MANCHESTER, NH – The Manchester Monarchs scored three shootout tallies to top the Manitoba Moose, 3-2, in a shootout in front of 5,132 fans at the Verizon Wireless Arena on Friday night.
Manchester (23-24-0-5, 51 points) is in sixth place in the Atlantic Division. Manitoba (36-14-0-5, 77 points) is in first place in the North Division.
"I thought it was a deserving win," said Monarchs Head Coach Mark Morris. "Our shots were indicative of our play. Our checking line stopped (Jason) Krog and were a part of both of our goals."
The game was pushed to overtime and then a shootout where right wing Trevor Lewis, center Justin Azevedo and left wing Vladimir Dravecky tallied for the Monarchs and goaltender Daniel Taylor stopped 3-of-4 shooters for two points. Manitoba's Jason Krog scored the lone shootout goal in game for the Moose and netminder Curtis Sanford stopped 1-of-4 shootout snipers.
It took almost 41 minutes for a goal to be scored in the contest in a back and forth game. Moose captain and right wing Mike Keane found defenseman Mark Fistric at the point along the left wing boards. Fistric in turn passed the puck to left wing Jason Jaffrey positioned between the hash marks and the center point. Jaffrey settled the pass and then wound up for the slap shot that beat Taylor for his 17th goal of the season and first tally of the game the 52-second mark of the third period.
Manchester returned the game to an even playing field with center Marc-Andre Cliche's first goal of the season at 4:48 of the final frame. Defenseman Drew Bagnall fed the puck up the ice to right wing Teddy Purcell. The second year pro carried the biscuit into the Moose's zone and backhanded a pass through two Manitoba players to Cliche. Playing in his fourth game of the season following an injury that kept him sidelined since training camp, Cliche fluttered the saucer low to the ice and between the legs of Sanford.
Dravecky put the Monarchs on top for the first time in the game at 12:14 of the final stanza with his fourth goal of the season. Defenseman Joe Piskula's slap shot from the right point was knocked down by traffic in front of the net. Lewis swiped at the puck and slid it past a Moose defenseman and to Dravecky in the slot. The winger slid a backhander around Sanford for the go-ahead goal.
Defenseman Maxime Fortunus evened the game at 2-2 at 18:52 of the third period to push overtime. Jaffrey picked up his second point on the night when he fed the puck to Fortunus' defensive partner blueliner Nolan Baumgartner. The defenseman sent the puck over to Fortunus at the center point for a rocket that beat Taylor five-hole to tie the game.
"Taylor did a nice job in net for us tonight," said Morris. "It was a nice win. That's the type of hockey we need to play to be in the playoffs."
Taylor (4-1-0) earned his fourth win of the season with 17 saves in regulation and three saves in the shootout. Sanford (5-3-1) took his first shootout loss of the season with 37 regulation saves and one shootout save.
Manchester went 0-for-4 on the power play. Manitoba was also 0-for-4 with the man advantage.