MANCHESTER, NH - Centers Brian Boyle, David Meckler
and left wing Matt Moulson all scored in the second shootout in as many nights to dramatically carry the Manchester Monarchs to a 7-6 victory over the Norfolk Admirals in front of 7, 019 fans at the Verizon Wireless Arena on Saturday night.
Manchester (25-24-4-4) is in fifth place in the Atlantic Division with 58 points. Norfolk (20-30-2-5) is in seventh place in the East Division with 47 points.
Center Paul Szczechura tallied the lone goal for the Admirals in the shootout as Monarchs goaltender Daniel Taylor denied the other three shooters. Boyle, Meckler and Moulson beat Admirals netminder Marc Denis in the shootout for the win.
The Admirals saw red first waiting only two minutes and 36 seconds into the first period to jump on the board. Both defenseman Vladimir Mihalik and left wing Justin Keller were denied goals in front of the net by Taylor. On the second rebound, right wing Junior Lessard, at the left corner of the crease, was able to break through the wall of Taylor for the Admirals early 1-0 lead.
Launching their own counterattack, the Monarchs scored four unanswered goals before the end of the first period. At 6:44, center Gabe Gauthier brought the puck into the right face-off circle while the team was setting up. Gauthier fed a pass to Moulson along the right boards as Boyle moved into the crease. With his stick on the ice, Boyle redirected a pass from Moulson past Denis, tying the game at 1-1.
Keeping the momentum, defenseman Jon Klemm passed the puck out of the defensive zone to center Brady Murray in neutral territory. Murray broke over the blueline with right wing John Zeiler on his side. Dropping the puck to Zeiler, he took a blistering shot from the right circle at 7:39 of the first period. Denis closed the gap between his right arm and chest, but not before the disk ripped through giving the Monarchs the 2-1 lead.
After assisting on the Monarchs first power play goal, Moulson scored one of his own with 6:18 left in the period. Sending a saucer pass from the blueline was defenseman Troy Milam and receiving the puck was right wing Lauri Tukonen in the left face-off circle. Moulson, mimicking Boyle's technique, had his stick in the crease to deflect Tukonen's pass for the 3-1 lead.
With one Monarchs player sitting in the penalty box and one stepping out of the box, Meckler scored his second shorthanded goal of the season and increased Manchester's lead to 4-1. There was only four seconds remaining in the period when Boyle cleared the puck out of the zone to an awaiting Meckler just over center ice. Breaking over the blueline and through two defenders, Meckler charged the net and sent the biscuit through Denis' bread basket to end the first period.
It only took 14 seconds into the second frame for the Admirals to cease the Monarchs attack. In the offensive zone, defenseman Mario Scalzo passed to defenseman Matt Smaby whose shot on net was blocked by bodies screening Taylor. Right wing Norm Milley was able to knock down the puck before it exited the zone. With a clear path to the net, Milley took a slap shot which found its way over Taylor's glove, cutting the lead to 4-2.
Repeating themselves at the 14:38 mark, Milley, assited by Keller and center Blair Jones, brought the Admirals to within one. Jones went tape-to-tape with Keller along the blueline rotating the Monarchs players around in the defensive zone. Keller slipped a passed to Milley just outside the right face-off circle. Milley sent a one-timer untouched through the five-hole of Taylor for his second goal of the game.
Scoring the third unanswered goal and tying the game at 4-4 was right wing Kyle Wanvig with 3:57 left in the second period. Corralling the puck behind the net, defenseman Justin Fletcher started the charge. Left wing Karl Stewart was bunkered down at the blueline to receive a pass from Fletcher. The puck was fed to Wanvig in the middle of the ice who backhanded a shot over Taylor's left shoulder to finish the scoring in the middle frame.
Teaming up for the second time, Jones gave the Admirals the 5-4 go-ahead goal with the help of Milley and Keller. Milley passed to Keller who was stationed at the right point. Keller wound up and ripped a shot toward the Monarchs netminder. Jones, who was screening Taylor, was able to get a stick on the puck to capture the lead only two minutes and 58 seconds into the final frame.
Not to be outdone, Moulson came back to score his second goal of the night and 20th of the season at 5:45 of the third stanza. Center Trevor Lewis took the puck over the blueline before passing to Moulson. Skating from right-to-left, Moulson looked for the open shot. Just as he was outside the left face-off circle, he squeaked the puck over Denis' stick for the point.
Pulling back ahead were the Admirals taking a 6-5 lead. Left wing Radek Smolenak skated down the tunnel toward Taylor. As he approached the crease, Smolenak left the puck for Szczechura who slapped the disk home stick side on Taylor at the 15:52 mark of the final frame.
With only eight seconds left in the game, the Monarchs, led by Gauthier, tied the score at 6-6. The Monarchs pulled Taylor for the extra attacker and had a power play for the 6-on-4 man advantage. Defenseman Patrik Hersley shot the puck into traffic in front of the net from the right corner. The puck bounced off the skate of Meckler and onto the stick of Gauthier at the left point. Gauthier sent a slap shot top shelf on Denis to bring the game to overtime and then a shootout where the Monarchs goals by Boyle, Meckler and Moulson gave the Monarchs the 7-6 victory.
Taylor (10-4-2) turned aside 17-of-23 shots in the shootout victory. Denis (5-10-2) stopped 31-of-37 shots in the loss.