MANCHESTER, NH – The Manchester Monarchs earned their first overtime victory of the season with a 3-2 win over the Providence Bruins in front of 4,809 fans at the Verizon Wireless Arena on Wednesday night.
Manchester (17-16-0-5, 39 points) is tied for fourth place in the Atlantic Division. Providence (22-14-2-1, 47 points) is in first place in the Atlantic Division.
At 3:13 of the overtime stanza, right wing Trevor Lewis sent the Monarchs fans home very happy with the game-winning tally. Lewis ripped a snap shot at the top of the right face-off circle that got deflected off a defender’s stick and took a weird bounce toward Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask. The deflection fooled Rask who was not able to keep the puck from lighting up the lamp. This was Lewis’ team leading ninth tally of the year. Defenseman Davis Drewiske received the lone assist on the goal.
“It was a strange way to end the game but we’re delighted for the two points,” said Monarchs Head Coach Mark Morris.
At the 4:56 mark in the first period, Providence got on the board when right wing Brad Marchand notched his seventh tally of the season. Right wing Mikko Lehtonen ripped a snap shot at the top of the left face-off circle. Monarchs’ netminder Jeff Zatkoff made the initial save but the rebound landed on Marchand’s stick who put the puck in the back of the net. Defenseman Jeff Penner also received an assist on the goal.
Only 39 seconds later, the Monarchs evened the score when center Gabe Gauthier tallied his fourth goal of the season and first of the night. Gauthier picked up the puck from Lewis and positioned himself on the endline to the left of Rask. Looking to connect with left wing Matt Moulson in the slot, Gauthier tossed the puck into the crease. The saucer bounced off of Rask and trickled over the goal line to even the score at 1-1 with a power play tally. Left wing Scott Parse picked up an assist on the play.
Gauthier put the Monarchs ahead when he notched his fifth tally of the season and second power play goal of the night. Lewis took a slap shot just inside the blueline. Rask made the initial save but the rebound bounced right on Gauthier’s stick for the go-ahead goal. Moulson earned the other assist on the tally at 14:53 of the final frame.
“It’s good to have Gauthier and Moulson back in the lineup,” said Morris. “It’s apparent the chemistry still exists with them. With their poise and patience with the puck combined with the speed of (Ryan) Murphy and (Jon) Rheault, we can put together some pretty good lines.”
At the 18:23 mark of the third period, the Bruins got the equalizer to send the game to overtime. Right wing Martins Karsums notched his team leading 16th goal of the season on the power play. Marchand maneuvered his way around the net and passed to defenseman Johnny Boychuck who one-timed it toward the net. Zatkoff made the pad save but the rebound landed on Karsums stick for the quick shot.
Zatkoff (1-2-0) earned his first victory on the season after stopping 29 shots. Rask (16-13-0) suffered his 13th loss of the season with 27 saves.
“We’re pleased Zatkoff has his first win as a Monarch,” said Morris. “It’s a great boost to his confidence.”
Manchester went 2-for-4 on the power play. Providence was 1-for-4 with the man advantage.