Manchester (33-17-1-5, 72 points) collected their 33rd win of the season and hold on to first place in the Atlantic Division with 72 points. Springfield (24-25-1-3, 52 points) sits in fifth place in the Atlantic Division with 52 points.
“It had to be entertaining for the fans, [it was] another great crowd,” remarked Monarchs Head Coach Mark Morris.
“This is a tough league,” Morris said in regards to concluding the four games in five day home stand. “Your fourth game in five nights, we found a way - that’s a great sign.”
Right wing Brandon Kozun
scored his second goal of the night at 15:41 of the third period to give the Monarchs their first lead of the night. Center Oscar Moller skated with the puck through the neutral zone toward the left face-off circle. Moller spotted fellow center Corey Elkins
who was openly positioned off of goaltender David LeNeveu’s left side due to the Monarchs power play situation. He fired the pass to Elkins who tried to skillfully sneak it past the Springfield goaltender, but was denied. Kozun patiently awaited a rebound in the crease, and despite being crowded with Falcons sticks, managed to get his own stick on the puck, pushing it past LeNeveu.
Center Ben Guite scored his 10th goal of the season for the opening goal of the game at 2:03 of the first period. After receiving the puck at the right face-off circle from left wing Maxim Mayorov, defenseman Mike Commodore fired a shot at Monarchs goaltender Martin Jones
. After making the initial save, Jones was unable to retain the puck. Guite made a well-timed diving stretch toward the crease, knocking the puck past Jones stick side.
Left wing Dwight King
scored his 17th goal of the season at 8:14 of the first period to even the score at one apiece. Springfield set themselves up to clear the puck and begin their drive toward the Monarchs zone, however the attempted clearing backfired and ricocheted off of a defender’s skate. King got his stick on the puck, quickly reversed his stride and snapped a shot through the pads of LeNeveu for the game-tying goal.
Center Kyle Wilson scored his fifth goal of the season at 15:42 of the second period to give Springfield a 2-1 lead. Competing for the puck with a Monarchs defenseman in the trapezoid, left wing Dane Byers managed to send the puck up to Wilson in the right face-off circle. Wilson wristed the puck to beat Jones on his glove side.
Moller scored his 14th goal of the season at 18:48 of the second period, tying the game at two goals apiece. In the midst of a penalty kill, Moller stuck close to Springfield defenseman David Savard at the boards and stripped him of the puck in the neutral zone. Moller headed back toward Falcons territory and faked a slap shot in the right face-off circle. Forcing the goaltender out of position with the deke, Moller crept around the lunging goaltender, sneaking the puck past LeNeveu glove-side.
Wilson scored his second goal of the night at 15:19 of the third period. The Monarchs found themselves in a penalty kill situation resulting from a high-sticking call on center Justin Azevedo
15 seconds before. Savard carried the puck near the point before dishing it off to center Tom Sestito in the right face-off circle. Sestito sent the puck through the slot to Wilson who one-timed it right past Jones stick side, giving the Falcons their third lead of the game.
Kozun tallied his 13th goal of the season at 11:53 of the third period. In the midst of a 5-on-3 advantage, the Monarchs were able to spread out their offense. Elkins delivered the puck to Moller above the slot, who then slapped the puck at LeNeveu. The goaltender made the initial save but could not trap it and the puck trickled back out into the crease toward center Marc-Andre Cliche
. Tied up by a Springfield defender, Cliche was taken out of the play which forced Kozun to take the lead as he knocked the puck home for his first goal of the game.
Left wing David Meckler
scored his 14th goal of the season at 16:04 of the third period for the Monarchs final goal of the contest. After collecting the puck from fellow winger Richard Clune
in the face-off circle, Meckler wristed a quick shot at the Falcons netminder, but was denied. The puck bounced back into the crease and after a few seconds of struggling with the Falcons defense, Meckler was able to reposition himself to knock the puck past LeNeveu for the Monarchs fifth goal.
Jones (19-6-1) collected his 19th win of the season, stopping 26-of-29 shots on goal. LeNeveu (13-13-2) suffered his 13th loss of the season, halting 28-of-33 shots on goal.
Manchester was 2-for-7 on the power play. Springfield was 1-for-5 with the man advantage.Notables:
Left wing Dwight King
scored his third goal in two nights with his first period tally…The Monarchs have scored five or more goals in each of their last two nights...Center Oscar Moller scored a shorthanded goal this evening for the Monarchs; it was Manchester’s sixth shorthanded tally of the season and his second goal of the season with the Monarchs on the penalty kill…The last Monarchs shorthanded goal was scored by center Jordan Nolan
on December 29 against Adirondack…Right wing Brandon Kozun
has four points in his last three games (3-1=4).