Manchester (7-3-1-1) is ranked second in the Atlantic Division with 16 points. Hartford (3-7-2-1) is in fifth place in the Atlantic Division with nine points.
“Again we had a solid first (period) and a better third,” said Monarchs Head Coach Mark Morris. “We’re striving for consistency. With a full roster, everyone is jockeying for a position and playing time. This is a great time to keep playing at a high pace. We have four solid lines and a full contingent of solid AHL defenseman and two great goaltenders. That’s a healthy thing. Guys have to play well to stay in the line-up.”
The Monarchs advanced their lead to 3-1 at 13:23 of the third period. Defenseman Alec Martinez danced around the Hartford defense and fired a slap shot from the slot. Goaltender Chad Johnson shut down the shot but could not contain it as left wing Bud Holloway capitalized on the rebound opportunity and lifted the puck past the glove of the netminder for his second tally of the season.
Defenseman Jake Muzzin and center Andrei Loktionov, both returned from the Los Angeles Kings this week, collaborated to give the Monarchs an early lead in the first period. Center Corey Elkins battled for the puck along the right wing boards after Loktionov sent him a pass. Elkins managed to rescue the puck from Wolf Pack defenders and deliver it to Muzzin at the right point. The rookie defenseman fired his ammo past the right side of Johnson for his first goal of the season.
With 15 minutes played in the second period, the Wolf Pack gained possession of the puck and travelled into the Monarchs’ territory. Hartford center Tim Kennedy fed the puck through slot to left wing Brodie Dupont who redirected the feed past netminder Martin Jones for his first goal of the season and tied the game at 1-1.
At 17:56 of the middle frame, the Monarchs found themselves back in the right corner of Hartford’s zone. Loktionov retained possession and fed the puck up to defenseman David Kolomatis who was open at the right point. Kolomatis snapped a diagonal shot from the blueline that snuck over Johnson’s left shoulder for his first goal of the season.
The Wolf Pack continued to put up a fight until the very end as they came within one goal at 18:50 of the third stanza. Kennedy retained the puck in the trapezoid and snuck the puck up to right wing Mats Zuccarello who positioned himself to the right of Jones. Zuccarello then redirected Kennedy’s pass right past Jones for his third goal of the season.
Jones (2-0-0) earned his second win of the season with 25 saves on 27 shots. Johnson (2-8-1) took his eighth loss of the season stopping 37-of-40 shots on goal.
Manchester was 2-for-6 on the power play. Hartford was 1-for-4 with the man advantage.
Notables: The Monarchs surpass their former season high of shots with 40 tonight …The Monarchs have outshot their opponent in nine of their first 12 games this season…Defenseman Jake Muzzin scored tonight in his first game back from Los Angeles…Muzzin’s goal at 2:02 of the first period is the fastest goal from the beginning of the game this season…Defenseman Alec Martinez lengthens his point streak (3-1=4) to four games, a new season-high point streak…Defenseman David Kolomatis scored his first goal of the season.
The Monarchs will take on the Worcester Sharks for the first time this season at the DCU Center on Saturday, November 6 at 7:00 p.m. 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.