Caruso (0-1-0) took his first losing decision of the season, halting 28-of-35 shots on net.
Manchester was 2-for-8 on the power play. Albany was 0-for-4 with the man advantage.
Notables: With the 7-2 victory, the Monarchs eclipsed their previous season high for goals in a game, which was six…The last time the Monarchs scored seven goals in a game was December 4, 2009 in a 7-1 win against Hartford…Center Marc-Andre Cliche has five points in his last five games (3-2=5)…Center Andrei Loktionov has recorded seven points in his last seven games (1-6=7) and has also recorded 11 points (2-9=11) since being assigned to Manchester on November 2…Center Brayden Schenn collected his first two professional goals and an assist for three points.
The Monarchs host the Portland Pirates on Saturday, November 27 in a 7:00 p.m. contest at the Verizon Wireless Arena. Catch all of the play-by-play action of Monarchs hockey with Ken Cail on the Monarchs Radio Network WGAM 900/1250 AM and at www.manchestermonarchs.com.