AHL: Weal, Kozun light the lamp as Monarchs win fifth straight

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

BRIDGEPORT, CT – Goaltender J.F. Berube stopped 30-of-31 shots in his 17th consecutive game to backstop the Manchester Monarchs to a 2-1 victory over the Bridgeport Sound Tigers at the Webster Bank Arena on Saturday night.

Manchester (21-5-1-4) leads the Atlantic Division with 47 points.  Bridgeport (11-14-1-3) is ranked fourth in the Northeast Division with 26 points.

Center Jordan Weal doubled the Monarchs lead to 2-0 at 4:41 of the third period.  Weal picked up the puck in the neutral zone and carried it down the right wing.  On the outside edge of the right wing face-off circle, Weal wristed a shot that beat netminder Anders Nilsson on his blocker side for his eight goal of the season.  Defenseman Vincent LoVerde assisted on Weal’s game-winning tally.

Right wing Brandon Kozun ended the scoreless tie at 14:43 of the second period with his seventh goal of the season.  Center Linden Vey collected the puck from defenseman Jeff Schultz in the neutral zone and passed it off the right wing wall to Kozun.  Carrying the puck into the Sound Tigers zone along the right wing, Kozun broke into the right face-off circle before snapping a wrist shop that Nilsson made the initial save on.  Kozun picked up his own rebound and chipped it over Nilsson’s right pad and into the net for the 1-0 advantage.

Defenseman Scooter Vaughan cut the Monarchs lead in half with his first goal of the season at 8:26 of the final frame.  As the Sound Tigers put pressure on the Monarchs in their zone, left wing Alan Quine passed the puck from the slot to Vaughan who was streaking in from the left point.  Vaughan unleashed a one-timer that beat Berube.  Left wing Mike Halmo assisted on the goal that brought the score to 2-1.

Berube (12-4-2) earned his 12th win of the season stopping 30-of-31 shots.  Nilsson (5-8-1) took his eighth loss of the season stopping 25-of-27 shots.

Manchester was 0-for-7 on the power play.  Bridgeport went 0-for-4 with the man advantage.

Notables:  The Monarchs are on a season-high five-game winning streak and a four-game road winning streak… Right wing Brandon Kozun collected his first goal since November 23… Center Jordan Weal has four goals in his last four games… Center Nick Shore’s four-game point streak (1-5=6) came to an end tonight as he was held off the scoreboard… Goaltender J.F. Berube has appeared in 17 consecutive games; the Monarchs all-time record for consecutive appearances is 19 games.

Following the holiday break, the Monarchs will return to action with a VIP Cup match-up against the Portland Pirates at the Verizon Wireless Arena at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, December 26.

Follow @AndyTonge1 for more Monarchs news and notes.

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