MANCHESTER, NH – Center David Meckler
ignited the Manchester Monarchs with two goals and an assist in his team's 4-2 Easter win over the Springfield Falcons to move them into the fourth and final playoff position in the Atlantic Division in front of 5,359 fans at the Verizon Wireless Arena on Sunday evening.
Manchester (32-29-4-4) moved into fourth place in the Atlantic Division with 73 points. Springfield (31-30-5-5) dropped to fifth place in the Atlantic Division with 72 points.
Putting the third and deciding goal on the board, defenseman Jeff Likens ripped in his second goal of the season from the right face-off circle. Left wing Matt Moulson cycled the puck to right wing Teddy Purcell in the left circle who then sent the disc across the ice to Likens. The defenseman blasted a slap shot that beat netminder Jeff Deslauriers at 5:29 in the second period.
The Monarchs found the first goal of the day with less than a second left on the clock in the first frame. Springfield's left wing Grant Potulny was sitting in the penalty box for a high sticking major penalty when Meckler scored his 19th goal of the campaign. Left wing Lauri Tukonen skated behind the net after receiving a pass from center Brian Boyle. As Tukonen reached the right side of Deslauriers, he attempted to stuff the puck past the goal line, but the rebound squirted out to Meckler who was conveniently in the perfect position for the puck. Meckler made a nifty spin move and got the puck to trickle past Deslauriers and into the net.
Center Trevor Lewis earned his 11th lamp lighter of the year on the Monarchs second goal of the night. Meckler won the face-off in the left circle during a 5-on-3 power play and sent it directly to Lewis stationed just above the slot. The center sent a bullet into the stitches at 3:27 in the second frame for the 2-0 lead in front of the home town crowd.
Just over a minute later at 6:48 in the second frame, the Falcons clawed backed to within one with a tally of their own. Left wing Viacheslav Trukhno skated into the Monarchs zone but quickly had the puck knocked away from him. Regaining control, Trukhno kicked the puck to the control of his tape and drove a shot past Monarchs netminder Jonathan Quick. Defenseman Brad Farynuk and left wing Jacob Micflicker both earned assists on the Falcons first goal of the afternoon.
A penalty shot ensued at 14:51 of the middle period for Micflicker. The left wing picked up the biscuit in the neutral zone and zipped through the Monarchs zone with defensemen Patrik Hersley and P.J. Atherton on his heels. Hersley pulled down Micflicker with a tripping penalty that sent him to the center of the ice for a one-on-one with Quick. Micflicker took the puck and skated into the zone before making a move to his left that Quick made a sneaky poke-check on for the save.
The Falcons pulled Deslauriers to gain the extra attacker at the end of the third period. The Monarchs cleared the puck deep into the opposing zone. Meckler hustled after the disc and got to it before any Falcons player could reach it. He backhanded a bad angle shot from the end red line that bounced into the net for his second of the evening.
Without going away quietly, the Falcons managed another tally with only 35 seconds left in the contest. Right wing Stephen Werner took a shot from the right circle that Quick saved and ultimately gave a rebound to his right. With Quick still to his left, left wing Stephane Goulet got to the puck in the left circle and flipped it into the back of the net. Farynuk tallied the second assist on the goal.
Quick backed the Monarchs with 38 saves on 40 shots on net. Deslauriers suffered the loss stopping 34-of-38 shots on goal.
Manchester went 2-for-6 with an extra attacker. Springfield was 0-for-6 on the power play