WORCESTER, MA ? An all around team effort against the Worcester Sharks combined for a 5-3 victory for the Manchester Monarchs for their first win of the new year in front of 4,471 fans at the DCU Center on Friday night.
Manchester (15-15-4-1) is tied for fifth place in the Atlantic Division with Worcester (15-13-3-2). Both teams have 35 points.
Starting the third period with the man advantage, the No. 1 power play team in the league struck gold at the 40-second mark. Right wing Teddy Purcell carried the puck into the Sharks zone along the right boards and found center Brian Boyle as he crossed the blueline. With both the Monarchs and Sharks players crashing the net, Boyle's slap shot traveled through bodies and beat goaltender Thomas Greiss between the legs for his team leading 15th goal of the season and the game-winner.
Right wing Riley Armstrong tallied his seventh goal of the season as the Sharks started off the scoring at 8:51 of the opening frame. Picking up a pass from right wing Devin Setoguchi, Armstrong carried the puck behind the Monarchs net from left to right for the wrap around attempt. The puck slid through the crease, bounced off Manchester right wing John Zeiler's left skate and over the goal line just inside the left post. Forward Nate Raduns earned the second assist on the game's first goal.
The Monarchs evened the game at 1-1 at 14:48 of the first period with center Trevor Lewis' seventh goal of the season. Defenseman Patrik Hersley blasted a shot from the right point that Greiss made the save on. The puck was loose in the slot as center David Meckler swiped at it but it was Lewis streaking to the net that sent a one-timer into the net for the equalizer.
A mere 15 seconds after Lewis' goal, right wing Lauri Tukonen collected his third goal of the season to give the Monarchs their first lead of the game. Center Matt Ryan slid the puck through two Worcester players and along the top of the crease to a wide open Tukonen at the top left corner of the crease for a one-timer into the open net. Hersley earned his second assist of the night at 15:03 of the first period.
Left wing Matt Moulson scored the Monarchs third one-timer in a span of one minute and two seconds to increase Manchester's lead to 3-1 at 15:50 of the opening frame. Greiss stopped the puck to the right of the Sharks net and cleared it behind the pipes. The puck found the blade of Purcell's stick along the end wall and the rookie scorer found Moulson coming down the slot for the one-timer from down on one knee for the power play goal. Boyle assisted on Moulson's 10th tally of the season.
Raduns brought the Sharks to within one tally with his seventh goal of the season at 10:18 of the middle frame. With Worcester center Tom Cavanagh in the penalty box for tripping, Raduns broke away from the Monarchs defense, skated into Manchester's zone and sent a slap shot from the top of the right face-off circle and past netminder Erik Ersberg's blocker for the goal. Defenseman Dan Spang and center Tomas Plihal assisted on the first shorthanded goal against the Monarchs this season.
Raduns scored his eighth goal of the season to bring the Sharks back to within one goal at 1:26 of the third period. Defenseman Derek Joslin sent a shot on Ersberg from the right point. Ersberg made the initial save and the rebound save on Setoguchi but the puck popped free to the right of the crease for a backhander by Raduns.
Center Brady Murray collected the insurance tally to finish off the Sharks at 3:06 of the final stanza. Ryan stole the puck from members of the Sharks behind Worcester's net and found Murray streaking down the left side of the slot. Murray's one-timer passed Greiss gave the Monarchs the 5-3 finish. Lewis earned his second point of the game on Murray's third goal of the season.
Ersberg stopped 23-of-26 shots in the win. Greiss made 19 saves in the loss.
Manchester went 2-for-4 on the power play. Worcester was 0-for-5 with the man advantage.