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Monarchs Rob Falcons

by Staff Writer / Los Angeles Kings
SPRINGFIELD, MA – Rookie right wing Rob Mignardi’s first professional goal stood tall as the game-winning tally as the Manchester Monarchs narrowly edged the Springfield Falcons, 3-2, at the MassMutual Center on Saturday night.

Manchester (15-10-0-2) ranks second in the Atlantic Division with 32 points.  Springfield (11-12-1-0) is in fifth place in the Northeast Division with 23 points.

“It was a good, solid road win,” said Monarch Head Coach Mark Morris.  “The guys stuck to the plan and executed when it mattered.  (Jeff) Zatkoff was great again.  Team wins like this one are very rewarding.”

Mignardi scored his first professional goal at 3:53 of the third period to give the Monarchs a 3-1 lead.  Right wing Linden Vey fed the puck over defenseman David Kolomatis at the right point.  Kolomatis quickly found Mignardi along the left wing half wall for a one-timer.  Mignardi’s shot deflected off of Falcons defenseman Theo Ruth, eluded goaltender Manny Legace and found its way to the back of the net.

The Monarchs started off the scoring with left wing Richard Clune’s fourth tally of the season at 14:47 of the opening frame.  Center Marc-Andre Cliche gained control of the puck in the Monarchs zone and began the break out.  In the neutral zone, Cliche found right wing David Meckler along the right wing boards.  Streaking down the wing, Meckler connected with Clune on the doorstep of the Falcons cage for the tip in and the 1-0 advantage.

With defenseman Thomas Hickey in the penalty box for interference, defenseman Patrick Mullen lit the lamp with his first shorthanded goal of his career to double the Monarchs lead to 2-0.  Left wing Dwight King grabbed the loose puck deep in the Monarchs zone and fired a pass into the neutral zone to Mullen.  Sprinting into the Falcons zone with a 2-on-1 break with left wing Ray Kaunisto on his left side, Mullen carried the puck to the right hash mark before wristing a shot into the top left corner of the net past Legace.  Mullen’s third goal of the season came at 2:51 of the middle stanza.

Right wing Cam Atkinson cut the Monarchs lead in half at 10:45 of the second period with his team-leading 11th goal of the season.  Monarchs defenseman Nick Deslauriers sat in the penalty box for tripping and the Falcons power play team went to work.  Defenseman David Savard cycled the puck to center Ryan Russell at the right point.  With right wing Tomas Kubalik parked out in front of Monarchs goaltender Jeff Zatkoff, Russell took two strides toward the cage before snapping a wrist shot five-hole on the netminder.  The puck trickled through Zatkoff’s pads and Atkinson was on the left corner of the crease to bang in the rebound.

Following Mignardi’s goal, the Falcons answered back with center Martin St. Pierre’s sixth tally of the season at 7:23 of the final frame.  Atkinson carried the puck across the Monarchs blueline at the center point.  Atkinson dropped the puck over to St. Pierre and the center blasted a shot from the high slot.  The puck beat Zatkoff and soared into the top right corner of the net to bring the game to 3-2.

Zatkoff (7-3-1) earned his seventh victory of the season stopping 33-of-35 shots.  Legace (4-7-0) took his seventh loss of the season making 20 saves on 23 shots.

Manchester went 0-for-3 on the power play.  Springfield was 1-for-3 with the man advantage.

Notables:  The Monarchs are currently undefeated in regulation in their last four games (3-0-0-1) and are 8-1-0-1 in their last 10 games…Manchester is 11-3-0-2 in one-goal games…The Monarchs are 2-2-0-0 against the Falcons this season…Right wing Rob Mignardi scored his first professional goal, the game-winning goal…Defenseman Patrick Mullen recorded his first professional shorthanded goal…Goaltender Jeff Zatkoff is ranked fourth in the AHL with a .930 save percentage.
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