WORCESTER, MA – The Manchester Monarchs edged the Worcester Sharks, 3-1, in front of 3,979 fans at the DCU Center on Friday night and the Portland Pirates (38-31-3-7, 86 points) topped the Providence Bruins (43-28-2-6, 94 points) to clinch the final playoff spot in the Atlantic Division. This is the first time in the Monarchs eight year history that they have not reached the Calder Cup playoffs.
Manchester (37-34-0-8, 82 points) is in fifth place in the Atlantic Division. Worcester (41-35-1-2, 85 points) is in fourth place in the Atlantic Division.
Left wing Trevor Lewis put the Monarchs ahead with his team leading fourth shorthanded goal and 19th overall tally of the season at 13:51 of the second period. As Lewis drove to the net, left wing Matt Moulson carried the puck down the left wing. At the left circle, Moulson passed the puck to Lewis at the right doorstep for the tap-in past Sharks goaltender Thomas Greiss.
The Monarchs third line put the team up 1-0 at 7:45 of the opening period as left wing Scott Parse scored his 15th goal of the season. Left wing Richard Clune carried the puck into the Sharks zone along the left wing and then passed it back to Parse who fired a slap shot from the hash marks. Worcester goaltender Thomas Greiss made the chest high save as he dropped to his knees but the rebound bounced to his left for Parse to pick up, wrap around the netminder and push into the net for a 1-0 lead.
The Sharks evened the game at 1-1 with a power play goal at 12:14 of the middle frame. Defenseman Jason Demers fed the puck to his blueline partner right wing Riley Armstrong at the left point. Armstrong wound up and blasted a slap shot toward the net. Left wing Lukas Kaspar was positioned to the left of Monarchs netminder Jonathan Bernier to redirect the puck into the net for his 17th tally of the season.
Moulson added his 20th goal of the season for a little insurance at 14:11 of the final frame. Center Marty Murray stole the puck from a Sharks player along the left wing boards. Murray found Moulson on the inside edge of the left face-off circle for a quick wrist shot that beat Greiss for a 3-1 lead. Lewis picked up his second point of the night by assisting on Moulson's goal.
Bernier (23-24-4) earned his 23rd win of the season stopping 28-of-29 shots. Greiss (29-24-2) took his 24th loss of the season with 18 saves.
Manchester went 0-for-3 on the power play. Worcester was 1-for-3 with the man advantage.