Griffins Cast Spell On Manchester Drewiske picked up first tally of the season; Zatkoff stopped 30 shots MANCHESTER, NH ? The Manchester Monarchs dropped their first home game of 2009 in a 2-1 decision to the Grand Rapid Griffins before 7,181 fans at the Verizon Wireless Arena on Saturday night.
Manchester (16-15-0-5, 37 points) dropped to fifth place in the Atlantic Division. Grand Rapids (21-8-4-3, 49 points) ranks first in the North Division.
"We played extremely hard tonight," said Head Coach Mark Morris. "They're a veteran team and played as hard as we could play them."
The Griffins ended the game at 19:10 of the final period with a goal left wing Mattias Ritola. Center Darren Haydar picked up a pass from center Aaron Gagnon at the center point and took a slap shot on Monarchs goaltender Jeff Zatkoff. The shot reflected off the goaltender's pad to Ritola who pounced on the loose disk and put the one-timer into the left lower corner of the net.
The game remained scoreless until the third period when the Griffins broke the 0-0 tie with a goal at 2:15. Defenseman Tom Galvin brought the puck up the right boards and fed a pass to the lower left side of the slot where Haydar settled the puck and wristed the biscuit into the basket on the open left side for his 14th goal of the season.
The Monarchs answered 46 seconds after the Griffins opened the scoring with defenseman Davis Drewiske's first tally of the season at 3:01 of the third period to tie the game. Right wing Jon Rheault passed the puck to center Tyler Mosienko who made a crisp pass to the point where Drewiske ripped a snap shot past netminder Jimmy Howard from the left point.
"We had a great effort from Jeff Zatkoff, he gave us an opportunity to win," said Morris. "Their goaltender (Howard) played outstanding as well. It's unfortunate we didn't get a point out of it but at the same time, I hope we learn from the deciding play in the game."
Zatkoff (0-2-0) took his second loss of the season with 30 saves. Howard (9-8-2) earned his ninth with 26 saves on 27 shots.
Manchester went 0-for-2 on the power play. Grand Rapids was 0-for-3 with the man advantage.