SAN ANTONIO, TX – Goaltender Jason LaBarbera stopped 5-of-6 shootout snipers and center Marty Murray scored in regulation and twice in the shootout to lift the Manchester Monarchs 5-4 over the San Antonio Rampage in a shootout in front of 3,591 fans at the AT&T Center on Sunday night.
Manchester (26-12-6-1) is leading the Atlantic Division with 59 points. San Antonio (17-24-1-2) is in seventh place in the West Division with 37 points.
Right wing Lauri Tukonen scored the only goal of the first period, unassisted at 8:57. San Antonio's defense attempted to hold the puck in the Monarchs zone at the blueline but Tukonen stole it away and went streaking into Rampage territory. Tukonen fought off the chasing defensemen and chipped a shot into the right side of the net, past goaltender David LeNeveu.
Left wing Noah Clarke scored a shorthanded goal at 3:22 of the second period to give the Monarchs a 2-0 lead. Defenseman T.J. Kemp sent a pass from deep in the Monarchs zone to center Patrick O'Sullivan who was waiting patiently at the Rampage blueline. O'Sullivan carried the puck into the zone and found Clarke at the right face-off circle. Clarke's one-timer was his 16th goal of the season.
Center Donald MacLean tied the game at 2-2 with his 14th and 15th goals of the season. His first tally of the game came at 5:29 of the middle frame with a one-timer from the slot. Defenseman Matthew Spiller fired a shot from the center point that missed the net wide to the left. Center Chris Ferraro grabbed the puck behind the net and sent it to MacLean for the shot that beat LaBarbera.
MacLean scored his second of the night at 9:26 of the second period on a 5-on-3 power play. Right wing Bill Thomas cycled the puck to center Yanick Lehoux at the left point. A former Monarchs player, Lehoux found MacLean open at the bottom of the right face-off circle. MacLean blasted a one-timer into the top of the net.
The Monarchs regained the lead at 1:25 of the third period when Murray scored his fourth goal of the season. Right wing Tim Jackman stole the puck away from a San Antonio defenseman and tossed a shot toward the net. LeNeveu made the saved and the rebound bounced to the right. Murray flipped the backhand over the sprawled goaltender.
San Antonio tied the game less than two minutes later with center Joel Perrault's fourth goal of the season. Former Monarchs left wing Ryan Flinn dropped to one knee in the right face-off circle and sent a pass from his backhand to Perrault on the left doorstep of LaBarbera. Perrault put the puck in the open net as LaBarbera shifted from his left to right. Right wing Randell Gelech earned an assist on the goal.
Center Matt Ryan scored the Monarchs second shorthanded tally of the game, unassisted at 7:15 of the final stanza. Ryan stole the puck at center ice and broke into the Rampage zone toward LeNeveu. Ryan skated directly to the net and flipped a backhand shot past LeNeveu's blocker for his fifth goal of the season.
MacLean completed his hat trick with his 16th goal of the season at 12:45 of the third period. Ferraro passed the puck from behind the net to MacLean in the slot. MacLean's initial shot was saved but his rebound trickled out in front of LaBarbera. MacLean jammed the puck between the goaltender's legs for a 4-4 tie. Center Patrick Fischer also assisted on the goal.
Following a scoreless overtime, the Monarchs and Rampage went into a six-round shootout with Manchester converting on two goals by Murray and San Antonio beating LaBarbera once by Lehoux. LaBarbera stopped Perrault, center Jakub Koreis, Ferraro, center Jeff Taffe and Lehoux on his second shot. LeNeveu denied O'Sullivan, center Gabe Gauthier, right wing Konstantin Pushkarev and Tukonen.
LaBarbera earned the win by stopping 31-of-35 shots. LeNeveu took the loss with 19 saves.
Manchester went 0-for-6 on the power play. San Antonio was 1-for-8 with the man advantage.