HARTFORD, CT – Left wing Martin Sonnenberg scored at the 16:17 mark of the overtime period as the Hartford Wolf Pack edged their way past the Manchester Monarchs, 3-2, to even the best-of-seven "Series B" in the Atlantic Division semifinals of the 2006 Calder Cup Playoffs to one-game apiece at the Hartford Civic Center in front 1,846 fans on Wednesday night.
Manchester (43-30-3-4, 93 points) finished the regular season in third place in the Atlantic Division. Hartford (48-24-2-6, 104 points) ended the regular season in second place in the Atlantic Division.
The Wolf Pack struck first when left wing Nigel Dawes tipped in defenseman Daniel Girardi's blast from between the hash marks for a power play goal at 8:43 of the first period. Monarchs left wing Jeff Giuliano sat in the penalty box for holding the stick when Hartford put pressure on Monarchs goaltender Barry Brust. Dawes screened Brust as Girardi wound up and fired his shot from the left point that Dawes was able to redirect into the net. Center Dwight Helminen also assisted on the first goal of the game.
At 18:58 of the middle frame, defenseman Mark Ardelan evened the score at 1-1. On the power play, the Monarchs cycled the puck from right wing Alexandre Daigle down to left wing Noah Clarke in the right corner. Clarke weighed his options and sent a pass across the ice to Ardelan at the left face-off circle who propelled a slap shot through bodies and past Wolf Pack goaltender Al Montoya.
Left wing Chad Wiseman gave Hartford a 2-1 lead at 7:42 of the final stanza as he parked himself at the right corner of the crease, pounced on the rebound from right wing Greg Moore's shot from the hash marks and scored his first goal of the playoffs. Center Alexandre Giroux assisted on the go-ahead goal.
The Monarchs tied the game at the 9:27 mark of the third period when defenseman Richard Petiot picked up the puck in neutral territory, skated into the Wolf Pack zone and launched a shot that soared between Montoya and the left goal post.
Sonnenberg scored the overtime tally at 16:17 of the extra period to even the series 1-1. Center Lee Falardeau picked up the puck near the right post and attempted the wrap around shot. Brust stopped the initial shot but Sonnenberg squeezed the puck over the goal line to give the Wolf Pack the 3-2 win.
Brust (1-1) took the loss for the Monarchs stopping 40 shots. Montoya (1-1) earned his first playoff win with 33 saves.
Manchester went 1-for-9 on the power play. Hartford was 1-for-10 with the man advantage.
Tonight's game was the fourth overtime playoff game for the Monarchs in franchise history with the team losing the previous three overtime outings as well. The Wolf Pack topped the Monarchs 3-2 in double overtime to win the game and the series on April 20, 2002 when defenseman Marty Wilford, a member of the Hartford squad at the time, scored the game-winning goal. The Worcester IceCats beat the Monarchs 3-2 on April 17, 2004 and 3-2 in double overtime on April 22, 2004.
The Monarchs bring the series home for game three at the Verizon Wireless Arena on Friday, April 21. The action begins at 7:35 p.m.
Catch all of the play-by-play action of Monarchs hockey with Ken Cail on Rock 101.1 FM and at www.monarchshockey.com. Watch the game live on B2 Networks for just $6 per game. Log onto www.monarchshockey.com and click on the link to B2 Networks ten minutes prior to each Monarchs game to watch the game live!
For more information on the Manchester Monarchs visit thier official team website at www.monarchshockey.com