With the victory, Manchester (8-6-1-1) improved to second place in the Atlantic Division with 18 points. Springfield (8-6-0-1) falls to a tie for third place in the Atlantic Division with 17 points.
“We were moving in the wrong direction,” said Monarchs Head Coach Mark Morris in reference to Manchester’s two game losing streak entering Sunday’s game. “Today was encouraging. The effort was there from the get-go. It was good to see our guys respond and be rewarded for sticking in there for the full 60 minutes.”
Center Andrei Loktionov scored the game-winning goal at 16:42 of the third period. Following an offensive zone face-off win by center Oscar Moller, the Monarchs cycled the puck back to the point. The puck eventually found the stick of left wing Dwight King, positioned along the right wing boards. King slid the puck back to the point for defenseman Alec Martinez to fire a powerful shot on goal. Falcons goaltender Gustav Wesslau could not corral the blast, as the puck trickled away from the lunging netminder’s grasp. At the left post, Loktionov put back the rebound to give the Monarchs a 3-2 lead late in the third period.
Left wing Matt Calvert scored his seventh goal of the season, a shorthanded marker, at 12:07 of the first period. A turnover in the neutral zone by the Monarchs proved costly, as Calvert carried the intercepted puck across the blueline on a breakaway. A quick deke at the top of the crease slid Monarchs goaltender Jeff Zatkoff out of position and allowed Calvert to score into the empty net, giving Springfield the early 1-0 lead.
Center Ben Guite scored his second goal of the season to give the Falcons a 2-0 lead at 8:02 of the second period. Offensive-zone play was initiated down low by Calvert, who wristed a pass back to the point to defenseman John Moore. With an open lane, Moore fired a slap shot into the slot where it was redirected by Guite, positioned at the top of the goal crease.
Left wing Bud Holloway scored his second goal of the season at 11:39 of the second period. Martinez, positioned at the left point, sent the puck along the blueline to defenseman Thomas Hickey. A wrist shot toward the net struck a Falcons defender near the right post. The puck caromed across to the left post where Holloway was positioned in front of the wide open net. With force, Holloway fired the puck into the net to cut the Falcons lead in half in the second period.
Holloway scored his second goal of the evening at 10:18 of the third period. Firmly entrenched in the offensive zone, defenseman Patrick Mullen skated in from the right wing, around the net and directly to the left point. A quick feed to his right was collected by his defensive partner Martinez. With his third assist on the night, Martinez fired a slap shot on goal from the point that caught the blade of Holloway’s stick. The deflection beat Wesslau to knot the game at 2-2 in the middle of the third period.
Moller gave the Monarchs an insurance tally with 24 seconds remaining in the third period. With the extra man on the ice, Guite attempted to cycle the puck over to Calvert. The puck caught Calvert’s skate and the ensuing deflection fell onto the stick of defenseman Viatcheslav Voynov who cleared the puck toward the wide open neutral zone. A sprinting King collected Voynov’s feed and connected with Moller on a pass off of the right wing boards. Skating unopposed to the right face-off circle, Moller flipped the puck into the empty cage for his first goal of the season.
Zatkoff (5-5-1) earned the victory in goal for the Monarchs, making 16 saves on 18 shots on goal. Wesslau (1-1-0) took his first loss of the season, halting 37-of-40 shots on net.
Manchester was 1-for-10 on the power play. Springfield was 0-for-2 with the man advantage.
Notables: The Monarchs collected their first win of the season when trailing after the second period…Defenseman Alec Martinez recorded three assists for the second time this season, also tying a team season-high in points in the process…Left wing Bud Holloway’s last two-goal game came on January 24, 2010 against the Hershey Bears…Center Oscar Moller’s empty net marker was his first goal of the season…The Monarchs allowed their first shorthanded goal on home ice this season.
The Monarchs will host the Hartford Wolf Pack at the Verizon Wireless Arena on Wednesday, November 17 at 11:00 a.m. Catch all of the play-by-play action of Monarchs hockey with Ken Cail on the Monarchs Radio Network WGAM 900/1250 AM and at www.manchestermonarchs.com.