Game report provided by the Monarchs, LA Kings’ AHL affiliate…
MANCHESTER, NH – Center Linden Vey and left wing Tanner Pearson each collected three points as the Manchester Monarchs snapped their two-game losing streak with a 5-2 victory over the Hartford Wolf Pack at the Verizon Wireless Arena on Sunday.
Manchester (22-7-1-4) leads the Atlantic Division with 49 points. Hartford (11-16-0-4) is ranked fifth in the Northeast Division with 26 points.
“It was as close to 60 minutes as we’ve been in a long time,” said Monarchs Head Coach Mark Morris. “I think we got caught on a line change one time and other than that, just a little miscommunication on a check shortly after that gave them a couple of goals and I thought, ‘Oh boy, here we go again.’ But it was nice to get that fifth goal to right the ship and I thought we had a complete effort. It was nice to play four lines and I thought that J.F. Berube was real solid.”
Manchester scored their third goal of the night while on the power play at 14:25 of the first period. Center Jordan Weal circled from the left wing to the top of the zone before sending the puck to Vey as he skated inside the right face-off circle. Vey sent a wrist shot above Wolf Pack netminder Dov Grumet-Morris’ glove and into the top left corner of the net for the eventual game-winning goal. The score was his third tally of the season.
Hartford changed goaltenders after the Monarchs third goal of the night as netminder Jeff Malcolm replaced Grumet-Morris.
The Monarchs started the scoring early when Vey passed the puck from his own zone to Pearson as he was streaking along the right wall. Pearson controlled the pass and flipped the puck into the air directly in front of Grumet-Morris. Left wing Andy Andreoff flew toward the net from the left side and deflected the puck between Grumet-Morris’ legs for the 1-0 lead. The score came at the 4:37 mark of the first period and was Andreoff’s sixth goal of the season.
Manchester doubled their lead just two minutes and three seconds later as right wing A.J. Gale registered his fourth goal of the season at 6:40 of the first period. Forward Nick Shore passed the puck from the left wing to right wing Brian O’Neill, who fired a low shot toward the net. The puck bounced off of Grumet-Morris’ right pad and was corralled by an off-balance Gale who was just able to deflect the puck above the goaltender’s stick for the goal and a 2-0 advantage.
The Monarchs continued the scoring when Vey scored his second goal of the night and fourth tally of the season at the 14:02 point of the second period. Defenseman Andrew Bodnarchuk received a pass from Pearson before cycling the puck from the right face-off circle to Vey, who faked a shot from the top of the zone. Vey then skated down to the left of the net before firing a blocker-side shot that struck Malcolm’s right shoulder before finding the back of the net to give Manchester a 4-0 lead. The goal marked the third point of the game for both Vey and Pearson.
The Wolf Pack quickly responded less than two minutes later with their first goal of the night to bring the score back to within three. Hartford right wing Jesper Fast received a pass from defenseman Brendon Nash behind every Monarchs player on the ice and skated toward Manchester goaltender J.F. Berube for a breakaway scoring opportunity. Fast closed in on Berube with the puck to his right before bringing his stick to his far left and sending a backhanded shot above an outstretched Berube for the score. The goal was Fast’s second of the season and came at 15:45 in the second period to make the score 4-1.
Hartford made it a two-goal game just 30 seconds later when left wing Marek Hrivik brought the puck down near the right side of the net before spinning around and delivering a centering pass to defenseman Danny Syvret at the top of the zone. Syvret quickly gained control of the puck and blasted a slap shot past Berube’s glove and into the back of the net for the goal. The score was Syvret’s second tally of the season and made it a two-goal game at 16:15 in the second period.
Manchester scored their fifth goal of the night and brought their lead back up to three at 12:11 of the third period with a goal from right wing Brandon Kozun. Weal skated down center ice and brought the puck into the Hartford zone before leaving it behind for left wing Nick Deslauriers along the left wing boards. Deslauriers then sent a pass across the zone to Kozun who had snuck down to the right side of Malcolm. Kozun sent a one-timer just above Malcolm’s glove for his eighth goal of the season to give the Monarchs a 5-2 lead.
Berube (13-6-2) earned his 13th win of the season making 25 saves on 27 shots. Grumet-Morris (3-9-3) took his ninth loss of the season, stopping 6-of-9 shots. Malcolm made 12 saves on 14 shots in relief of Grumet-Morris.
Manchester was 1-for-3 on the power play. Hartford went 0-for-4 with the man advantage.
Notables: Netminder J.F. Berube broke the all-time Monarchs record for most consecutive starts for a goaltender with 20 straight games; the previous record of 19 games was held by Travis Scott (2002-03) and Jason LaBarbera (2006-07)… Tonight’s win ended the Monarchs two-game home losing streak, their longest of the season… Center Linden Vey has collected five points (2-3=5) in four games since returning to Manchester from the Kings… Left wing Tanner Pearson has collected seven points (4-3=7) in his last six games.
The Monarchs are back in action on New Year’s Eve when they host the Providence Bruins.
On Saturday, the Monarchs lost 3-1. Nick Deslauriers had the only goal for Manchester.
“I was really excited about our first period; we overwhelmed them, I thought, for the most part in the first period, they couldn’t get out of their end and we had a lot of pressure,” Monarchs Head Coach Mark Morris said of the loss. “Second period, penalties came into the game and we lost momentum. Then, those two late goals really hurt us. We had some miss coverages on the penalty kill and it really put us in a bind. Up until that point, we were still in the game, and it could have gone our way.”
Follow @AndyTonge1 for more Monarchs news and notes.