|gauthier scored for Manchester.
MANCHESTER, NH – The Manchester Monarchs fought hard but fell short to the Norfolk Admirals with a final score of 5-3 at the Verizon Wireless Arena on Saturday night. The Monarchs Care Foundation teamed up with the City of Manchester Health Department to administer H1N1 flu vaccines to 236 fans during the Monarchs game.
Manchester (26-14-2-4) is tied with the Lowell Devils (27-16-3-1) for first place in the Atlantic Division with 58 points. Norfolk (19-23-2-0) is tied for fifth place in the East Division with 40 points.
“We worked our tails off in the end,” said Monarchs Head Coach Mark Morris. “It’s hard to believe we didn’t get one power play. (Norfolk) skated hard and played physical. Their experience is glaring and our guys didn’t give up. A turnover with three minutes left in the game negated a tough fought third period.”
With only 3:01 remaining in the third period, the Admirals earned the game-winning goal and their fourth tally of the night. Defenseman Lukas Krajicek’s shot was stopped by Monarchs Jeff Zatkoff and the rebound came out to left wing Radek Smolenak. The winger sent a pass over to right wing Adam Hall at the top of the crease. Hall slipped the puck by Zatkoff to earn his ninth goal of the season and put the score at 4-3.
At 3:42 of the first period, Monarchs center Gabe Gauthier put up his seventh goal of the season to put Manchester on the board. Monarchs center Tom Cavanagh slid the puck to left winger Bud Holloway at the right side of the slot. Holloway sent a short pass to Gauthier on the left doorstep who blasted the puck past Norfolk’s netminder Jaroslav Janus.
Norfolk’s Smolenak tied up the game at 19:08 of the first stanza when he tallied his sixth goal of the season. Left wing Ryan Craig passed the rubber biscuit behind the Monarchs net to Smolenak in the left corner. Smolenak battled for control of the puck from the Monarchs defenseman before he cut to the net and jammed it past Zatkoff. Defenseman Vladimir Mihalik picked up his eighth assist of the season on the play.
The Admirals scored their second goal of the night in the middle period at 3:32. Right wing Mark Parrish passed the puck to defenseman Ty Wishart at the blueline. Wishart sent a pass to the top of the right circle in the Monarchs zone to center Mitch Fadden who fired the puck past the Monarchs netminder on the power play. Fadden’s first goal of the season put the Admirals up 2-1.
At the 6:05 mark of the second period, Norfolk extended their lead to 3-1. At the top of the left face-off circle, Fadden passed the puck back to defenseman Kevin Quick at the blueline. Quick fired off a shot that was denied by Zatkoff. Right wing Matt Fornataro picked up the rebound in the slot and immediately put it into the back of the net. Fornataro earned his second goal of the season to give the Admirals a two-goal advantage.
With 2:35 left in the second period, Monarchs cut the Admirals lead in half. Left winger Richard Clune was behind the Norfolk cage on the left doorstep when he blasted a pass to right wing Geoff Walker in the slot. Walker earned his third goal of the season when he whipped the puck past Janus. Center Corey Elkins and Clune earned assists on Walker’s tally.
Halfway through the third period, right wing Kevin Westgarth tied the score at 3-3 at 10:13. On the outside corner of the left face-off circle, defenseman David Kolomatis slid the puck to left wing Dwight King who was on the inside corner of the circle. King passed the biscuit to Westgarth in the slot for his eighth goal of the season.
Smolenak finished off the Monarchs with an empty net goal at 19:18 of the third period.
Zatkoff (8-5-0) took his fifth loss of the season, stopping 44-of-48 shots. Janus (2-5-0) earned his second win of the season with 17 saves on 20 shots.
Manchester did not have a power play opportunity in the game. Norfolk was 1-for-4 with the man advantage.
Notables: Manchester did not have a power play for the first time this season…Tonight’s loss is the Monarchs first loss after scoring the first goal of the game at home…Center Gabe Gauthier’s goal tonight passed center Michael Cammalleri for second on the Monarchs all-time points list with 169 points…Center Corey Elkins has five points (3-2=5) in his last four games.