LOWELL, MA – Left wing Stephen Gionta scored two third period goals to burn the Manchester Monarchs with a 3-2 defeat to the Lowell Devils in front of 1,636 fans at the Tsongas Arena on Friday night.
Manchester (3-4-1-1) is in seventh place in the Atlantic Division with eight points. Lowell (5-4-0-0) is in fifth place in the Atlantic Division with 10 points.
Gionta collected two goals and an assist in the 3-2 Devils win. At the nine-minute mark of the third period, Gionta scored his second tally of the night and fourth of the season. He shot the puck off the chest of Monarchs goaltender Dan Cloutier and then pounced on the rebound at the bottom of the left face-off circle. Gionta flipped it into the open net as Cloutier dove to try to make the save. Center Petr Vrana earned the lone assist on the game-winning goal.
Former Monarchs player and current Devils left wing Noah Clarke attacked first with a power play goal at 4:28 of the first period. Gionta fired a shot off the end boards that took an awkward bounce and landed on Clarke's stick at the bottom of the right face-off circle for the goal. Veteran right wing Grant Marshall earned an assist on Clarke's third goal of the season and first tally against his former team.
Monarchs right wing Teddy Purcell went to work in the second period with two tallies to give Manchester a 2-1 lead. The rookie's first goal came on the power play at 3:44 of the middle frame. The Monarchs cycled the puck as defenseman Peter Harrold passed it to center Gabe Gauthier. With defenseman Brian Boyle parked in front of Devils goaltender Frank Doyle, Gauthier found Purcell at the left face-off dot. Purcell settled the puck and wound up for a slap shot that squeezed past the screened goaltender for his third goal of the season.
Purcell tallied the go-ahead goal at 12:12 of the second period with his fourth tally of the season. Boyle sent a shot in on Doyle that bounced to Purcell at the right face-off circle. The right winger snapped a wrist shot into the open net as Doyle could not recover from Boyle's initial shot. Harrold earned his second assist of the night on the goal that gave the Monarchs a 2-1 lead.
Gionta went to work in the third period tallying two goals of his own. At 2:53 of the final stanza, Gionta picked up the puck in the left face-off circle and flipped a wrist shot into the top right corner of the Monarchs net to tie the game at 2-2. Center Ivan Khomutov and defenseman Zach Tarkir assisted on the tying goal.
Cloutier (1-4-0) took the loss with 30 save. Doyle (4-3-0) earned the victory by stopping 38-of-40 shots.
Manchester was 1-for-8 on the power play. Lowell was 1-for-4 with the man advantage.