HARTFORD, CT – Goaltender Jason LaBarbera returned to the Hartford Civic Center to face his former team for the first time since joining the Los Angeles Kings organization and his ex-teammate, goaltender Stephen Valiquette, captured his first shutout of the season in the Hartford Wolf Pack's 3-0 victory over the Manchester Monarchs in front of 4,422 fans on Saturday night.
Manchester (9-8-5-1) drops to a tie for fourth place in the Atlantic Division with 24 points. Hartford (9-11-1-0) is in seventh place in the Atlantic Division with 19 points.
The first goal came at 7:56 of the first period as left wing Brad Isbister buried his fourth goal of the season. Isbister and center Jarkko Immonen battled along the end boards with two Monarchs defensemen. Immonen took the puck into the corner and flipped it to Isbister as he drove to the net. The winger twirled around a Monarchs player and shoved the puck under LaBarbera for the early lead.
Right wing Craig Weller doubled Hartford's lead at 1:49 of the middle period. Center Dwight Helminen won the face-off to the left of LaBarbera in the Monarchs zone. Weller picked up the puck, deked around a Manchester player and flipped a wrist shot over the netminder's glove for his fourth goal of the season.
Helminen collected the final tally of the game at 4:26 of the third period from Weller and left wing Dane Byers. Weller skated down the right wing and blasted a slap shot off LaBarbera's right pad. The rebound bounced straight onto the stick of Helminen who redirected the bouncing puck under the legs of LaBarbera and into the net for his fifth goal of the season.
LaBarbera made 29 saves on 32 shots and took the loss for the Monarchs. Valiquette earned the win stopping all 26 shots he faced for his first shutout of the season.
Manchester went 0-for-6 on the power play. Hartford was 0-for-3 with the man advantage.
The Monarchs return to the Verizon Wireless Arena to drop the puck with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers on Sunday, December 3 at 4:05 p.m. Catch all of the play-by-play action of Monarchs hockey with Ken Cail on the Monarchs Radio Network WGIR-AM 610 and at www.monarchshockey.com
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