SPRINGFIELD, MA – The Manchester Monarchs scored three first period power play goals and defeated the Springfield Falcons, 4-3, in a shootout at the MassMutual Center on Saturday night.
Manchester (9-6-1-1) leads the Atlantic Division with 20 points. Springfield (10-2-1-3) leads the Northeast Division with 24 points.
“The shootout win is a welcome sign,” said Monarchs Head Coach Mark Morris. “We did lots of good things. Our forecheck led to lots of excellent goal scoring opportunities. Our compete level was high. There were also a few shifts when we got away from our game plan. Good teams will burn you and Springfield made us pay. They weren’t going away easily. We found a way to get two points even though it was a struggle late. Our energy was excellent at the start so that gave us confidence early. We hope to build on this game when we face Portland tomorrow afternoon.”
Center Jordan Weal, right wing Tyler Toffoli and left wing Marc-Andre Cliche all scored for the Monarchs in the shootout. Monarchs netminder Peter Mannino denied right wing Cam Atkinson, left wing Matt Calvert and center Ryan Johansen. Center Nick Drazenovic was the lone scorer for the Falcons in the shootout. Falcons netminder Curtis McElhinney denied defenseman Thomas Hickey in the shootout.
The Falcons opened the scoring at 4:32 of the first period with a power play goal by Johansen. Right wing Wade MacLeod played the puck from the left wing half wall to left wing Jonathan Audy-Marchessault behind the Monarchs net. Audy-Marchessault found Johansen in front of the net with a pass on his backhand. Johansen fired a one-timer halfway up on the stick side of Mannino for his sixth goal of the season.
The Monarchs tied the game at 1-1 on the power play with a goal by left wing Tanner Pearson at 8:47 of the first period. Toffoli one-timed an initial shot from the slot producing a rebound between the hash marks. Center Linden Vey picked up the loose puck and fed Pearson inside the bottom of the left wing face-off circle scoring his fourth goal of the season with a wrist shot.
Manchester took a 2-1 lead on the power play at 9:31 of the opening frame with a goal by defenseman Nick Deslauriers. Right wing Brandon Kozun passed the puck from the top of the left wing face-off circle to Deslauriers at the center point. Deslauriers launched a slap shot that beat McElhinney high on the stick side. Right wing Jordan Nolan also tallied an assist on Deslauriers’ second goal of the season.
The Monarchs opened up a 3-1 first period lead on the power play at 16:14 with a goal by Toffoli. Defenseman Jake Muzzin sent a slap pass from the left point to Vey in the right wing face-off circle. Vey fired a hard pass to Toffoli in between the hash marks. Toffoli redirected the puck past McElhinney for his team-leading eighth goal of the season.
Springfield cut the Monarchs lead to 3-2 at 8:21 of the second period with a goal by center Jake Hansen. Left wing Dalton Smith gave chase to a dumped in puck behind the Monarchs net forcing a turnover by Manchester. Center Michael Chaput gained possession of the puck in the left wing corner before centering the puck to Hansen in the slot. Hansen one-timed the pass past the outstretched left pad of Mannino for his first goal of the season.
The Falcons tied the game at 3-3 with a goal by Atkinson at 13:12 of the third period. Drazenovic fed Atkinson in the left wing face-off circle. Atkinson fired a slap shot that beat Mannino for the goal. Atkinson’s eighth tally of the season was also assisted by defenseman David Savard.
Mannino (2-1-0) earned his second victory of the season stopping 21-of-24 shots in regulation and 3-of-4 shootout attempts. McElhinney (9-2-2) took his second shootout loss of the season making 33 saves on 36 shots in regulation and made one save on four shootout snipers.
Manchester went 3-for-6 on the power play. Springfield was 2-for-4 with the man advantage.
Notables: Monarchs center Linden Vey is on a three-game point streak (0-7=7) and has seven assists in his last three games…Defenseman Nick Deslauriers has scored goals in consecutive games for the first time in his professional career…Right wing Tyler Toffoli has four goals and five points in his last two games.
The Monarchs return home to the Verizon Wireless Arena for a VIP Cup match-up against Portland Pirates on Sunday, November 25 at 3:00 p.m. Catch all the play-by-play action of Monarchs hockey with Ken Cail on the Monarchs Radio Network at WTPL 107.7 FM The Pulse, WGIRAM.com and at www.manchestermonarchs.com, presented by Manchester-Boston Regional Airport.