AHL: Highlights and notes from Berube’s season debut for Monarchs

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

MANCHESTER, NH – The Manchester Monarchs fought back but fell short in a 4-3 overtime loss to the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins at the Verizon Wireless Arena on Sunday afternoon.

Manchester (4-0-1-2) leads the top of the Atlantic Division with 11 points.  Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (6-0-0-0) leads the East Division with 12 points.

“I’m proud of my guys but I’m always going to demand more because I know there’s more in there,” said Head Coach Mark Morris.  “I think mentally we’re a little soft right now, too many mental mistakes to pull it out.  When we get a little more experience under our belt, sometimes you got to have these little pitfalls and some of these glitches that you got to work through because you really can’t teach experience.  We still want to be bull-headed and do things by ourselves.  I think we could’ve had better puck support tonight and times where we needed to be sharper with how we managed the puck by just playing a north-south game, and when we start doing that we’re going to win more.”

Overtime did not last long as defenseman Brendan Mikkelson and center Brian Gibbons broke into the Monarchs zone on a 2-on-1.  Gibbons fed Mikkelson the puck for a one-timer that beat Monarchs goaltender J.F. Berube just 22-seconds into the period to give the Penguins the 4-3 win.  The goal was Mikkelson’s first of the season.

The Penguins jumped out in front first with a power play goal at 8:08 in the first period.  Gibbons’ attempted a pass from behind the net which was deflected up and dropped in behind Berube for his third tally of the season.  Defenseman Brian Dumoulin also assisted on the first goal of the game.

As the opening period winded down, the Monarchs answered back when left wing Andy Andreoff was fed a pass by forward Nick Shore as he broke into the Penguins’ zone.  Andreoff skated down the left wing and sent the puck toward the net.  Right wing Sean Backman redirected the pass between the legs of Penguins’ goaltender Jeff Deslauriers for his first goal of the season at 18:29 of the first frame.

Penguins’ center Andrew Ebbett scored his second tally of the season on a tape-to-tape pass from Gibbons in the slot.  Ebbett faked and moved to his backhand to put the puck past Berube and put the Penguins ahead 2-1 at 11:35 of the middle stanza.  Center Mike Carman earned an assists on the goal.

The Monarchs ended the second period in a similar fashion to the first.  Center Jordan Weal sent a point-to-point pass across to defenseman Andrew Bodnarchuk who blasted a one-timer past Deslauriers and into the back of the net to tie the game up, 2-2, with 1:11 remaining in the second period.  Bodnarchuk’s third goal of the season came only 35 seconds into a roughing penalty against right wing Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond.

The Penguins regained their lead early in the third period as Carmen intercepted Bodnarchuk’s pass from behind the net.  Carmen fed the puck to Gibbons who wristed a shot past Berube’s glove for his second goal of the game.

Monarchs defenseman Nick Deslauriers posted his first goal of the season to tie the game up at 3-3 late in the third period.  Weal picked up a pass from right wing Brandon Kozun and skated down the left wing.  In the face-off circle, Weal fired a shot on net that Penguins’ netminder made a pad save on.  Monarchs’ Deslauriers was crashing the net and picked up the rebound.  The defenseman flipped a backhand shot into the top corner of the net to push the game to overtime.

Berube (0-1-0) dropped his first start of the season, in overtime, stopping 19 out of 23 shots.  Deslauriers (5-0-0) continued to be unbeaten through five starts making 31 saves on 34 shots.

Manchester was 1-for-6 on the power play.  Wilkes-Barre/Scranton was also 1-for-6 with the man advantage.

Notables:  Of the Monarchs’ first seven games, six have gone beyond regulation…Sunday’s game is the first of the season to end in overtime…Manchester is 0-1 in overtime this season…Goaltender J.F. Berube made his season debut between the pipes for the Monarchs…Left wing Tanner Pearson’s point streak ended at three games as he was held off the scoreboard on Sunday…Defenseman Andrew Bodnarchuk has two goals and four points (2-2=4) in his last three games.

The Monarchs are back on the road for a game against the Worcester Sharks on Wednesday.

Follow @AndyTonge1 for more Monarchs notes and quotes.

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