Manchester (29-28-0-3) is tied with the Worcester Sharks (25-20-4-7) for second place in the Atlantic Division with 61 points. Connecticut (29-19-5-5) is in second place in the Northeast Division with 68 points.
“We didn’t give up,” said Monarchs Head Coach Mark Morris. “Going in there with a one goal lead, you would like to be able to finish it off. We had three goals against us in the third and it was just a little bit too much to come back from.”
The Whale took a 3-1 lead off the stick of right wing Kelsey Tessier at 11:43 of the third period. Whale defenseman Tim Erixon started the break out by dishing the puck up to Tessier skating through the neutral zone along the left wing. Tessier took the puck into the Monarchs zone along the left wing boards before cutting through the top of the left face-off circle toward the net. Tessier fanned on the initial wrist shot before connecting on his second attempt that beat Monarchs goaltender Jeff Zatkoff
in the top right corner.
The Monarchs opened the scoring 33 seconds into the third period with a power play goal from center Justin Azevedo
. Monarchs right wing Trent Hunter worked the puck off the left wing half wall to the stick of defenseman Jake Muzzin
at the bottom of the left face-off circle. Muzzin quickly fired a pass to the slot where Azevedo was waiting to launch a wrist shot past Whale goaltender Chad Johnson high on the glove side for his 14th goal of the season.
The Whale answered back to tie the score 1-1 at 8:06 of the third period. Whale center Jonathan Audy-Marchessault carried the puck through the neutral zone. Whale left wing Tommy Grant skated along the left wing boards corralling the pass from Audy-Marchessault as he entered the Monarchs zone. Grant stopped just over Manchester’s blueline and flicked a saucer pass to the right post where right wing Andre Deveaux tipped the puck behind Zatkoff for his 19th tally of the season.
Whale center Kris Newbury gave the Whale their first lead of the game, a 2-1 advantage at 10:23 of the third period. Newbury won an offensive zone face-off at the left wing circle back to defenseman Pavel Valentenko at the left point. Valentenko fired a wrist shot on net that was redirected in front by Newbury for his 20th goal of the season.
The Monarchs were able to score to cut the lead to 3-2 at 19:56 of the third period off the stick of Azevedo. Monarchs defenseman David Kolomatis
carried the puck along the right wing boards before centering it to defenseman Thomas Hickey
just inside the blueline. Hickey fired a slap shot on net that produced a rebound for Azevedo to bang home for his 15th goal of the season and second tally of the game.
Zatkoff (16-13-1) took his 13th loss of the season stopping 39-of-42 shots. Johnson (18-12-5) earned his 18th win of the season making 31 saves on 33 shots.
Manchester went 1-for-4 on the power play. Connecticut was 0-for-3 with the man advantage. Notables:
The Manchester Monarchs are 0-3-0-0 against the Connecticut Whale this season…Center Justin Azevedo
(15-15=30) has recorded five goals in his last six games…Defenseman David Kolomatis
(4-16=20) has recorded six assists in his last seven games.