WORCESTER, MA – Goaltender Daniel Taylor stopped 37-of-40 shots in regulation and 4-of-5 shootout attempts for his first AHL win as the Manchester Monarchs edged the Worcester Sharks 4-3 in a shootout in front of 3,113 fans at the DCU Center on Friday night.
Manchester (9-11-2-1) is ranked fifth in the Atlantic Division with 21 points. Worcester (8-9-1-2) is in seventh place in the Atlantic Division with 19 points.
Following a scoreless third period and overtime session, Taylor denied four shootout snipers as center Mike Iggulden was the only Sharks player to get the puck past him. Monarchs left wing Matt Moulson and center David Meckler beat Sharks netminder Thomas Greiss for the shootout win.
Monarchs left wing Jeff Giuliano tallied his second goal in as many games at 11:25 of the first period to give Manchester the early lead. Giuliano crashed the net and positioned himself in front of Greiss. Left wing Petr Kanko threw the puck out front for Giuliano to finish off. Left wing Paul Crosty earned his first point of the season with an assist on Giuliano's third goal of the season.
One minute and six seconds later, left wing Lukas Kaspar evened the score at 1-1. Kaspar took the puck into the Monarchs zone and fore-checked his way to an open slot. Snapping a wrist shot from just inside the left circle, Kaspar beat Taylor at 12:31 of the opening frame for his third tally of the season.
Center Patrick Jarrett gave the Monarchs their lead back at 13:40 of the first stanza with his second goal of the season. Defensemen Joe Piskula and Jeff Likens passed puck along the blueline until Likens found the shooting lane. Likens' shot from the left point traveled through a sea of bodies, bounced off of Jarrett and into the net for a 2-1 advantage.
At 14:06 of the first period, Monarchs right wing Kevin Westgarth squared off with defenseman Brad Staubitz for a brief dual. Two weeks ago, Staubitz broke Monarchs right wing Vladimir Dravecky's orbital bone in an on-ice altercation at the Verizon Wireless Arena. Dravecky has yet to return to Manchester's lineup.
Midway through the second period, Worcester jumped out to a 3-2 lead with two power play goals 40 seconds apart as Crosty sat in the penalty box with a double minor for roughing and unsportsmanlike conduct. Defenseman Derek Joslin lit the lamp at 9:12 of the middle frame as he collected the puck between the hash marks, turned around and beat Taylor for his second goal of the season. Forward Mike Morris and Iggulden assisted on the goal to bring the game to a 2-2 tie.
Defenseman Patrick Traverse scored his third tally of the season at 9:52 of the second period as the Sharks skated on the power play. Worcester cycled the puck from defenseman Dan Spang to center Tomas Plihal. The Sharks power play unit found Traverse open at the center point. Traverse floated a slap shot through traffic and past the screened goaltender.
Worcester's lead did not last long as the Monarchs retaliated with defenseman Brian Boyle's ninth goal of the season. Facing off in the right circle of the Sharks zone, center Trevor Lewis won the draw back to Boyle at the top of the circle. Boyle fired a slap shot past Greiss as Moulson skated toward the net for the partial screen.
Manchester went 0-for-2 on the power play. Worcester was 2-for-5 with the man advantage.
Taylor earned his first AHL win in his debut by stopping 37-of-40 shots through 65 minutes of play. Greiss took the loss with 20 saves.