HERSHEY, PA – A dominant third period had the Manchester Monarchs swimming in a sea of chocolate as they sank the Hershey Bears 5-2 in front of 8,373 fans at the Giant Center on Sunday night.
Manchester (35-30-5-4) extended their fourth place lead in the Atlantic Division to five points ahead of the fifth place Springfield Falcons (32-31-5-5, 74 points) for a total of 79 points on the season. Hershey (38-30-1-5) is in fourth place in the East Division with 82 points.
Monarchs' right wing Teddy Purcell tallied the game-winning goal at 13:26 of the final period. Purcell's 22nd tally of the season came from the right wing boards as left wing Matt Moulson screened netminder Frederic Cassivi. The puck squeezed under Cassivi's right arm to give the Monarchs their fifth win in six games.
Bears defenseman Josef Boumedienne scored his seventh of the season at the 1:31 mark of the opening frame. Boumedienne collected the puck from left wing Chris Bourque and carried the disc into the Monarchs zone. At the right face-off circle, the defenseman unleashed a sizzling slap shot that bounced off the glove of goaltender Jonathan Quick, fell into the crease and trickled over the goal line for the first tally of the game. Center Kyle Wilson earned an assist on Boumedienne's goal.
Monarchs center Brady Murray responded with his ninth and 10th goals of the season to give Manchester a 2-1 lead. Murray's first goal of the night came on the power play at 12:12 of the first period. With bodies crashing the net and screening Cassivi, the puck popped free from the crease to Murray. Cassivi, trying to recover from his last save at the right post with traffic in the crease, could not get back to the center of the net in time to save Murray's shot from the slot to even the game at 1-1. Center Trevor Lewis and right wing Lauri Tukonen assisted on the power play goal.
Murray was sprung by defenseman Jeff Likens for a shorthanded goal at 2:23 of the middle series. Likens found Murray in the neutral zone and the rookie center broke free into the Bears zone for a one-on-one with Cassivi. Murray snapped a wrist shot between the hash marks that beat the goaltender on the glove side for the go ahead goal.
Wilson evened the game at 2-2 with his 26 goal of the season at 5:39 of the second period. Bourque carried the puck into the Monarchs zone along the right wing and found Wilson streaking to the net for the one-timer that sailed behind Quick and over the goal line. Right wing Andrew Gordon collected an assist on the tying goal.
Centers David Meckler and Brian Boyle finished off the Bears with two empty net goals in the final two minutes of the game.
Quick (8-8-0) earned the win stopping 31-of-33 shots. Cassivi (18-19-3) took the loss stopping 35 shots.
Manchester was 1-for-3 on the power play. Hershey was 0-for-5 with the man advantage.