Manchester (19-11-0-2) leads the Atlantic Division with 40 points. Providence is fifth in the Atlantic Division (13-16-1-2) with 29 points.
“I thought everybody was focused,” said Monarchs Head Coach Mark Morris. “Our return was everything we could have hoped for. It was fight filled and there were a lot of goals. We got a great team effort. Justin Johnson played a good game and J.D. Watt also played a great game. Our penalty kill was tremendous. No doubt it will be another barn burner on New Year’s Eve when the Bruins come to town again.”
At the six minute mark of the middle stanza, Manchester was able to take the lead for good when right wing Linden Vey
buried pass from defenseman Thomas Hickey
. After a Providence turnover in the neutral zone, Hickey carried the puck down the left wing boards and found Vey streaking toward the net. Vey proceeded to bury the puck on a wrist shot on from the right slot. The game-winning tally was Vey’s eighth goal of the season.
The Monarchs opened up the scoring early in the first period with a goal off the stick of right wing Justin Johnson. After a chip into the right corner from right wing J.D. Watt, Johnson won the puck battle and found center Marc-Andre Cliche
in the right face-off circle. Johnson got the puck back on a give-and-go play, maneuvered across the slot and beat goaltender Anton Khudobin with a backhand. The goal was Johnson’s first tally of the season and came only 40 seconds into the game.
Providence recorded their lone goal of the game not long after Vey’s tally to cut the Monarchs lead in half. Following a turnover in the neutral zone, Bruins left wing Craig Cunningham moved the puck up to center Josh Hennessy who picked up speed moving into the Manchester zone. Hennessy was able to split the Manchester defense, carried the puck through the slot and beat Monarchs goaltender Martin Jones
on the glove side. Hennessy’s 10th goal of the season came at 8:52 of the second period.
Center Robbie Czarnik picked up an insurance goal, his first tally of the season, at 11:42 of the middle frame. Right wing Brandon Kozun
created a turnover deep in the Providence zone. Czarnik picked up the loose puck and carried it toward the net from the left corner. Khudobin met Czarnik at the right post but the puck was able to trickle past the Bruins goaltender for a 3-1 lead.
The Monarchs finished off the Bruins with Watt’s first goal of the season, a power play tally at 19:26 of the second period. Manchester recovered the puck in their defensive zone and defenseman Andrew Campbell
found Vey along the right wing. Vey carried the puck over Providence’s blueline and drew the defense to him. Vey passed the puck to an open Watt moving up the left wing. Watt fired the puck past Khudobin low on the stick side.
Jones (10-8-1) earned his 10th victory of the season stopping 30-of-31 shots. Khudobin (10-12-2) took his 12th loss of the season making 23 saves on 27 shots.
Manchester went 1-for-4 on the power play. Providence was 0-for-8 with the man advantage.
The Monarchs are 10-0-0-2 when leading after the first…The Monarchs are 4-1-0-2 against the Bruins this season…Right wing Justin Johnson scored 40 seconds into the game, the fastest first goal by the Monarchs this season…Johnson’s tally was also his first of the season…Right wing Brandon Kozun
extended his point-streak (1-5=6) to five games with an assist tonight.