PROVIDENCE, RI – Three unanswered goals in the third period dropped the Manchester Monarchs to a 5-4 loss to the Providence Bruins at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center on Sunday evening.
Manchester (12-6-1-2) is tied with the Lowell Devils (12-6-3-0) for first place in the Atlantic Division with 27 points each. Providence (9-10-1-0) ranks eighth in the Atlantic Division with 19 points.
“It’s just an unbelievable event that unraveled,” said Monarchs Head Coach Mark Morris. “Otherwise, we were playing quite well. Our power play was clicking, we had good goaltending and we were moving the puck well.
“We kept possession of the puck on the power play and had some good shots. Our penalty kill was strong defensively.”
Defenseman Andrew Bodnarchuk finished off the Bruins comeback with his first goal of the season at 19:12 of the final period. Right wing Brad Marchand set up Bodnarchuk along the left wing boards. At the half wall, Bodnarchuk snapped a wrist shot that fluttered through the air and beat Monarchs goaltender Jonathan Bernier and give the game to the Bruins, 5-4.
The Monarchs started off the first period by scoring a power play goal on each of their first three power play opportunities. Right wing Brandon Segal struck first with his sixth goal of the season at 4:26 of the opening frame after the Bruins were called for too many men on the ice. Defenseman Thomas Hickey found Segal at the right face-off dot for the shot and goal. Defenseman David Kolomatis picked up an assist on the first goal of the game.
Left wing Bud Holloway doubled the Monarchs lead with his sixth tally of the season at 6:45 of the first period. Segal found Holloway in the bottom of the left face-off circle for the one-timer that beat goaltender Dany Sabourin. Defenseman Alec Martinez recorded his second assist in as many games on the goal.
Center Corey Elkins jammed in the puck from point blank range to put the Monarchs up 3-0 at 10:38 of the first period. Kolomatis fed the puck to Segal who put it on net for Elkins to pick up the rebound and score his sixth goal of the season.
Just 21 seconds after Elkins goal, the Bruins answered back with a tally from center Jamie Arniel. Providence was putting pressure on the Monarchs and Arniel shot the puck from the bottom of the right face-off circle to beat Bernier. Right wing Mikko Lehtonen and Marchand set up Arniel for his sixth goal of the season.
Providence came to within one goal at the beginning of the second period when defenseman Adam McQuaid scored his second goal of the season at 2:18. McQuaid narrowly kept the puck in the Monarchs zone at the center point before he turned and ripped a slap shot toward the net. The puck traveled through multiple bodies that were screening Bernier and found the netting. Left wing Guillaume Lefebvre earned the lone assist on the goal that brought the score to 3-2.
The Monarchs fourth goal of the game came shorthanded at 4:21 of the middle stanza. Defenseman Drew Bagnall sprung a 3-on-2 rush up the ice with center Marc-Andre Cliche leading the way along the right wing. Once Cliche skated into the right face-off circle, he threw the puck on net for a quick tip in by defenseman Joe Piskula. The goal brought the Monarchs to a 4-2 advantage.
Providence scored three unanswered goals in the third period to take the lead with less than one minute remaining on the clock. McQuaid started the scoring frenzy with his second goal of the night at 7:43 of the final stanza. Lefebvre found McQuaid at the left point for the slap shot that beat Bernier and brought the score to 4-3. Center Drew Larman assisted on McQuaid’s third goal of the season.
Right wing Kirk MacDonald tied the game at 4-4 with his fifth tally of the season at 8:34 of the third period. Marchand kept the puck in along the left wing wall and fed Arniel the puck. The center skated toward Bernier and then passed the puck back to MacDonald between the hash marks for the wrister into the top of the net.
Bernier (8-5-2) took his fifth loss of the season with 36 saves. Sabourin (9-6-0) earned his ninth win of the season stopping 21 shots.
Manchester went 3-for-5 on the power play. Providence was 0-for-6 with the man advantage.
Notables: Manchester lost their first back-to-back regulation games of the season…The Monarchs scored three power play goals and one shorthanded tally…Manchester tallied their third shorthanded goal of the season…Right wing Brandon Segal collected three points (1-2=3) for the second time this season; he collected three assists on October 18 against Springfield…The two fasted goals combined between teams was recorded tonight when Monarchs center Corey Elkins and Bruins center Jamie Arniel scored 21 seconds apart in the first period.