Manchester (7-4-1-1) is ranked second in the Atlantic Division with 16 points. Worcester (5-3-1-2) is in fourth place in the Atlantic Division with 13 points.
“It was a typical back-and-fourth, high tempo game,” said Monarchs Head Coach Mark Morris. “It was a hard fought affair and we were on the wrong end of some of (Worcester’s) fortunate bounces. We clanked one off the post in the third that could have given us the upper hand tonight. We have to stay out of the box and take advantage of our power plays. Give credit to (Alex) Stalock; he played a stellar game for them.”
Defenseman Sean Sullivan scored the eventual game-winning goal at the 14-minute mark of the final period. Center Steven Zalewski received the puck from defenseman Mike Moore at the left point and put a shot on net. Monarchs goaltender Jeff Zatkoff made the pad save and directed the puck toward the corner. Sullivan was on the left doorstep to pick up the loose puck. As he skated behind the net, Sullivan flipped the puck at the goaltender. The puck deflected off of Zatkoff’s right side and into the goal for the Sharks third power play tally of the game.
Following a scoreless first period, the second frame saw four goals scored starting with Sharks right wing Jonathan Cheechoo’s fifth goal of the season at 2:55. Skating on the power play, Sullivan fired a shot from the left point that bounced wide of the net. Forward James Marcou backhanded the puck from behind the cage and into the slot. Cheechoo took two swipes at the puck before it beat Zatkoff to give Worcester the 1-0 lead.
Less than two minutes later, left wing Brandon Mashinter doubled the Sharks lead with his fourth goal of the season and his team’s second power play goal of the game. Cycling the puck, defenseman Matt Irwin sent a pass from the left wing half wall to Zalewski in the bottom left wing corner. Zalewski quickly found Mashinter at the bottom inside corner of the left face-off circle for a one-timer that beat Zatkoff.
Left wing Ray Kaunisto put the Monarchs on the board at 8:02 of the middle frame with his second goal of the season. Defenseman Jake Muzzin carried the puck out of the Monarchs zone, through neutral territory and over the Sharks blueline before he was tangled up by a Sharks player. Moments before getting held up, Muzzin nudged the puck ahead and past the Sharks defender. Kaunisto, who was skating with Muzzin, picked up the loose puck and skated in on netminder Alex Stalock all alone. At the top of the crease, Kaunisto pulled the puck over to his backhand and flipped it into the net to cut the Sharks lead in half, 2-1.
At 14:41 of the second stanza, center Oscar Moller tallied his first goal of the season to tie the game at 2-2. Kaunisto kept the puck in the zone along the right wing boards and handed it off to left wing Dwight King who circled through the right wing face-off circle before wristing a shot on net. While stationed in front of Stalock, Moller redirected the puck into the net to tie the game.
Zatkoff (4-4-1) took his fourth loss of the season with 25 saves on 28 shots. Stalock (4-4-1) earned his fourth win of the season stopping 18-of-20 shots on goal.
Manchester was 0-for-5 on the power play. Worcester was 3-for-5 with the man advantage.
Notables: The Monarchs recorded 20 shots on goal, the fewest shots on goal this season…The Sharks three power play goals against were the most the Monarchs have given up this season…Defenseman Alec Martinez’s four-game point streak came to an end as he was held off the scoreboard tonight…Center Oscar Moller netted his first goal of the season.
The Monarchs will hold a rematch with the Sharks at the Verizon Wireless Arena on Friday, November 12 at 7:00 p.m. Catch all of the play-by-play action of Monarchs hockey with Ken Cail on the Monarchs Radio Network WGAM 900/1250 AM and at www.manchestermonarchs.com.