MANCHESTER, NH – Right wing Brad Smyth and center Yanick Lehoux each scored two goals to lift the Manchester Monarchs over the Providence Bruins 4-3 at the Verizon Wireless Arena in front of their third sellout crowd of the season, 9,916 fans on Sunday evening.
Manchester (24-11-1-4, 53 points) is in second place in the Atlantic Division. Providence (21-16-1-1, 44 points) is in fourth place in the Atlantic Division.
Putting pressure on early, the Monarchs scored at 5:37 of the first period as Smyth tipped in his team leading 19th goal of the season. Defenseman Mark Ardelan passed the puck to center Connor James positioned at the top of the left face-off circle. James sent a slap shot in on Bruins goaltender Jordan Sigalet . Smyth got a piece of James' shot as it slipped through the pads of Sigalet.
The Monarchs doubled their lead to 2-0 with a power play goal by Lehoux at 12:22 of the first period. Defenseman Brad Fast sent a shot in on Sigalet who made the initial save. Lehoux was positioned on the doorstep to flip the puck over Sigalet for his seventh goal of the season. Defenseman Marty Wilford also assisted on the play.
Bruins right wing Pat Leahy put Providence on the board with a power play goal at 19:40 of the first period. The Bruins sent the puck in on Monarchs goaltender Jason LaBarbera and several players hacked away at the puck. Leahy's final chop at the puck pushed it over the goal line for his first goal of the season. Center Ben Guite and left wing Zdenek Blatny assisted on the goal to bring the game to 2-1.
Lehoux connected for his second goal of the game, eighth of the season at 6:57 of the second period. Defenseman Reagan Rome sent the puck to right wing Petr Kanko in the neutral zone. Kanko fed the puck to Lehoux as they both headed into the Bruins zone. Lehoux wound up and sent a bomb of a slap shot from just inside the Bruins blue line that sailed over Sigalet's blocker and into the left side of the net.
Kanko teamed up with Smyth to bring the score to 4-1 at 13:09 of the middle frame. Kanko and Smyth crashed the net on a 2-on-1 breakaway. Skating down the left wing, Kanko slipped the puck past the Bruins defenseman and over to Smyth who one-timed the puck over Sigalet for his second of the game, 20th of the season. Rome earned his second assist of the night on the goal.
The Bruins battled back with two goals in a one-minute span at the end of the second period. Right wing Jason McDonald scored his fifth of the season at 17:57. Center Pascal Pelletier sent the puck behind the net to center Tyler Redenbach who fed it in front of the net to McDonald for the goal.
Guite scored his 13th of the season and brought the Bruins to within one goal to end the second period. Center Eric Healey gave the puck to Blatny at the right face-off circle. Blatny walked the puck right up to LaBarbera and tried to shove it in. The puck nudged free and Guite pounced on it for the goal at 18:57.
The Bruins changed goaltenders heading into the final stanza. They replaced Sigalet with Mike Brown for the final 20 minutes.
LaBarbera (1-1-1) earned his first AHL win of the season with 27 saves. Sigalet (6-4-1) took the loss stopping 17 shots through the first and second period while Mike Brown made five saves in one period of duty.
Manchester went 1-for-4 on the power play. Providence was 2-for-6 with the man advantage.