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IceCaps score three goals in first period en route to 3-2 win over Monarchs @NHLdotcom

MANCHESTER, N.H. - The St. John?s IceCaps scored three goals in the first period and held on for a 3-2 triumph over the Manchester Monarchs in American Hockey League action Friday night.

Kevin Clark had a goal and an assist while David Aebischer stopped 35 of 37 shots for St. John?s (26-11-6), which has won three straight and four of five on their current six-game road trip.

Kenndal McArdle and Jason Gregoire also scored for the IceCaps.

Marc-Andre Cliche and Dwight King replied for Manchester (24-20-2).

The IceCaps stormed out of the gates in the opening period with McArdle scoring at the 5:19 mark after converting a beautiful feed from Spencer Machacek.

At the 9:43 mark, Ben Maxwell weaved his way through several Monarchs and left the puck for Clark, who fired a wrist shot past Monarchs goaltender Martin Jones for a 2-0 IceCaps lead.

Three minutes later Gregoire found a loose puck in the midst of a goalmouth scramble and banged home his fourth of the season, sending Jones to the bench in favour of Jeff Zatkoff.

The IceCaps outshot the Monarchs 17-11 in the first period.

Manchester finally got on the board at 8:41 of the second period when Cliche deflected Thomas Hickey???s point shot, making it 3-1 IceCaps.

The home team pulled to within one after Brandon Kozun???s nice cross-crease pass found the stick of King, who was left wide open at the side of the IceCaps net to make it 3-2.

Aebischer made several key stops in the game???s final few minutes to nail down the win.

The IceCaps now hold an eight point lead over the Monarchs for first place in the Atlantic Division with three games in hand.

St. John???s finishes up its six-game road trip and heads into the all-star break Saturday night in Portland.

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