Highlights and notes from Manch – Forbort talks, top line shines

As we reported last weekend, defenseman Derek Forbort, the Kings’ 2010 first round draft pick, has signed his Entry Level Contract and turned pro. After getting adjusted to things via a couple practices in Manchester this week, he made his official debut Friday night vs. Connecticut.

But first, he shared some thoughts with MayorsManor…

- On what went into the decision process to turn pro: “It just came down to me wanting to continue my path of development I think. This was a step I had to take, and it was a tough choice leaving North Dakota, but something I had to do for my hockey career…I would’ve loved to go back and compete for a National Championship with North Dakota, but it was just a decision I had to make. It was a tough one, but it was something I had to do.”

- On if the Kings recent success factored into the decision: “Yeah, definitely. Seeing them win the Stanley Cup last year just makes me hungrier and makes me want to work harder to try and get out there and hopefully be part of something like that someday.”

- On if he felt this year was his most consistent season given the challenges he had faced prior: “Yeah, definitely. I was just able to bring that consistency to my game that you need to bring at the pro level. That was the main thing I worked on this year, having consistency in my game and not having those ups and downs. Plus, it was nice being healthy all year….Mike O’Connell (part of the Kings’ Pro Development team) had talked to me a lot about being hard to play against, bringing it every night. So I focused on the consistency and effort.”

- On changing from his familiar number four to jersey number three: “Sounds good. I’ve never had a big preference on numbers… I might have to (change my twitter). That number thing won’t work anymore. So, I’m gonna have to change that.”

- On the Kings likely retiring number four before he makes it to the NHL: “That’s awesome. I met Rob Blake when I was out in LA, and he seems like such an awesome guy. I grew up watching him play. He’s someone that I tried to resemble my game after growing up. So that’s awesome for him. Excellent. He deserves it.”

As for the game itself, it was the Monarchs top line that produced much of the offense, with center Linden Vey recording two assists, while Tanner Pearson contributed a goal and an assist. Here are some highlights, followed by a full game recap…

Game report provided by the Monarchs, LA Kings’ AHL affiliate…

MANCHESTER, NH – Left wing Tanner Pearson tallied the game-winning goal for the Manchester Monarchs as they defeated the Connecticut Whale, 3-1, at the Verizon Wireless Arena on Friday night.

Manchester (33-31-3-4) is in third place in the Atlantic Division with 73 points. Connecticut (35-29-5-3) is in second place in the Northeast Division with 78 points.

“We played really hard against a good team and their goaltender was fabulous,” said Monarchs Head Coach Mark Morris. “He (Cameron Talbot) made a lot of key stops. I thought our start was the key to our win. We had a real strong first period. We found ourselves down by a goal as they scored on a funky one on our penalty kill. We were able to tie it up with our energy level and the compete we showed against a really good hockey team.”

The Monarchs took a 2-1 lead with a goal by Pearson at 18:57 of the second period. Vey won a puck battle in the right wing corner by poking the puck free behind the Whale net. Right wing Brandon Kozun grabbed the loose puck and fed Pearson in front where he finished it off by scoring the eventual game-winning goal and his 15th tally of the season.

The Whale opened the scoring at 18:50 with a power play goal by left wing Chris Kreider. Whale center Kris Newbury received a pass on the left wing in front of the penalty boxes and fired a pass across to right wing Benn Ferriero who batted the puck out of the air causing a loose puck at the center point of the Monarchs zone. Kreider picked up the puck as he gained the Monarchs zone and split the Manchester defenders. Kreider got behind the defense and skated in on Monarchs goaltender Martin Jones before lifting a backhand shot on the right doorstep for his 12th goal of the season.

The Monarchs tied the game at 1-1 when center Jordan Weal scored a power play goal at 17:05 of the second period. Defenseman David Kolomatis took control of the puck at the right point and passed to center Linden Vey in the left wing face-off circle. Vey skated down to the bottom of the left wing face-off circle and passed the puck across to Weal on the right doorstep. The puck deflected off Weal’s skate and beat netminder Cameron Talbot for the goal and Weal’s 15th tally of the season.

Right wing Brandon Kozun scored an empty net, power play goal at 19:23 of the third period. Pearson corralled the puck in the Monarchs zone and played it to Kolomatis where he quickly found Kozun up the right wing boards in the neutral zone. Kozun broke free and skated in all alone before slipping it into the back of the net for his 25th goal of the season.

Jones (23-25-4) earned his 23rd win of the season stopping 19-of-20 shots. Talbot (25-25-1) took his 25th loss of the season making 42 saves on 45 shots.

Manchester went 2-for-6 on the power play. Connecticut was 1-for-1 with the man advantage.

The Monarchs will host two more games this weekend, first the Hershey Bears on Saturday evening, then the Worcester Sharks on Sunday afternoon.

To see where Forbort, Pearson and Vey were slotted in the most recent edition of the LA Kings Top 10 Prospect Rankings, click here.

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