MANCHESTER, NH – Rookie right wing Konstantin Pushkarev collected a hat trick and the Manchester Monarchs scored four-goals in the second period to crush the San Antonio Rampage 6-1 at the Verizon Wireless Arena in front of 6,287 fans on Wednesday night.
Manchester (29-14-1-4, 63 points) is in second place in the Atlantic Division. San Antonio (14-29-1-4, 33 points) is in seventh place in the West Division.
The Monarchs jumped on the scoreboard at 8:57 of the first period with Pushkarev's first of three goals on the evening. Defenseman Joey Mormina shot the puck from the left point through traffic and onto Pushkarev's stick to the right of the net. Pushkarev flipped the puck over sprawling goaltender David LeNeveu for his 13th goal of the season. Center Greg Hogeboom also assisted on the first goal of the game as Mormina's shot caromed off of him and directly to Pushkarev.
Left wing Noah Clarke made the score 2-0 when he put in his ninth goal of the season at 2:49 of the second period. Right wing Brad Smyth collected the puck behind the Rampage net from forward Brendan Bernakevitch. Smyth held the puck behind the net while he looked for the perfect play. Clarke positioned himself at the edge of the left face-off circle and retrieved the pass from Smyth and one-timed it over the glove side of LeNeveu.
Smyth collected a goal of his own at 6:25 of the middle frame. Bernakevitch shot the puck from the far boards that deflected off of LeNeveu and to Smyth who collected his team leading 23rd goal of the season. Defenseman Marty Wilford earned an assist on the goal that made the game 3-0.
With the puck deep in the Rampage's zone, right wing Lauri Tukonen picked up the rebound from center Connor James' attempted stuff-in and sent a slap shot trickling through the pads of LeNeveu. Left wing Jeff Tambellini also assisted on Tukonen's eighth goal of the season at 7:28 of the second period.
Pushkarev scored his second goal of the night and 14th of the season at 12:51 of the second period. The puck was spinning around the right goal post and left wing Petr Kanko took a whack at it, followed by center Matt Ryan and then Pushkarev who's final poke sent the puck spiraling into the net to give the Monarchs a 5-0 lead.
LeNeveu was replaced following two periods of action by Karl Goehring.
Center Pascal Rheaume ended Monarchs goaltender Barry Brust's shutout bid by collecting his ninth goal of the season at 11:22 of the third period. Defenseman David Cornacchia sent a shot from the point toward Brust. Right wing Randall Gelech got in the way of Cornacchia's shot and the puck deflected over to Rheaume who had a wide open net with Brust sprawled across the crease.
Pushkarev finished off the scoring with his third goal of the game for his first career hat trick. Mormina passed the puck up to Ryan who carried the puck into the Rampage's zone. Ryan sent a pass over to Pushkarev in the slot who fired a shot under the arm of Goehring at 17:18 of the third period.
Brust (12-5-1) stopped 26 shots in his 12th win of the season. LeNeveu (5-10-2) was credited with the loss stopping 21 of the 26 shots that he faced through two periods of work. Goehring (2-5-1) stopped six shots in the 20-minutes of work.
Manchester went 0-for-3 on the power play. San Antonio was 0-for-3 with the man advantage.