Manchester (41-22-3-6, 91 points) is tied with the Portland Pirates (42-19-5-2, 91 points) for first place in the Atlantic Division with 91 points. Bridgeport (23-36-3-7, 56 points) is ranked seventh in the Atlantic Division with 56 points.
“It’s a shame to know we lost tonight,” said Monarchs Head Coach Mark Morris. “We put lots of pucks on (goaltender Nathan) Lawson and he was stellar. We only could get one past him on a power play.
“The compete-level seemed to be there but we didn’t finish off around the net. A couple of poor decisions late with a one-goal lead cost us the two points. We need a 60-minute focus. The lackadaisical play in the end spoiled a pretty good game. It’s tough to swallow that one.”
DiBenedetto recorded his 16th goal of the season at 1:37 of overtime to give the Sound Tigers the victory. Defenseman Mark Katic fed the puck to DiBenedetto in front of the Monarchs net where he skated through the slot all alone. DiBenedetto collected the pass from behind, kicked the puck onto his stick and backhanded the puck behind his back to beat Monarchs goaltender Martin Jones
. Center David Ullstrom earned an assist on the game-winning goal.
The Monarchs broke the scoreless tie at 18:41 of the second period with a power play goal. Right wing Oscar Moller fed the puck to the center point where center Justin Azevedo
one-timed the pass on net. Sound Tigers netminder Nathan Lawson made the pad save and the puck fell to his right. Left wing Bud Holloway
chipped the rebound over Lawson and into the open net for his team-leading 25 goal of the season to give the Monarchs a 1-0 advantage.
The Sound Tigers tied the game at 16:25 of the third period with center Tony Romano’s seventh goal of the season. Romano collected the puck behind the Monarchs cage and drove to the left post. With numerous players crashing the net, Romano stuffed the puck under Jones to tie the game at 1-1. Defenseman Dylan Reese and right wing Rhett Rakhshani assisted on Romano’s tally.
Jones (22-11-1) took his 11th loss of the season, stopping 25-of-27 shots on goal. Lawson (4-4-4) earned his fourth win of the season with 38 saves on 39 shots.
Manchester went 1-for-6 on the power play. Bridgeport was 0-for-2 with the man advantage.Notables:
Manchester took their first overtime loss since February 18 when they dropped a 5-4 decision to Springfield…The Monarchs finish the head-to-head season match-up with the Sound Tigers with a 9-1-2-0 record…Three of the games against Bridgeport this season was pushed into overtime with the Monarchs winning one of the games and the Sound Tigers taking the other two…Left wing Bud Holloway
’s 25th goal of the season tonight leads the Monarchs.