MANCHESTER, NH – Left wing Petr Kanko and right wings Lauri Tukonen and Konstantin Pushkarev scored in the shootout while goaltender Jason LaBarbera stopped three-out-of-four shooters to give the Manchester Monarchs a home opening win over the Worcester Sharks, 5-4, at the Verizon Wireless Arena on Saturday night.
The first goal of the 2006-07 season came off the stick of New Hampshire native left wing Jeff Giuliano at the 9:24 mark of the opening stanza. With bodies flying in front of the net, defenseman Eric Werner tossed the puck off Sharks goaltender Dimitri Patzold's right pad. Giuliano stood on the doorstep to chip the puck into the net for his first of the season. Defenseman Joey Mormina also earned an assist on the play.
Worcester tied the game at 17:58 of the first period with a shorthanded goal by center Craig Valette. Winning the faceoff, Valette skated down the ice solo and snapped a shot over LaBarbera's glove.
Exactly one-minute later, left wing Noah Clarke gave Manchester the lead just in time to head into the locker room for the first intermission. On the power play, right wing John Zeiler collected the puck from defenseman Bryan Schmidt and sent a shot in on Patzold. Clarke picked up the rebound from Zeiler's shot and buried it into the back of the net for his first of the season.
At the two-minute mark of the second period, Tukonen gave the Monarchs a 3-1 lead with Manchester's second power play goal of the night. Set up at the points, defensemen Peter Harrold and Shay Stephenson passed the puck back and forth while the forwards set up. Harrold found Tukonen open at the left circle and the right wing sent a one-timer fluttering through the air, finding nothing but net.
Left wing Mathieu Darche brought the Sharks to within one goal as he scored from his knees at 6:17 of the second period. Center Tomas Plihal sent the puck skimming through the crease and Darche flipped a backhander in near the right post. Defenseman Mathieu Biron assisted on the goal that brought the game to 3-2.
Scoring his first professional goal of his career and second point of the night, Zeiler tipped the puck past Patzold at 10:18 of the second period. Left wing Matt Moulson passed the puck to Schmidt in the left face-off circle. Schmidt fired the puck at the net and Zeiler was there to redirect it over the goalie to make it 4-2.
Biron tallied a power play goal for the Sharks at 17:01 of the middle frame to bring them to within one goal. Center Michal Macho positioned himself behind the net and slid the puck over to Biron who blasted a one-timer past LaBarbera's glove. Center Joe Pavelski collected an assist on the play.
With 57-seconds remaining to play in the game, Darche jammed in his second of the night, third of the season to tie the game at 4-4 and push overtime and a shootout.
LaBarbera earned the victory with 41 saves on 45 shots. Patzold took his first loss of the season stopping 26 shots.
Manchester went 3-for-10 on the power play. Worcester was 2-for-10 with the man advantage.