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Monarchs Win Game, Lose Two More

by Kim Mueller / Los Angeles Kings
Monarchs captain Drew Bagnall suffered a lower body injury, is week-to-week.

LOWELL, MA – Rookie left wing Dwight King scored his first American Hockey League goal with 18.1 seconds left in the game to edge the Manchester Monarchs past the Lowell Devils, 6-5, at the Tsongas Arena on Sunday evening.

Manchester (18-7-1-2) extended their lead in the Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference with 39 points. Lowell (14-10-3-0) is ranked third in the Atlantic Division with 31 points.

“We lost a couple more players tonight,” said Monarchs Head Coach Mark Morris regarding a lower body injury to defenseman Drew Bagnall and the upper body injury to right wing Geoff Walker. “The guys are digging deep and battling for one another. They’re being resourceful.”

“I don’t think I’ve seen a team that’s been as resilient as our guys have been over the last couple of weeks. Those that remain standing get a ton of credit for keeping us on the winning track. And to the newcomers who have been pitching in and doing their part. I give credit to everyone who has put forth the effort and carried us through.”

With only 18.1 seconds remaining on the clock and both teams tied with five goals apiece, King jammed in his first AHL goal and the game-winner. Center Corey Elkins carried the puck around the net and attempted to stuff it over the goal line with a wrap around. Goaltender Mike McKenna stopped Elkins but King was in the crease to bang in the rebound and give the Monarchs their sixth win in seven games.

Monarchs left wing David Meckler started off the scoring with his second goal of the season at 3:02 of the opening frame. Manchester held the puck in the Devils zone at the left point and sent it around the boards to center Gabe Gauthier behind the cage. Gauthier passed the puck along to left wing Richard Clune on the right corner of the crease. Instead of shooting, Clune opted to feed the puck to Meckler in the slot for a one-timer that beat McKenna for a 1-0 lead for the visiting Monarchs.

Just 31 seconds later at 3:33 of the opening period, defenseman Alec Martinez doubled the Monarchs lead to 2-0 with a power play tally. Defenseman Viatcheslav Voynov began the play at the point by sending the puck to Gauthier in the right face-off circle. Gauthier quickly forwarded it along to Elkins in the right corner. With Martinez streaking down the left wing toward the net, Elkins slid the puck through the crease for a one-timer by the defenseman for his third goal of the season.

The Devils refused to go into the locker room for the first intermission down by two goals as center Tim Sestito found the back of the net for his eighth goal of the season at 16:42 of the first period. Right wing Matt Halischuk controlled the puck behind the Monarchs net and fed it out to Sestito between the hash marks for a one-timer that beat Manchester’s netminder Jonathan Bernier.

Starting off the second period the way he ended the first, Sestito scored his second goal of the game and ninth tally of the season at 4:21. The Devils dumped the puck into the Monarchs zone and Bernier stopped it behind the net. The goaltender mishandled the puck and ended up leaving it in by the end red line as he tried to get back in the net. Halischuk grabbed the loose puck and found Sestito streaking down center ice for the one-timer into the open net as Bernier tried to make a sprawling save.

Lowell took their first lead of the game with right wing Patrick Davis’ sixth goal of the season at 8:45 of the middle frame while the Devils skated on the power play. Sestito put a shot on net that Bernier made the save on but the rebound came out to Davis in the right face-off circle. The winger fired a booming slap shot into the left corner of the net to give Lowell a 3-2 lead. Defenseman Tyler Eckford picked up an assist on the play.

Refusing to let the Devils hold the lead for very long, Meckler scored his second goal of the night just 11 seconds after Davis’ goal. Voynov started the rush by sending a pass to right wing Kevin Westgarth. Skating in the neutral zone, Westgarth gave the puck to Meckler who carried it into the Devils territory and went flying down the right wing. At the bottom, inside corner of the right face-off circle, Meckler snapped a wrist shot that beat McKenna and brought the score to 3-3 at 8:56 of the second period.

At 14:24 of the middle stanza, Halischuk scored his first goal of the season to give the Devils their one-goal lead again. Capitalizing on the power play for the second time in the game, Eckford ripped a shot from the center point that was stopped by Bernier. The puck popped free and landed untouched in the right face-off circle. Halischuk was the closest player and he skated to the circle’s dot and ripped a slap shot over Bernier who had gone down to his knees in the crease. Sestito collected his fourth point of the game by assisting on the goal.

Voynov tied the game back up with his sixth goal of the season at 17:51 of the second period. With the Monarchs on the power play, Elkins shot the puck on net from the right face-off circle that McKenna made the save on. Gauthier was on the doorstep to pick up the rebound and sent it across the ice to Voynov in the left circle for the one-timer into the open net.

Left wing Pierre Letourneau-Leblond went to the penalty box with a double minor for kneeing and unsportsmanlike conduct at 6:51 of the final frame. With the Monarchs skating on the power play for four minutes, the team set up in the Devils zone. Defenseman Patrick Mullen passed the puck from the center point to defenseman David Kolomatis in the right circle. Surveying the ice, Kolomatis returned the puck to Mullen who fired a one-timer through traffic that snuck past McKenna’s glove and into the net for his second goal of the season. Center Juraj Mikus picked up an assist on the play.

Scoring the sixth power play goal of the game, center Michael Swift got the last swipe to record his seventh goal of the season at 12:49 of the third period. Defenseman Matt Taormina put the puck on net from the right face-off circle. Bernier made the save on Taormina’s shot as well as a rebound shot by center Ben Walter. Swift was finally able to get the puck between the left post and Bernier’s right skate to tie the game at 5-5.

Bernier (12-6-2) picked up his 12th win of the season by stopping 28-of-33 shots. McKenna (8-6-0) dropped his sixth game of the season with 34 saves on 40 shots.

Manchester was 3-for-6 on the power play. Lowell went 3-for-4 with the man advantage.

Notables: The Monarchs have won six of their last seven games and are 7-3-0-0 in their last 10 games…Manchester tied the record for goals scored (six), goals scored by the opponent (five) and combined goals scored (11) in one game this season…The Monarchs also tied this season’s record for combined goals scored in a period with five tallies in the second period tonight…Devils right wing Patrick Davis and Monarchs left wing David Meckler’s goals 11 seconds apart set a new season record for the fastest two goals combined between the Monarchs and their opponent for the 2009-10 season…The previous record this season was 21 seconds and the all-time record is nine seconds...Meckler collected his first multi-goal game of the season…Defenseman Alec Martinez is on a three-game goal scoring streak…Center Gabe Gauthier has seven assists in his last three games…Left wing Dwight King has three points (1-2=3) in his first two AHL games…Center Corey Elkins has six assists in his last three games and 10 points (2-8=10) in his last eight games…Defenseman Drew Bagnall suffered a lower body injury and is week-to-week…Right wing Geoff Walker is day-to-day with an upper body injury.

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