MANCHESTER, NH – The Manchester Monarchs scored three power play goals to beat the Springfield Falcons 5-2 in front of 2,621 fans at the MassMutual Center on Monday night.
Manchester (23-12-6-1) is leading the pack in the Atlantic Division with 53 points. Springfield (20-21-0-1) is in seventh place in the Atlantic Division with 41 points.
Monarchs right wing John Zeiler started the scoring with his 11th goal of the season at 15:25 of the first period. Left wing Matt Moulson flipped the puck up the right wing boards and Zeiler carried it into the Falcons zone. At the right face-off circle, Zeiler fired a slap shot on net that Springfield's netminder Karri Ramo got a piece of but the puck trickled over the goal line to give the Monarchs a 1-0 lead.
Left wing Randy Rowe evened the score at 1-1 with his second tally of the season at 17:36 of the opening frame. Center Dan Cavanaugh skated over the Monarchs blueline and flipped the puck up to Rowe at the hash marks. Rowe blasted a slap shot past Monarchs goaltender Jason LaBarbera to tie the game. Left wing Mitch Fritz earned an assist on the play.
The Falcons took their only lead of the game at 7:37 of the second period with left wing David Spina's fifth tally of the season. On the power play, Springfield cycled the puck from center Daniel Corso at the right point, down to left wing Eric Healey along the end boards. Healey fed a pass to Spina in the right face-off circle whose snap shot slipped by LaBarbera for the 2-1 lead.
The next three goals came on the power play off the sticks of Monarchs center Shay Stephenson, center Patrick O'Sullivan and Moulson. Stephenson picked up a pass from center Matt Ryan behind the Falcons net and flipped it out front. The puck deflected off of Ramo and into the net to tie the game at 2-2. Right wing Mike Hoffman also assisted on Stephenson's third goal of the season at 9:50 of the middle frame.
Ramo was replaced by netminder Jonathan Boutin following Stephenson's tally.
O'Sullivan ripped a wrist shot from the right face-off circle top shelf over Boutin's left shoulder to give the Monarchs a 3-2 lead at 11:28 of the second period. Defenseman Bryan Schmidt and T.J. Kemp cycled the puck on the power play before handing the puck off to O'Sullivan for the game-winning goal.
Moulson collected the insurance goal at 15:11 of the second stanza by tipping in left wing Noah Clarke's slap shot from the right point. Defenseman Eric Werner sent the puck from the left point over to Clarke for the blast.
Ramo returned to the pipes for the third period and stopped all four shots in the period.
Monarchs center Gabe Gauthier stole the puck at center ice and tapped in the empty netter at 18:48 of the final period.
LaBarbera earned his 20th win of the season with 31 saves. Ramo stopped 16-of-18 shots in two periods of work. Boutin took the loss stopping one shot.
Manchester went 3-for-5 on the power play. Springfield was 1-for-5 with the man advantage.