Fresh on the heels of being a healthy scratch last week (for not notifying anybody he’d be late returning back after the Christmas break), the Kings top prospect at center, Linden Vey, found himself out of the line-up once again on Saturday night.
Despite the absence of one of their top offensive threats, Manchester went on to win the game 4-2. Afterward, Monarchs coach Mark Morris passed on a few notes regarding the decision to let Vey watch from the press box.
“He had a rough outing in Binghamton. We went over his shifts together and he realizes he needed to be better. It’s part of the learning process and we felt he needed to watch one. No reason for alarm. We want him to be a 200-foot player and he’ll be better for it in the long haul. It’s one game.”
As for the game itself, several of LA’s other high-profile prospects chipped in with goals. Here’s a recap, courtesy of the Monarchs…
WILKES-BARRE, PA – Left wing Nick Deslauriers beat goaltender Jeff Deslauriers with 5:55 left in the game to give the Manchester Monarchs a 4-2 win over the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins at the Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza on Saturday night.
Manchester (23-8-2-4) leads the Atlantic Division with 52 points. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (19-10-1-3) is ranked second in the East Division with 42 points.
“We fought hard against Wilkes-Barre, and we earned the win,” said Monarchs Head Coach Mark Morris. “An early greasy goal by Nick Shore gave us a lead and some jump. All four lines were skating well, and our defensive unit played pretty solid. A few late shifts, things got chaotic; J.F. Berube came up big for us. He made some key saves when it mattered most. Nick Deslauriers ripped a rocket past his namesake, Jeff Deslauriers, for the eventual game-winning goal late in regulation. This game was exactly what we had hoped for after last night’s effort.”
N. Deslauriers tallied his 12th goal of the season at 14:05 of the third period to give the Monarchs the win. Forward Ian O’Connor and right wing Sean Backman battled for the puck along the left wing half-wall. O’Connor fed the puck over to N. Deslauriers in the left face-off circle. N. Deslauriers turned and carried the puck a couple of strides before wristing a shot past J. Deslauriers’ blocker for the game-winning goal.
Center Nick Shore lit the lamp with his fifth goal of the season at 2:34 of the opening frame. Defenseman Andrew Campbell tossed the puck off the end wall and Shore picked it up to the left of the net. Shore shot the puck at J. Deslauriers from an odd angle. The puck bounced off of J. Deslauriers and into the back of the net to give the Monarchs a 1-0 advantage. Right wing Brandon Kozun also earned an assist on the opening goal.
Right wing Brian O’Neill doubled the Monarchs lead 52-seconds into the second period with his eighth tally of the season. Defenseman Andrew Bodnarchuk sprung left wing Tanner Pearson down the right wing. Pearson put the brakes on at the right wing half wall as center Jordan Weal skated to the top of the crease. Pearson fed a pass into the slot where O’Neill grabbed the puck, spun around and flipped a backhand shot toward the net. O’Neill’s shot bounced through traffic, and up and over J. Deslauriers’ right pad to give the Monarchs a 2-0 lead.
Right wing Tom Kuhnhacki cut the Monarchs lead in half with his seventh goal of the season at 18:09 of the middle frame. Center Zack Torquato won the draw from the left face-off circle in the Monarchs zone. Torquato drew the puck back to Kuhnhacki who fired a slap shot past Monarchs goaltender J.F. Berube’s glove to bring the game to 2-1.
Center Nick Drazenovic tied the game, 2-2, at 7:43 of the final frame. Left wing Harry Zolnierczyk carried the puck behind the Monarchs net from right-to-left. As he came around the net, Zolnierczyk passed the puck to defenseman Nick D’Agostino who was skating into the slot. D’Agostino fired a one-timer that Berube saved and directed the rebound to his left. Drazenovic was at the bottom, inside corner of the right face-off circle to one-time the puck just inside the right post for his sixth goal of the season.
Pearson added an insurance goal at 19:31 of the third period with an empty net tally. Weal and O’Neill assisted on Pearson’s team-leading 13th goal of the season.
Berube (14-8-2) earned his 14th win of the season making 24 saves on 26 shots. J. Deslauriers (14-8-2) took his eighth loss of the season, stopping 22-of-25 shots.
Manchester was 0-for-3 on the power play. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton also went 0-for-3 with the man advantage.
Notables: Left wing Tanner Pearson has seven points (2-5=7) in his last four games. he leads the Monarchs with 13 goals this season… Goaltender J.F. Berube has appeared in 23 consecutive games for the Monarchs… Manchester’s defensemen Andrew Bodnarchuk (plus-27) and Vincent LoVerde (plus-22) collected plus-2 ratings tonight as they continue to lead the American Hockey League in plus/minus. … Defenseman Andrew Campbell appeared in his 382nd career game with the Monarchs tonight to take over the franchise lead in games played.
The Monarchs finish off their road trip with a game Sunday in Hershey against the Bears.
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