Manchester (28-24-0-2) is in second place in the Atlantic Division with 58 points. Adirondack (23-24-2-1) is ranked fifth in the Northeast Division with 49 points.
“Our energy and focus was sporadic as we attempted to generate and find chemistry and consistency with our roster,” said Monarchs Head Coach Mark Morris. “We played hard in spurts. The bottom line is we are giving up too many goals and we need to make the most of the opportunities we are getting. This hasn’t been easy, but we have to rebound somehow. Everybody is capable of being more responsible. Our margin for error is pretty slim right now.”
Adirondack doubled their lead to 2-0 only 48 seconds into the second period when right wing Matthew Ford put in his own rebound. Skating down the right wing on a two-on-one breakaway, Ford and center Ben Holmstrom played catch as they crossed through the right face-off circle in the Monarchs zone. Ford took the puck and side-stepped Monarchs center Marc-Andre Cliche
before heading to the net for a point blank shot on goaltender Jeff Zatkoff
. Stopping the initial shot, Zatkoff kicked the puck out of the crease. Ford circled through the zone and ended up between the hash marks to grab the rebound. Ford snapped a shot past Zatkoff for his 12th tally of the season.
The Phantoms opened the scoring at 15:51 of the opening period with a five-on-three power play goal by defenseman Brandon Manning. As the Phantoms cycled the puck, Holmstrom passed the puck from the left wing corner to forward Jason Akeson at the left point. Akeson passed the puck back-and-forth with Manning at the right point until the defenseman released a one-timer that found the back of the net for his fourth goal of the season.
The Monarchs cut the lead in half to 2-1 when right wing Brandon Kozun
won a foot race to the puck with Adirondack netminder Jason Bacashihua. Monarchs defenseman Jordan Hill dumped the puck into the Phantoms zone that slid through the slot. With a burst of speed, Kozun skated in from the left wing and beat the Phantoms defense and the outstretched Bacashihua to the puck. Kozun corralled the puck and wristed a shot in the open net for his 14th strike of the season at 11:09 of the middle stanza.
Adirondack regained their two-goal lead when right wing Shane Harper found the back of the net at the 16-minute mark of the second period. Left wing Harry Zolnierczyk passed the puck out of the left corner to left wing Garrett Roe along the left half wall. Roe wristed the puck on net and Zatkoff made the pad save. The puck bounced free to the left doorstep and Harper was there to poke it past Zatkoff for his seventh goal of the season.
The Phantoms took a 4-1 lead at the two-minute mark of the third period with Roe’s seventh goal of the season. Zolnierczyk possessed the puck behind the Monarchs net and found Roe between the left face-off circle and the crease. Roe one-timed the pass from Zolnierczyk into the net to extend the Phantoms lead.
Ford tallied his second goal of the contest and gave the Phantoms a 5-1 advantage at 2:44 of the third period. Manning started the rush by sending a pass to Holmstrom along the left wing boards as he entered the Monarchs zone. Holmstrom led Ford into the Monarchs zone with a pass as he split the Monarchs defenders. Ford faked backhand and cut in from left-to-right across the goal flipping a shot past the outstretched left pad of Zatkoff for his 13th of the season.
Monarchs netminder Martin Jones
replaced Zatkoff between the pipes following Ford’s second goal. Jones stopped all three shots he faced.
Zatkoff (15-11-1) took his 11th loss of the season stopping 23-of-28 shots. Bacashihua (8-7-1) earned his eighth win of the season making 30 saves on 31 shots.
Manchester went 0-for-6 on the power play. Adirondack was 1-for-8 with the man advantage. Notables:
The Monarchs have dropped their last three games…The Monarchs have scored only one goal in each of their last three games…Right wing Brandon Kozun
tallied his 14th goal of the season…These two teams face-off again on Sunday at the Verizon Wireless Arena.