MANCHESTER, NH – A power play goal, a shorthanded goal, an empty net goal and three goals at even strength lifted the Springfield Falcons over the Manchester Monarchs in front of 6,978 fans at the Verizon Wireless Arena on Wednesday night.
Manchester (40-28-3-4, 87 points) is in third place in the Atlantic Division. Springfield (26-39-3-6, 61 points) is in sixth place in the Atlantic Division.
Fresh off a trip to Los Angeles, right wing Konstantin Pushkarev rejoined the Monarchs in style as he scored his 19th goal of the season at 9:52 of the first period. On the power play, center Connor James interrupted the Falcons clearing pass at the left face-off circle. James shot the puck on net and the rebound bounced to the edge of the crease. With the puck slightly behind him, Pushkarev slipped his stick between his legs and lifted the puck over Springfield's goaltender Jonathan Boutin.
The Falcons answered back with three goals before the buzzer sounded signifying the end of the opening period. Left wing Zdenek Blatny started things off with his 20th goal of the season at 12:22. Blatny skated down the right wing and fired a shot from the right face-off circle past Monarchs goaltender Adam Hauser. Center Jason Jaspers and right wing Marek Kvapil assisted on the goal to make the score 1-1.
Right wing Norm Milley scored a shorthanded goal at 17:52. Forward Ryan Vesce fed the puck up to Milley for the breakaway. Milley skated down the center of the ice and then nudged the puck between Hauser's right pad and the right goal post for his 16th goal of the season.
Vesce gave the Falcons a two-goal lead at 19:41 of the opening frame as he ricocheted the puck off the goal post and into the net for his 17th tally of the season. Defenseman P.J. Atherton and defenseman Doug O'Brien assisted on Vesce's power play goal.
Milley collected his second of the night at 11:26 of the second period. Atherton tossed the puck on net and Milley picked up the rebound and flipped it up and over Hauser's left pad. Left wing Mitch Fritz earned an assist on the play.
Goaltender Barry Brust replaced Hauser following the second period of play.
Jaspers redirected a pass from left wing Zbynek Hrdel for his 26th goal of the season at 2:30 of the final period. Fritz sent a pass from neutral ice to the streaking Hrdel to start off the play that eventually gave Springfield the 5-1 lead.
Right wing Tim Jackman tallied his eighth of the season to put the Monarchs on the scoreboard again at 3:28 of the final stanza. Center Matt Ryan fed the puck up to Jackman who skated down the right wing and fired a shot past Boutin from the right face-off circle.
Monarchs right wing Alexandre Daigle brought the game to 5-3 with his sixth goal of the season at 16:02 of the third period. Center Greg Hogeboom sent the puck over to Daigle who fired a shot into the net from the right face-off circle on the power play. Left wing Noah Clarke also assisted on the goal.
Blatny scored an empty net goal with 44-seconds remaining in the game.
Hauser (21-16-2) took the loss with 11 saves through two periods of play. Brust stopped five shots in the third period. Boutin (7-12-2) earned the win stopping 36 shots.
Manchester went 2-for-6 on the power play. Springfield was 1-for-6 with the man advantage.