MANCHESTER, NH – The Manchester Monarchs fought their way back for a win in their fourth consecutive home shootout for a 5-4 victory over the Norfolk Admirals in front of 4,284 fans at the Verizon Wireless Arena on Friday night.
Manchester (3-5-0-2) is ranked seventh in the Atlantic Division with nine points. Norfolk (4-6-1-3) is in sixth place in the East Division with 12 points.
A scoreless overtime period forced the teams into a shootout. Left wing Vladimir Dravecky and right wing Teddy Purcell scored for the Monarchs as goaltender Jonathan Bernier stonewalled the Admirals shooters for the victory.
"I thought it was a great effort especially coming from behind and winning the game in a shootout since we haven't been able to do that lately," said Monarchs Assistant Coach Scott Pellerin. "We'll have to keep the same game plan (for tomorrow's matchup) and focus on playing 60 minutes."
During the first period, left wing Juraj Simek got the Admirals off to an early lead with his third tally of the season 3:49 into the game. Center Blair Jones skated down the ice with Simek to his left. Jones fed the puck on a give an go to Simek who snapped the puck into the corner of the net for the early 1-0 lead. Defenseman Daryl Boyle assisted on the first goal of the game.
Left wing Matt Moulson put the Monarchs on the scoreboard just before the period ended at 18:39 of the first stanza. Moulson punched the puck into the back of the net, just feet away from the goal, making it his third goal of the season. Center Marty Murray fed the puck to Moulson in the slot. Defenseman Davis Drewiske also assisted on the tying goal.
Only 35-seconds into the second period, Admirals defenseman Andrew Hutchinson gave the puck to left wing Radek Smolenak after he won the face-off. Hutchinson sent the puck over to center Paul Szczechura who blasted one-timer past Bernier for his seventh goal of the season.
Quickly tying up the game at 4:59 of the second period, Monarchs center Gabe Gauthier shot a one-timer that beat netminder Karri Ramo. Purcell flipped the puck over to Gauthier in the right face-off for the quick shot. Moulson picked up an assist on Gauthier's third tally of the season.
Less than two minutes later, Smolenak gave the Admirals their lead back with his sixth goal of the season at 6:47 of the middle frame. Defenseman Matt Smaby passed the puck up the ice to right wing Brandon Segal positioned at the Monarchs blueline. Segal carried the puck in and quickly passed it to Smolenak as he rushed the slot for the goal.
The Admirals took a two-goal lead at 19:11 of the second period with a power play goal. With a crowd in front of the net, Segal made a short pass to defenseman Jamie Heward who then slid the puck over to Smolenak along the end boards. The left wing curved the puck into the net from the right corner, just inches away from the goal line. This was his second goal of the game and seventh of the season.
The third period started off with right wing Trevor Lewis' third goal of the year at 3:24 of the period. Drewiske carried the puck down the ice and passed it to left wing Scott Parse deep in the zone. Lewis skated in the crease along the doorstep and picked up the short pass from Parse for the one-timer to bring the Monarchs within one goal.
Tying up the game, Monarchs defenseman Joe Piskula held the puck in at the blueline and sent it over to Gauthier. The center found Purcell skating toward the crease on the right side. Purcell slapped at the puck with his backhand and sent the puck flying over Ramo's right pad and into the net for his third goal of the season to tie the game at 4-4 at 16:29 of the final stanza.
Bernier (2-1-2) stopped 17-of-21 shots for his second win of the season. Ramo (4-5-3) took his third shootout loss with 28 saves.
Manchester went 0-for-6 on the power play. Norfolk was 1-for-6 with the man advantage.