MANCHESTER, NH – Left wing Nigel Dawes netted a pair of goals, including the game-winner as the Hartford Wolf Pack cruised to a 5-2 road win over the Manchester Monarchs in front of 8,021 fans at the Verizon Wireless Arena on Sunday evening.
Manchester (14-14-4-1) is in fifth place in the Atlantic Division with 33 points. Hartford (21-10-0-3) is in second place in the Atlantic Division with 45 points. v Hartford's third goal, and Dawes' 11th of the season and second of the night, came off an odd man rush at 11:03 of the second period. Dawes entered the zone on the right wing in a two-on-one situation. Looking to pass, but electing to shoot, Dawes ripped a blast that beat Monarchs goaltender Daniel Taylor between the pads for a five-hole goal. Wolf Pack defenseman Jake Taylor earned the lone assist on the play. The mark proved to be the game-winner, and chased the netminder from the contest. Goaltender Erik Ersberg went the remainder of the way between the pipes for Manchester as Taylor took a seat on the bench.
Hartford drew first blood at 8:42 of the second period on Dawes' 10th goal of the season. Wolf Pack right wing Pierre Parenteau controlled the puck in the high slot and found Dawes alone at the right face-off circle. Dawes quickly unleashed a shot along the ice that beat Taylor glove side. Right wing Greg Moore was credited with the secondary assist on Dawes' tally.
The Wolf Pack struck 22 seconds later on a goal by center Bruce Graham. Taylor made the initial stop on a shot by former Monarchs right wing Ryan Murphy, but Graham, stationed at the mouth of the net, jammed the puck past the downed goaltender. The goal was Graham's first of the season. Left wing Jordan Owens also earned an assist on the score.
The Wolf Pack kept up the offensive pace, with their fourth goal coming off the stick of left wing Lauri Korpikoski at 15:36 of the middle frame. With Monarchs right wing John Zeiler in the box for boarding, the Wolf Pack went to work on the power play. Hartford gained possession in the offensive zone, moving the puck around to defenseman Andrew Hutchinson who had positioned himself near the cage to Ersberg's left. Hutchinson then found a wide open Korpikoski camped at the far side of the crease, allowing the winger to tap the puck into an open net. Right wing Hugh Jessiman also collected an assist on the power play goal.
Hartford's fifth and final goal, with 47 seconds left in the second period, came off a Monarchs turnover at the Wolf Pack blueline when Moore gathered the puck and raced down the ice past Monarchs defenseman Jeff Likens. Moore cut to the front of the crease, beating Ersberg with a backhand shot that found the top shelf of the net. The goal, Moore's 17th on the season, was unassisted.
The Monarchs got on the board 54 seconds into the third period with right wing Teddy Purcell's 12th goal of the year. Purcell collected the puck at the left wing face-off circle and unleashed a snap shot that beat Hartford goaltender Miika Wiikman on the glove side. Centers Brian Boyle and Gabe Gauthier were credited with the assists on Purcell's tally.
Manchester's second goal, scored by defenseman Peter Harrold, came with 19 seconds remaining in the game and the outcome no longer in doubt. Monarchs defenseman Drew Bagnall's blocked shot bounced to Harrold in the slot, who then turned around and fired the puck past Wiikman. Purcell earned the secondary assist on the game's final goal.
Manchester went 0-for-1 on the power play. Hartford was 1-for-3 with the man advantage.
Taylor stopped 15-of-18 shots in the loss, while Ersberg stopped 9-of-11 shots in relief. Wiikman turned aside 26 shots he faced in the victory.