MANCHESTER, NH - The Manchester Monarchs scored first against an opponent for the first time this season and never looked back as they defeated the Worcester Sharks, 5-1, at the Verizon Wireless Arena on Saturday night.
Manchester (4-1-0-0) is tied for first place with the St. John’s IceCaps (4-3-0-0) in the Atlantic Division with eight points each. The Sharks (1-4-0-1) rank fifth in the division with three points.
“We started the game with some veteran guys that have been with us for a long time,” said Monarchs Head Coach Mark Morris. “They know about momentum and they are a very sure handed physical bunch. Although they don’t play as a normal line, we decided to start them to get the type of momentum going in the right direction that we were looking for.”
Right wing Brandon Kozun gave the Monarchs a 2-0 lead in the first period at 17:14. Kozun skated into the left wing face-off circle on a two-on-one breakaway with left wing Dwight King. Kozun sent a pass across for King on the right hash marks. King redirected the puck off the right goal post and then it deflected off the netminder’s pads before settling behind the net. King grabbed the rebound and passed it over to Kozun at the bottom of the left wing face-off circle. Kozun flipped a bad angle shot that hit the inside of Sharks netminder Harri Sateri’s left leg pad and went into the net for his first goal of the season. Center Andrei Loktionov also recorded an assist on the eventual game-winning goal.
Defenseman David Kolomatis put the Monarchs up 1-0 with a power play goal at the 6:10 mark of the first period. From the center point, defenseman Nick Deslauriers passed to Kolomatis just inside the right point. Kolomatis fired a slap shot that found the back of the net high on the stick side of Sateri. Kozun also tallied an assist on Kolomatis’ third goal of the season furthering his point streak to five games this season.
The Monarchs took a 3-0 lead just 16 second into the second period with a goal by left wing Marc-Andre Cliche. Left wing Richard Clune fed Cliche at the right wing face-off circle. Cliche then fired a slap shot that hit the cross bar and bounced in for his first goal of the season. Defenseman Andrew Bodnarchuk picked up an assist on the goal.
The Sharks replaced Sateri with goaltender Alex Stalock following Cliche’s goal.
Monarchs defenseman Slava Voynov increased the lead to 4-0 with a shorthanded goal at 2:19 of the middle period. King controlled the puck down the left wing gaining the Sharks zone on a three-on-one break. King passed the puck over to Voynov who was between the hash marks. The defenseman controlled the pass and wristed a shot past Stalock on his stick side for the goal. Voynov’s second of the season was also assisted by Clune.
Center Andy Andreoff capped off the Monarchs scoring with a goal at 10:05 of the second period. Deslauriers dumped the puck in to the left wing corner. Right wing Stefan Legein won the foot race to the puck and fed Andreoff behind the net. Andreoff carried the puck to the right wing corner before firing a pass intended for left wing Nikolay Prokhorkin. Andreoff’s hard pass was deflected on goal and got behind Stalock before the puck could reach Prokhorkin.
Right wing Sebastian Stalberg scored a goal that ended Monarchs goaltender Martin Jones’ shutout bid at 19:06 of the second period. Center James Sheppard fed Stalberg a pass which he collected and wristed on goal. Jones made the initial save but the puck deflected off a Monarchs defenseman’s leg and hopped over Jones for the goal. Defenseman Mike Banwell also collected an assist on Stalberg’s fourth goal of the season.
Jones (4-1-0) earned his fourth victory of the season stopping 20-of-21 shot attempts. Sateri (1-3-0) took his third loss of the season saving seven-of-10 shots on the night. Stalock made saves on 17-of-19 shots in relief of Sateri.
Manchester was 1-for on the power play. Worcester went 0-for-3 with the man advantage.
Notables: The Monarchs are second in the league with three shorthanded goals scored this season…Monarchs right wing Brandon Kozun increased his point streak to six points (1-5=6) in five games with a goal and an assist…Monarchs right wing Tyler Toffoli had his four-game point streak (2-2=4) snapped…Defenseman David Kolomatis’ three goals scored this season have all come on the power play...Monarchs left wing Dwight King played in his first game with the Monarchs this season after finishing last season with the Los Angeles Kings.
The Monarchs return to action for Canadian Heritage Night against the Binghamton Senators at the Verizon Wireless Arena at 4:00 p.m. on Sunday, October 28 Catch all of the play-by-play action of Monarchs hockey with Ken Cail on the Monarchs Radio Network at WGIR 610 AM, WTPL 107.7 FM ThePulse, and online at ManchesterMonarchs.com, presented by Manchester-Boston Regional Airport.