MANCHESTER, NH – Center Marc-Andre Cliche
and left wing David Meckler
both scored two goals apiece as the Manchester Monarchs defeated the Worcester Sharks, 6-3, at the Verizon Wireless Arena on Friday night.
Manchester (19-7-1-2) extended their lead in the Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference with their fourth straight victory to bring them to 41 points. Worcester (15-11-0-2) is ranked second in the Atlantic Division with 32 points.
“It was a complete effort,” said Monarchs Head Coach Mark Morris. “Everyone shouldered the responsibility of playing well with contributions from every player. We beat an excellent hockey team tonight. Worcester has a lot of fire power. We were able to keep them at bay. This one felt good.”
Left wing Bud Holloway was eventually credited with the game-winning goal as he scored his team-leading eighth tally of the season at 15:16 of the second period to give Manchester a 4-1 lead. Stealing the puck from a Worcester defenseman, Holloway skated through the left face-off circle. At the bottom of the circle, he tossed the puck toward the net. The rubber biscuit bounced off of a Worcester player and deflected into the net for the unassisted tally.
Monarchs left wing Dwight King put the Monarchs on the board with his second goal of the season at 1:21 of the first period. After battling for the puck at neutral ice, King picked it up and skated down the ice. One-on-one with goaltender Alex Stalock, King ripped a shot into the net for a 1-0 advantage.
The Sharks evened the score at 1-1 with a shot from defenseman Jason Demers at 13:59 of the opening frame for his first goal of the season. After crashing the zone, right wing Dennis McCauley fed the puck to Demers for a one-timer from the point that beat Monarchs netminder Jonathan Bernier on the near side.
The Monarchs regained their lead shortly after Demers tally with Meckler’s fourth of the season at 13:59 of the first period. Skating on the power play, the Monarchs started passing the puck between their points, defensemen Patrick Mullen and David Kolomatis. Controlling the puck in the right face-off circle, Kolomatis threw the puck on net that was deflected off of Meckler’s foot and between Stalock’s legs to give the Monarchs a 2-1 lead.
At 9:37 of the second period, Cliche blasted a shot past Stalock for his fifth goal of the season. Cliche broke out of the Monarchs zone with a 2-on-1 breakaway. Cliche skated down the left wing and let a bomb go from left face-off circle over Stalock’s glove to put the Monarchs up 3-1. Center Juraj Mikus picked up an assist on the goal.
The Monarchs extended their lead to 5-1 at 5:39 of the third frame on a one-timer from Meckler for his second of the night and fifth of the season. Cliche began the tic-tac-toe passing from the end red line to the right of the net. He found defenseman Viatcheslav Voynov on the right edge of the slot. Stalock committed to the near post for the shot but the defenseman passed the puck over to Meckler on the left doorstep for the one-timer.
The Sharks began their short-lived comeback at 13:46 of the final period with Demers second goal of the game. After crashing into the Monarchs zone, Sharks center Ryan Vesce’s shot was denied by Bernier. The rebound found Demers who beat Bernier glove side with a shot from the near face-off dot for a 5-2 score.
Less than a minute later, the Sharks struck again with a power play goal by Brandon Mashinter for his sixth of the season. Mashinter ripped a one-timer from the left face-off circle that hit the ceiling of the net to bring the score to 5-3. Vesce and center Logan Couture assisted on the Sharks goal.
Cliche finished off Worcester with his second goal of the night, an empty netter, at 16:56 of the third period. Kolomatis and right wing Jon Rheault picked up assists on the final goal of the game.
Bernier (13-6-2) picked up his 13th win of the season by stopping 46-of-49 shots. Stalock (13-7-1) dropped his seventh game of the season with 20 saves on 25 shots.
Manchester was 1-for-5 on the power play. Worcester went 1-for-1 with the man advantage.
Notables: The Monarchs have won seven of their last eight games and their last four in a row…Manchester is 7-3-0-0 in their last 10 games…The Monarchs are 11-0-0-0 when scoring the first goal on home ice…Manchester broke Worcester’s franchise unbeaten record at 7-0-0-1…The Monarchs are undefeated on home ice when playing on Fridays…Center Marc-Andre Cliche recorded their first multi-goal game of the season…Left wing David Meckler has back-to-back multi-goal games…Left wing Dwight King scored his second goal in as many games and recorded his fourth point (2-2=4) in three games…Right wing Jon Rheault recorded his first point, an assist, of the season.