MANCHESTER, NH – Right wing John Zeiler scored his second game-winning goal of the series, this time in double overtime, to lift the Manchester Monarchs over the Worcester Sharks 4-3 in double overtime in front a crowd of 4,147 at the Verizon Wireless Arena to take a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series.
The Monarchs opened the scoring early with a power play goal by right wing Tim Jackman at 1:15 of the first period. Making his return from injury, goaltender Jason LaBarbera stopped the puck behind his own net for defenseman Oleg Tverdovsky. The two-time Stanley Cup winner made a home run pass up to Jackman at the right side of the Sharks blueline. The winger moved the puck into the zone and fired a blistering slap shot from the right face-off circle inside the right post for a 1-0 lead.
Worcester did not wait long to tie the score with their own power play goal as center Mike Iggulden lit the lamp. Left wing Mathieu Darche let a snap shot go on LaBarbera who made the rebound. However, the puck squirted out to the left doorstep where Iggulden lifted a backhand into the open net. Right wing Graham Mink also earned an assist on the goal. The tally occurred at 3:39 of first frame.
In the second period, the Monarchs recaptured the lead at the 8:53 mark. Center Brian Boyle collected the puck in front of the Sharks net and ripped a wrist shot wide. The puck bounced off the boards and went to center Matt Ryan who was stationed on the right post. Ryan cradled the puck, switched to his backhand and poked the puck home. Right wing Lauri Tukonen collected an assist on the goal.
At 1:07 of the third frame, the Sharks tied the score for the second time in the game. With sticks and bodies flailing in front of LaBarbera's net, the Sharks started hacking away as Iggulden and Mink were able to get wood on the puck. It was Darche who finally put the puck in the back of the net for a 2-2 tie.
Darche tallied again on an unassisted goal that gave Worcester their first lead of the series, 3-2. The winger flew down the left boards and entered the Monarchs zone. Darche then fired a snap shot over the glove of LaBarbera. The goal happened at 7:14 of the third period.
Monarchs center Patrick O'Sullivan tied the score at 3-3 at 9:07 of the final stanza. Monarchs defensemen Peter Harrold and Tverdovsky made multiple passes at the top of the point. Tverdovsky then moved a pass down to O'Sullivan along the right boards. The center cut into the middle and fired a snap shot inside the left post past the blocker of Sharks goaltender Thomas Greiss.
With thirty seconds remaining in regulation the Monarchs thought they had moved ahead 4-3. However, the men in stripes called the goal off saying it was tipped in with a high stick.
With just 47.3 seconds left in the second overtime, the Monarchs made fish food out of the Sharks with Zeiler's second goal of the series. Tverdovsky fed center Gabe Gauthier with a pass just inside Worcester's blueline. Gauthier fired a slap shot that was blocked by a Sharks' defenseman. The redirection went to the stick of Zeiler who let the shot go while being tripped. The puck traveled over the left shoulder of Greiss and into the back of the net to give the Monarchs a 2-0 lead in the series.
LaBarbera earned the victory with 44 saves on 47 shots. Greiss took the loss saving 43-of-47.
Manchester went 2-for-10 with the man advantage. Worcester was 2-for-7 on the power play.