Manchester (21-16-0-2) is in second place in the Atlantic Division with 44 points. Bridgeport (17-17-3-1) is in fifth place in the Northeast Division with 38 points.
“Too many miscues tonight,” said Monarchs Head Coach Mark Morris. “Hard to find words for it, we’re in a rut and we have got to find a way out. We can’t make as many mental errors as we did and expect to win a hockey game against a team that’s playing together. We’re a little disjointed and we need some guys to step up and eliminate some of the mental mistakes that we’ve made”
The Sound Tigers scored the go-ahead goal just 22 seconds after the Monarchs had the game at 2-2 in the third period. Left wing Tyler McNeely wristed a rebound past an outstretched goaltender Jeff Zatkoff
. Sound Tigers defenseman Matt Donovan launched a slap shot from the left point, where McNeely corralled the puck in the left slot before finding the back of the net. Right wing Rhett Rakhshani also assisted on the eventual game-winning goal at 3:46 of the third period.
Right wing Brandon Kozun
opened the scoring on the power play at 3:49 of the first period. The play started on the stick of center Robbie Czarnik who was positioned at the left point. Czarnik passed the puck diagonally across the zone to left wing Dwight King
at the bottom of the right face-off circle. King fired a pass across the crease to Kozun who buried the puck in the open net from the slot for his ninth goal of the season.
The Sound Tigers evened the contest at 9:04 of the second period on a goal from Rakhshani. Donovan led the attack out of his own zone. Once Donovan gained the neutral zone he passed the puck to defenseman Aaron Ness who entered the Monarchs zone along the left wing boards. Ness curled back toward the top of left circle and found Rakhshani at the hash marks in the middle of ice. Rakhshani fired a wrister that beat Zatkoff high on the glove side for his seventh goal of the season.
Bridgeport was able to take a 2-1 lead at 17:36 of the second period off the stick of center David Ullstrom. With the Sound Tigers on the power play, defenseman Jon Landry received the puck in the neutral zone and quickly passed it ahead to left wing Scott Howes gaining the zone along the left wing boards. Howe carried the puck to the top of the left face-off circle and then fed a pass to Ullstrom in the slot who was waiting to release a one-timer for his team-leading 13th goal of the season.
The Monarchs were able to tie the game at 2-2 at 3:24 of the third period. Kozun chipped the puck around the boards and into the Bridgeport zone where it was stopped by King behind the net. King slid the puck to Czarnik on the left doorstep of the net and snuck it past goaltender Andrew Nilsson.
At 19:10 of the third period, Rakhshani was able to seal the victory for Bridgeport with his second goal of the night, an empty net goal, shooting a wrist shot in from the offensive zone face-off circle.
Zatkoff (10-6-1) took his sixth loss of the season stopping 34-of-37 shots. Monarchs Martin Jones
relieved Zatkoff for 42 seconds late in the third period. Nilsson (6-6-1) earned his sixth win of the season making 16 saves on 18 shots.
Manchester went 1-for-3 on the power play. Bridgeport was 1-for-7 with the man advantage. Notables:
The Monarchs are on a four-game losing streak…The Monarchs are 2-2-0-0 against the Sound Tigers…Center Justin Azevedo
made his return from an upper body injury after missing 11 games…Left wing Dwight King
recorded two assists in the game...Center Robbie Czarnik recorded a goal and an assist and has three points in his last three games.