PHILADELPHIA, PA – Four goals in the first period combined with four power play goals on the night elevated the Manchester Monarchs past the Philadelphia Phantoms 6-2 in front of 6,451 fans at the Wachovia Spectrum on Sunday evening.
Manchester (18-16-4-2) is in fifth place in the Atlantic Division with 42 points. Philadelphia (27-12-1-0) is ranked first in the East Division with 55 points.
Monarchs left wing Matt Moulson regained the two goal advantage for Manchester when he tallied on the power play at 12:32 of the first stanza. As both Monarchs and Phantoms players crashed the net in front of goaltender Brian Boucher, right wing Lauri Tukonen fired a backhand shot on net that the netminder saved. The puck squeaked free of the bodies and into the slot where Moulson snapped a shot through the traffic and over the downed goaltender. Right wing Teddy Purcell earned his second assist of the night on Moulson's 15th goal of the season to bring the score to 3-1.
The first period was quite entertaining as both teams combined for a total of six goals on 24 shots in 20 minutes of play. The Monarchs collected four goals with three of them coming on the power play. Defenseman Troy Milam began the plethora of scoring with his seventh tally of the season at 3:06 of the opening frame while the Monarchs had the man advantage. Defenseman Peter Harrold sent the puck from the point down low to center Brian Boyle to the left of the net. Boyle's shot was stopped by Boucher and the rebound popped free to Milam in the right face-off circle for a one-timer into the open net.
Center Matt Ryan doubled the Monarchs lead to 2-0 with his fifth goal of the season at 3:38 of the first period. Ryan skated into the Phantoms zone in sync with his teammate Purcell who was carrying the puck. Purcell, down the right side of the slot, fed a pass through numerous bodies and onto the stick of Ryan at the bottom of the left face-off circle. Ryan's one-timer hit the twine behind Boucher for the early two goal lead in favor of Manchester.
Left wing Triston Grant cut Manchester's lead in half at 9:41 of the first period with his third goal of the season. Center Frederik Cabana tossed a backhand shot wide of the net and Grant picked up the rebound as the puck found its way to the crease following the initial shot. Grant's shot beat Monarchs netminder Daniel Taylor to bring the score to 2-1. Defenseman Ryan Parent earned an assist on the Phantoms first tally of the night.
Defenseman Alexandre Picard brought his Phantoms back into the game with his sixth goal of the season at 15:39 of the opening frame. On the power play, right wing Stefan Ruzicka cycled the puck to center Ryan Potulny who fed the pass to Picard at the center point. The defenseman's slap shot was initially saved by Taylor but the goaltender couldn't control the powerful shot and the puck trickled over the goal line to bring Philadelphia back to within one goal and a 3-2 score.
Referee Shaun Davis called a boarding penalty on Phantoms center Jared Ross with 18 seconds remaining if the first period and the Monarchs only needed 11 seconds to increase their lead to 4-2 before heading to the locker room for the first intermission. Harrold fed the puck to Milam at the right face-off circle. Milam found Purcell at the left face-off circle with a cross-ice feed. Purcell's one-timer beat Boucher for the Monarchs third power play goal of the night.
The second period belonged to the Monarchs as they tallied two more goals on just five shots. Center David Meckler scored his 12th goal of the season 32-seconds into the middle frame. Right wing John Zeiler fired a shot off the left post and the puck fell to rest in the crease for Meckler to jam past Boucher for Monarchs fifth goal of the night. Defenseman Patrik Hersley earned an assist on the first goal of the second period.
Following Meckler's goal, Boucher was pulled from the Phantoms net and replaced by goaltender Scott Munroe. Boucher stopped 12-of-17 shots while in net.
Moulson collected his second power play goal of the night at 10:52 of the second period. Cycling the puck on the power play, Milam dropped it off to Purcell in the left face-off circle. Purcell found Moulson in the right face-off circle as the left wing dropped to one knee for the one-timer that sailed past Munroe to give the Monarchs a 6-2 lead after two periods.
Taylor earned his second win in as many nights with 28 saves on 30 shots. Boucher took the loss stopping 12-of-17 shots. Munroe stopped 5-of-6 shots in just under 40 minutes of play.
Manchester went 4-for-9 on the power play. Philadelphia was also 1-for-7 with the man advantage.