After leading their division most of the season, Manchester lost some ground over the weekend and now sit in third place with 25 points – trailing the Providence Bruins and Worcester Sharks.
They had an offensive explosion on Saturday, posting nine goals on the Connecticut Whale. However, after losses on Friday (Providence) and Sunday (Worcester), the Monarchs have now only registered four wins in their last 13 games. Making matters worse, they haven’t won back-to-back games since October.
If you’re looking a bright spot in yesterday’s 3-2 loss to the Atlantic Division leading Sharks, it would most likely be the first goal of the season scored by LA Kings 2007 first round draft pick Thomas Hickey.
Game recap provided by the Monarchs…
MANCHESTER, NH – The Manchester Monarchs dropped two third period goals and fell to the Worcester Sharks, 3-2, at the Verizon Wireless Arena on Sunday afternoon.
Manchester (11-10-2-1) ranks third in the Atlantic Division with 25 points. Worcester (12-8-1-2) leads the division with 27 points.
“Well, we made some costly mistakes around our net,” said Monarchs Head Coach Mark Morris. “Credit Worcester with a gutsy effort. They weren’t going away and we just got out muscled in front of the net. That was the difference in the game. I know we’re not happy with today’s result and we’ll get back to work and reinforce what we saw last night.”
The Sharks took a 3-2 lead at 11:56 of the third period with a goal by right wing Brodie Reid. Center James Sheppard fed the puck to Reid who carried it down the right wing and into the Monarchs zone on a two-on-one breakaway. Reid skated inside the right wing face-off circle before roofing a wrist shot high on the glove side of goaltender Peter Mannino for the goal. Defenseman Mike Brennan also tallied an assist on Reid’s fourth goal of the season and the eventual game-winning tally.
The Monarchs opened the scoring with a five-on-three power play goal by defensemen Thomas Hickey at 5:24 of the first period. Center Andrei Loktionov sent a pass from the left wing half wall to defenseman Bryan Rodney at the left point. Rodney skated to the top of the left wing face-off circle where he found Hickey between the top of the face-off circles. Hickey fired a wrist shot through traffic that found the back of the net high on the glove side of Sharks goaltender Harri Sateri for his first goal of the season.
The Sharks tied the game at 1-1 with a goal by left wing John McCarthy at 15:47 of the second period. Center Bracken Kearns passed the puck from the right wing half wall to center Tim Kennedy who received it in between the hash marks. Kennedy dangled the puck while he skated to in front of the net before flipping a backhand for McCarthy on the left doorstep. McCarthy put the puck in the back of the net for his third goal of the season.
Manchester took the lead, 2-1, with a goal by left wing Dwight King at 19:10 of the second period. Loktionov passed the puck from the right wing half wall back to Rodney at the right point who had just come off the Monarchs bench. Rodney wristed a shot intentionally wide of the net for King who was positioned in the slot. King deflected the puck off his backhand beating Sateri high on the glove side for his third goal of the season.
Worcester tied the game at 2-2 on the power play with a goal by center Tim Kennedy at 8:28 in the third period. Kearns fed the puck to Kennedy from the right wing circle to Kennedy in the slot. Kennedy walked in and slipped the puck past the outstretched pad of Mannino on the right doorstep. Reid also tallied an assist on Kennedy’s 12th goal of his season.
Mannino (4-2-0) took his second loss of the season stopping 40-of-43 shots. Sateri (4-4-1) earned his fourth victory of the season making 21 saves on 23 shots.
Manchester went 1-for-4 on the power play. Worcester was 1-for-6 with the man advantage.
Notables: The Monarchs scored their first power play goal in five games…Manchester has a record of 6-7-2-0 at home this season…Defenseman Thomas Hickey scored his first goal of the season and his first tally since March 11, 2012.
The Monarchs return to action against the Portland Pirates (Phoenix Coyotes affiliate) this Friday night.