MANCHESTER, NH ? The Manchester Monarchs ended 2008 with their fourth consecutive win, a 4-2 win over the Providence Bruins before 7,708 New Years fans at the Verizon Wireless Arena on Wednesday night.
Manchester (16-14-0-4, 36 points) is tied for third place in the Atlantic Division with the Hartford Wolf Pack (16-14-1-3) with 36 points. Providence (19-14-1-1, 40 points) falls to second place in the Atlantic Division.
Putting the Monarchs ahead for good in the final frame was the Monarchs power play unit at 4:40. Center Trevor Lewis shifted the disc to defenseman Alec Martinez who was above the right circle. Martinez fired a cannonade that went wide of the net to the right. The shot ricocheted off the back boards and right to center Marty Murray who put the puck away for his fourth lamp lighter of the campaign.
Just as time was winding down at 18:46 in the second period, the Monarchs fourth line broke the scoreless 0-0 tie. Left wing Paul Crosty picked up the puck in neutral territory and coasted into the Monarchs zone. The winger quickly found right wing Kevin Westgarth who was streaking down the middle of the ice. Westgarth dished to center Dusty Collins on his right who was there to get the puck to trickle through Bruins netminder Tuukka Rask's legs for his third goal of the season.
Without wasting much time in the third period, the Bruins struck back at 1:09. Defenseman Adam McQuaid and defenseman Andrew Boychuck worked the biscuit throughout their zone before getting it to right wing Mikko Lehtonen in the left circle. Lehtonen shuffled around in the left circle before firing a shot that rattled the cage behind Monarchs goaltender Jonathan Bernier for his eight tally of the season.
Center Scott Parse netted his seventh goal of the year on slick passing by the Monarchs power play unit. Murray sent the puck down to the right corner where Lewis was patiently waiting. The center, who just returned from a six game stint in Los Angeles, sent the puck through the crease where Parse was able to chip the puck over Rask to break the 1?1 tie at 3:46 of the third period.
Right wing Ryan Murphy added one to his highlight reel at 6:19 of the final frame. Defenseman Davis Drewiske allowed Murphy to skate alone in the Bruins zone with a perfect lead pass. Murphy approached the net to the right side followed by a move to his left and then slid the puck past Rask with a gentle backhander.
Center Levi Nelson quickly answered 10 seconds later with an unassisted goal for Providence. Nelson skated in on the left side of the net and backhanded one past Bernier for his second tally of the season.
Bernier (10-8-2) earned his 10th victory on the season and fourth in a row after halting 24 shots from Providence while Rask (14-12-0) took his 12th loss of the season after stopping 29 shots.
Manchester went 2-for-8 on the power play. Providence was 1-for-6 with the man advantage.