MANCHESTER, NH – The Manchester Monarchs narrowly skated past the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins with a 3-2 victory in front of 5,801 fans at the Verizon Wireless Arena on Friday night. The Monarchs held a Bobble-Election where the first 2,000 fans could choose between a John McCain (1,000) or a Barack Obama (1,000) bobblehead. The first candidate to have their bobblehead run out was declared the winner of the Bobble-Election. McCain won the Bobble-Election by 32 bobbleheads.
Rookie defenseman Alec Martinez brought the score to 3-0 with his first of the season at 15:21 of the third period. On the power play, the Monarchs cycled the puck from center Trevor Lewis along the left wing boards to center Michel Leveille along the end boards. Leveille found Martinez open at the center point for the one-timer that beat Penguins' goaltender Adam Berkhoel high on the glove side for the eventual game-winner.
Center Gabe Gauthier extended his point streak to five games with his second tally of the season at 16:12 of the opening frame. Gauthier came streaking into the slot with right wing Teddy Purcell flying down the right wing boards with the puck. As Purcell approached the end red line, he fed the puck to Gauthier who was nearing the top of the crease. Angling his stick to redirect the puck, Gauthier capitalized with the first goal of the game on Berkhoel. Right wing Vladimir Dravecky picked up his first assist of the season on the goal.
Playing 4-on-4 hockey, Monarchs netminder Jonathan Quick stacked the pads just over two minutes in the third period to keep the Monarchs with the one-goal lead. Former Monarchs center Connor James fed the puck to his linemate on a two-on-one rush. Quick slid from his right to his left and planted one pad on top of the other just in time to block the shot by the Penguins.
Manchester almost doubled their lead at the seven minute mark of the final frame as several players crashed Berkhoel and the Penguins net. Rookie right wing Jon Rheault took the lead with the puck skating into the slot but the puck got lost in his skates. Trickling toward the crease, the puck loosely bounced off bodies as two Penguins players and three Monarchs players fell to the ice along with Berhoel. The puck came to settle in the crease behind the goaltender and a Penguins defenseman narrowly cleared it before the Monarchs could capitalize.
Rookie defenseman Viatcheslav Voynov scored his first goal of his professional career at 9:02 of the third period. Purcell picked up the puck along the end boards and carried it up the far side of the left face-off circle. The second year winger turned toward the net and fired a shot that deflected off of bodies and to the right wing boards. Voynov pinched in from the right point and with an open lane to the net, he took a shot. The puck beat Berkhoel high on the glove side for a 2-0 lead. Right wing Denny Johnston earned his first professional point, an assist, on the play.
Penguins' defenseman Ben Lovejoy put his team on the board at 18:29 of the final period with his second goal of the season. With Berkhoel pulled for the extra attacker, the Penguins cycled the puck in the Monarchs zone with six skaters. Center Ryan Stone fed the puck to center Jeff Taffe who found Lovejoy at the right point. Lovejoy snapped a wrist shot that beat Quick on the blocker side to bring the game to 3-1.
Taffe tallied his fourth of the season and brought the Penguins within one goal at the 19:12 mark of the third period. Still skating with six skaters and Berkhoel on the bench, left wing Janne Pesonen held the puck behind the Monarchs net until he found Taffe along the right wing boards. Taffe one-timed a pass that beat Quick on this glove side. Left wing Chris Minard earned an assist on Taffe's goal.
Quick earned his first win of the season with 31 saves. Berkhoel took the loss stopping 26-of-29 shots.
Manchester went 1-for-9 with the man advantage. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton was 0-for-7 on the power play.