LOWELL, MA – Defensemen Brendan Buckley and Eric Werner scored their first goals of the season in the Manchester Monarchs 3-2 victory over the Lowell Devils in front of 1,554 fans at the Tsongas Arena on Wednesday night.
Manchester (15-9-5-1) moves into a tie for first place in the Atlantic Division with 36 points. Lowell (15-13-2-1) is in third place in the Atlantic Division with 33 points.
The Devils hopped on the scoreboard first with a power play goal at 1:54 of the opening period. Center Chris Minard fed the puck to defenseman Jim Fahey at the point. Fahey rifled a shot through traffic that Monarchs goaltender Jason LaBarbera was able to save but center Justin Papineau pounced on the rebound and sent a backhander into the back of net for his 11th goal of the season.
The Monarchs answered back at 14:15 of the first frame with left wing Matt Moulson's eighth tally of the season. Seeking revenge with a power play goal of their own, the Monarchs set up in the Devils' zone. Left wing Noah Clarke sent the puck to the point and onto the stick of Werner who fired a shot on Lowell's netminder Frank Doyle. The rebound popped free and Moulson scored a top shelf goal to tie the game at 1-1.
Buckley tickled the twine for the first time this season at 12:30 of the middle period. Less than a minute after Manchester's defenseman Joey Mormina hit the post, Buckley blasted a knuckler from the point that caught Doyle off guard and gave the Monarchs a 2-1 lead. Left wing Lauri Tukonen and center Matt Ryan assisted on Buckley's first goal of the season.
Papineau collected his second mark of the night, 12th of the season at 9:02 of the third period. Unassisted, Papineau carried the puck to the hash marks and ripped a shot past LaBarbera to even the game at 2-2.
At 11:26 of the final stanza, Werner scored on the power play to give the Monarchs the 3-2 lead and eventual win. On the power play, defenseman Peter Harrold shuffled the puck to Clarke who forwarded it on to Werner in the high slot. Werner's one-timer went soaring past Doyle for his first of the season.
LaBarbera earned his 14th victory of the season with 25 saves. Doyle took the loss stopping 22 shots.
Manchester went 2-for-7 on the power play. Lowell was 1-for-4 with the man advantage.
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