LOWELL, MA – Ten goals, three fisticuffs, 16 power plays, 74 shots, 64 saves and one shorthanded tally highlighted the Manchester Monarchs 6-4 triumph over the Lowell Devils in front of 1,229 fans at the Tsongas Arena on Friday night.
Manchester (1-1-0-0) is tied for fourth place in the Atlantic Division with two points. Lowell (1-1-0-1) is tied for second place in the Atlantic Division with three points.
Regaining their two goal cushion, Monarchs left wing Paul Crosty redirected the puck into the net for his first goal of the season at 14:17 of the middle period. Center Scott Parse fired the puck from the right wing boards toward the net. Crosty was positioned slightly behind goaltender Scott Clemmensen and was able to tip the puck across the goal line for a 5-3 lead. Center Michel Leveille earned his first point in a Monarchs uniform by assisting on Crosty's game-winning tally.
Reigning AHL Rookie of the Year right wing Teddy Purcell scored his first goal of the season at 2:11 of the opening period to give the Monarchs the early lead. Stripping the puck from Devils defenseman Mike Fraser, Purcell carried it in on Clemmensen and snapped a wrist shot into the net on the goaltender's stick side. Center Gabe Gauthier picked up an assist on Purcell's first of the season.
Manchester doubled their lead to 2-0 at 5:05 of the opening frame with center Bud Holloway's second goal of the season. Center Marty Murray shot the puck from along the left wing boards that trickled in on Clemmensen. The goaltender thought he had control of the puck but Holloway found the rubber and nudged it over the goal line for a 2-0 advantage. Center David Meckler picked up the second assist on Holloway's tally.
Monarchs leading scorer heading into the game center Trevor Lewis found the net for the first time this season at 10:12 of the first period. Gauthier fed the puck to defenseman Davis Drewiske at the right point for a slap shot that traveled through traffic and toward the net. Lewis connected his stick to the puck and redirected it into the net to give the Monarchs a 3-0 lead.
Refusing to head into the locker room scoreless, the Devils right wing Patrick Davis put the home team on the board at 17:05 of the first period with a power play goal. Davis picked the puck up off the left wing boards from defenseman Anssi Salmela and carried it into the slot. The right winger wristed a shot past Monarchs goaltender Jonathan Bernier for a 3-1 score. Center Michael Swift collected an assist on Davis' second of the season.
Right wing Vladimir Dravecky gave the Monarchs their three-goal lead back at 1:57 of the second period with his first goal of the season. Defenseman Eric Werner fired the puck deep into the Devils zone and Gauthier picked it up. Skating to the right side of the cage, Gauthier put a shot on net that Clemmensen saved but the rebound bounced free to Dravecky for the one-timer.
Lowell began their comeback with two tallies one minute and 17 seconds apart. The first goal came off the stick of center Pascal Rheaume at 10:53 of the middle frame. Bernier made the initial save on right wing Vladimir Zharkov's shot but Rheaume was on the doorstep to chip in the rebound to cut the Monarchs lead in half, 4-2.
At 12:10 of the second stanza, defenseman Tyler Eckford scored his first of the season to bring the Devils within one. Skating on the power play as Manchester defenseman Joe Piskula sat in the penalty box for hooking; Lowell began moving the puck throughout the Monarchs zone. Right wing Nicklas Bergfors passed the puck to right wing Matt Halischuk who found Eckford in the slot. Eckford's shot beat Bernier high on his stick side for a 4-3 lead.
Defenseman Jay Leach brought the Devils back to within one goal with his first tally of the season. Right wing Stephen Gionta streaked into the Monarchs zone along the left wing and backhanded the puck on Bernier. Stopping the initial shot, the puck popped free in the slot. Swift swiped at the rebound but Bernier again made the save. Leach's attempt was the clincher as the defenseman buried the puck with a backhand over a sprawling Bernier.
Purcell scored the first goal of the game and the last. Providing the insurance goal, Purcell carried the puck into the Devils zone and handed it off to his defensemen Drewiske and Piskula. Purcell got the puck back from Piskula as the defenseman circled in the zone. The right wing snapped a wrist shot into the net from the slot for the 6-4 victory.
Bernier (1-0-0) earned his first win of the season stopping 29-of-33 shots. Clemmensen (1-1-1) took his first regulation loss of the season with 35 saves on 41 shots.
Manchester went 0-for-9 on the power play. Lowell was 2-for-7 with the man advantage.