MANCHESTER, NH – The Manchester Monarchs beat the Worcester Sharks 4-1, tying a franchise record with 51 wins on the season, in front of a sellout crowd of 9,932 at the Verizon Wireless Arena on Saturday night.
Manchester (51-21-6-1) is leading the Atlantic Division with 109 points. Worcester (40-28-3-8) is in fourth place in the Atlantic with 91 points, one point behind Providence (43-30-2-4, 92 points) with one game remaining on the season.
The Sharks scored first at 5:22 of the opening period. Left wing Jamie McGinn skated below the Monarchs end line to the right of goaltender Barry Brust and attempted a wrap around shot. His attempt ricocheted off Manchester defenseman T.J. Kemp and snuck through the legs of Brust. Center Riley Armstrong received an assist on McGinn's first goal of his professional career.
At 17:32 of the middle frame, the Monarchs got the equalizer to tie the game at 1-1. From the top of the left face-off circle, defenseman Peter Harrold put a wrist shot on net that made its way through traffic. Sharks goaltender Dimitri Patzold made the initial leg save but center Marty Murray picked up the loose puck and put it in the net for his 14th tally of the season. Left wing Noah Clarke earned an assist on the goal.
With Sharks left wing Mathieu Darche in the penalty box for a hooking minor, the Monarchs took the lead capitalizing on their seventh power play goal in two games at 2:09 of the final stanza. Center Patrick O'Sullivan skated the puck into the right face-off circle and fed a tape-to-tape pass to Kemp. Streaking down the left side, Kemp pick up the pass and netted the one timer. Center Trevor Lewis
picked up an assist on the goal.
The Monarchs struck again 33 seconds later with another one timer. Left wing Jeff Giuliano, extended his assist and point streak to seven games (1-6=7), made a cross ice pass to defenseman Joey Mormina. Picking up the pass in the left face-off circle, Mormina buried the biscuit past Patzold.
Veteran defenseman Oleg Tverdovsky added to the Monarchs lead with his fifth tally of the season at 9:40 of the third period. Skating down the left side, Tverdovsky held the puck as he glided toward Patzold's left side. After the Sharks netminder overcommitted, Tverdovsky roofed a puck into the top of the net. Murray and left winger Matt Moulson picked up assists on the tally to bring the score to 4-1.
Brust backed the win with 17 saves on 18 shots. Patzold took the loss stopping 29-of-33 shots.
Manchester went 1-for-4 with the man advantage. Worcester was 0-for-3 on the power play.