MANCHESTER, NH – Center Oskar Osala had a goal and an assist as the Hershey Bears ended the Manchester Monarchs undefeated streak on home ice with a 4-1 game at the Verizon Wireless Arena on Saturday night.
Manchester (9-3-1-1) continues to lead the Atlantic Division with 20 points. Hershey (9-5-0-0) is first place in the East Division with 18 points.
“(Hershey) played with a lot of purpose from the get-go,” said Monarchs Head Coach Mark Morris. “As you can see, these guys have played together before. The outcome is not surprising considering (Hershey) had a rough outing last night.”
When talking about the flu that is sweeping through the locker room, Morris said, “I think most teams are going through it right now but we have to be professionals. This is a good lesson for our young guys.”
Hershey center Jay Beagle put the Bears up 2-0 with only 2:30 gone in the second period with his second goal of the season. Osala gathered the puck and carried it over the Monarchs blueline. The center beat one defender to give him 3-on-1 breakaway near the bottom of the left face-off dot. Osala tried to center the puck to a Hershey forward who was waiting to the left of Bernier. The puck deflected off a diving Monarchs player and directly to Beagle who was sitting in the slot. Beagle controlled the bouncing puck and sent it right below the glove of goaltender Jonathan Bernier into the back of the net.
The Bears came out strong in the first period pestering 16 shots at Bernier. Defenseman Zach Miskovic pocketed his first goal of the season at 14:54 of the first period. Left winger Boyd Kane negated the imminent icing call by beating one of the Monarchs defenders to the puck. Kane got the puck over to center Keith Aucoin at the left face-off dot. Aucoin found Miskovic across the ice in the right face-off circle for a wrist shot over the fallen Bernier into the back of the net to put Hershey up 1-0.
Osala lengthened the Bears lead to 3-0 at the 14:28 mark of the second period. The center grabbed the puck near the Monarchs bench and hustled down the left wing boards. At the outside edge of the left face-off circle, Osala flipped the puck toward Bernier. The bouncing puck found its way into the back of the net for the Bears third goal of the night. The assists on Osala’s fourth goal of the season went to right winger Darren Reid and defenseman Sean Collins.
With 4:26 expired in the final frame, right winger Francois Bouchard netted his sixth goal of the season. Bernier made three saves in a row with the last one against sniper right winger Andrew Gordon. The puck kicked off the rig
ht pad of Bernier and right to Bouchard who fired the puck past the sprawled out netminder to put Hershey up 4-0.
Monarchs center Oscar Moller would not let the Monarchs crowd see a shutout against the hometown team as he netted his fifth goal of the season with 11:31 remaining in the final frame to put the score at 4-1. The Monarchs worked the puck down low to center Juraj Mikus who battled with Bears defenders for possession. Center Andrei Loktionov came away with the puck and sent it back to Mikus behind the net. The center threaded the puck through sticks and bodies in the slot to Moller who was standing there waiting for the puck. Once the puck hit his stick, Moller sent it into the net on the blocker side of goaltender Michal Neuvirth.
Bernier (6-3-1) took his first home loss of the season stopping 34-of-38 shots. Neuvirth (3-3-0) earned his third win of the season with 28 saves.
Manchester went 0-for-2 on the power play. Hershey did not have a power play in the game.
Notables: The Hershey Bears handed the Monarchs their first lost on home ice during the 2009-10 season (6-1-0)…Center Oscar Moller has five points (2-3=5) in his last seven games since returning from a brief stint with the Los Angeles Kings…Center Juraj Mikus collected his first assist on the 2009-10 season with an assist on Moller’s goal.