MONARCHS TAKE SECOND PLACE WITH WIN OVER SPRINGFIELD
/ Los Angeles Kings
MANCHESTER, NH – Left wing Jeff Tambellini's three-point game led the Manchester Monarchs over the Springfield Falcons, 5-3, at the Verizon Wireless Arena in front of their third sellout crowd of the year, 9,916 fans on Sunday evening.
Manchester (22-10-1-3, 48 points) moves back into second place in the Atlantic Division. Springfield (14-17-2-4, 34 points) is in fifth place in the Atlantic Division.
With a 2-on-1 breakaway, right wing Konstantin Pushkarev opted to pass the puck over to center Yanick Lehoux for the quick one-timer past Falcons goaltender Gerald Coleman at 3:21 of the first period. Right wing Lauri Tukonen also assisted on Lehoux's sixth goal of the season.
Manchester took a 2-0 lead at 8:44 of the first period when the Monarchs leading scorers teamed up for Tambellini's 18th goal of the season. Right wing Brad Smyth chipped a pass over to Tambellini at the top of the goal crease who popped it into the net for his first goal since December 30. Newcomer forward Mike Kompon earned his first AHL assist on the goal.
Springfield cut the Monarchs lead in half as right wing Marek Kvapil snuck in the rebound of defenseman Harlan Pratt's shot at 7:31 of the second period for his seventh goal of the season.
The Falcons face-off win on the power play in the Monarchs zone paid off as center Jason Jaspers collected his 16th goal of the season at 8:57 of the second period. Kvapil won the face-off over to right wing Jim Campbell who passed the puck to Jaspers at the point. Jaspers sent a slap shot in on Monarchs goaltender Barry Brust that squeezed in at the right post to tie the game at 2-2.
The Monarchs took their lead back with a power play goal at 12:17 of the middle frame. Defenseman Marty Wilford sent a rocket of a slap shot from the left point, through traffic and into the net on Coleman's glove side. Tukonen and Tambellini earned their second points of the night by assisting on the play.
Good passing and aggressive play gave the sellout crowd free fries from McDonalds as the Monarchs scored their fourth goal of the game at 1:28 of the final period (every fan in attendance receives free fries from McDonalds when the Monarchs score four or more goals in a home game this season). Tambellini leveled a Falcons player behind Coleman's net and then stole the puck. Center Greg Hogeboom took Tambellini's pass and sent the puck over to forward Brendan Bernakevitch, set up at the hash marks. Bernakevitch sent a wrist shot top shelf for his fifth goal of the season.
Center Nick Tarnasky made a late bid for the Falcons with his third goal of the season at 13:48 of the third period. Left wing Chris Dingman passed back and forth with Tarnasky behind the Monarchs net before the center flipped the puck past Brust near the right post. Left wing Dennis Packard also assisted on the goal to bring the game to within one, 4-3.
Smyth added an empty net insurance goal at 19:34 of the final period. Wilford and defenseman Mark Ardelan assisted on Smyth's 17th goal of the game.
Brust (7-2-1) earned his seventh victory by stopping 35 shots. Coleman (11-10-2) took the loss for the Falcons with 20 saves.
Manchester went 1-for-2 on the power play. Hartford was 1-for-4 with the man advantage.