Going into today’s game, the Manchester Monarchs played hosts to the visiting Worcester Sharks. Both teams entered the contest tied in the AHL’s Atlantic division with 25 points each with sole possession of the first place in their division on the line. Today Worcester needed to shift their full focus on the match and quickly put their shootout loss behind them courtesy of the Providence Bruins and Maxime Suave. For the Manchester Monarchs they were coming off of a 9-2 pounding they imposed on the NHL’s American League affiliate Connecticut Whale. Last night win for Manchester over the Whale, the Monarchs plan was to carry over that momentum into today’s contest against the Sharks. The Sharks welcomed back into the lineup forward #8 Sebastian Stalberg as he was listed as a healthy scratch in from the night before. The latest injury report for the Worcester Sharks has defenseman Taylor Doherty, defenseman Danny Groulx, and defenseman Nick Petrecki who are all nursing various injuries. Between the pipes, Worcester Sharks elected to put in #35 Harri Sateri in net over the struggling #32 Alex Stalock who has lost three straight that included last nights shootout loss. For the Manchester Monarchs, it was Peter Monnino in goal who had recently stopped 23 of 25 shots he faced over the visiting Connecticut in the previous contest. The Manchester Monarchs would also enter into today’s contest with a healthy lineup with no injuries to report.
In the early stages of the opening period Worcester Sharks goaltender Harri Sateri had a scare when the puck deflected off of Jordan Nolan son of former NHL coach Ted Nolan skate that almost put the Monarchs ahead 1-0. Minutes later, Worcester would get the first penalty of the game as defenseman Matt Pelech went off to the box for hooking at 3:45. The Sharks would enter the shorthanded situation with road penalty kill rating of 75% as they were tested early. Moments later, Matt Irwin would go to the box for interference at 4:02 to make it a crowded penalty box for Worcester. On the five on three power play, Manchester scored as a Monarchs player ripped it past Sateri as the Sharks road penalty kill woes continued to make it 1-0 Monarchs lead early in the first. The goal was scored by defenseman Thomas Hickey as it made it his first of the season with assists from defenseman Bryan Rodney who tallied his first helper on the season and forward Andrei Loktionov who added his ninth of the year. Less than three minutes following the goal by Manchester, Sharks forward Brodie Reid would get upended behind the Monarchs net by Manchester’s Slava Voynov at 8:09. Going in to the power play opportunity, Worcester has posted a 1-14 record against Manchester on the man advantage. Sharks would unfortunately come up short as their power play struggles continued against their division rivals. Shortly after, the games first’s fight of the day occurred as Worcester’s James Livingston dropped the gloves with Manchester’s Andy Andreoff, both would get five minutes for fighting as the fight ended in a draw at 10:36. Both teams continued to impose their will against one another as Manchester’s Johnson and Worcester’s Sheppard would make visor to visor connect thus making it a very interesting opening stanza for the fans. Business picked up again as both teams went after one another with shoulder to shoulder checks making it a very physical first period. Matt Pelech would deliver a knee to Manchester’s Jordan Nolan as he would get the penalty putting the Sharks shorthand at 16:09 of the first frame. On the man advantage, Manchester met some resistance as the Sharks penalty kill unit stepped up and stopped Manchester from knotting their second tally of the game. After Worcester killed off the penalty Matt Pelech and Manchester’s Richard Clune would drop the gloves making it the second fight of the contest as Pelech would get the decision at 18:21. After the end of a very physical first period that saw two fights and plenty of penalties Worcester entered the first intermission with a commanding lead on the shot clock at 17-8 over Manchester.
Both teams entered the middle frame as they continued where they off as both clubs imposed their physical play at one another. The Sharks would get off in the second frame in a hurry putting Monarchs net minder Moninno work as they put two shots of rubber on net as he made two quick saves. During the early stages of the second, Sharks forward Tim Kennedy took a shot to mouth as he went off on a line change as he headed to the teams dressing room for some needed repairs. As the period continued Worcester continued to throw pucks in on Manchester as Moninno and his defense would turn away the rubber to keep it 1-0 Monarchs. On opportunity presented itself for the Worcester Sharks as forward Bracken Kearns dangled thru several Manchester players as he would eventually draw a penalty as he was held by Monarchs defenseman #7 Andrew Bodnarchuk at 9:30 of the second. On the man advantage, the Sharks would fire shot after shot at Moninno as the Manchester net minder put on a clinic to protect his shutout bid. While on the power play, Manchester would get called for another penalty as Thomas Hickey went off for hooking at 11:13 to put Worcester up two men. On the five on three Worcester continued to throw everything including the kitchen sink at the Manchester net minder as he would turn away every shot to keep it at 1-0 Monarchs. Worcester’s hard work finally paid off as Captain John McCarthy fired a rocketed type shot in on an open net with a nice pass by Tim Kennedy that was set up by Bracken Kearns to tie the game up at one ending Manchester’s Moninno’s shutout bid at 15:47. That goal marked McCarthy’s third of the season, Kennedy’s 14 assist of the season and Kearns 10th of the year. With less than one minute of the second frame, Manchester’s Dwight King fired a wrister past Harri Sateri for the games go ahead goal to make it 2-1 Monarchs. King added his third tally of the season as Rodney got his second point of the day and his second assist of the year, Loktionov also got his second of the game and 10th of the season at 19:10 of the middle stanza. At the end of forty minutes of play, Worcester entered the second intermission with a decisive lead on the shot clock with a 34-13 margin.
The Sharks entered the final period trailing Manchester 2-1 as they have four wins on the season when trailing after two periods of play. Livingston put Moninno to work early as he put rubber on net as the Manchester goaltender as made the quick save. However Livingston would be charged a roughing minor as he was caught charging the Monarchs goalie to put Worcester shorthanded. The Sharks penalty unit stepped up once again to keep themselves in the game as they successfully killed off the minor to maintain the 2-1 score held by Manchester at the conclusion of the penalty kill, put Worcester 1-4 on the pk on the night. During the final frame, Tanner Pearson from Manchester went in all alone on a breakaway attempt as Sharks net minder Sateri came up with a huge save to keep his team in the game. Moments following Sateri’s huge save, Worcester drew a penalty as Loktionov went to the sin bin for hooking at 6:41. On the man advantage, Worcester kept the intensity up as they put on a clinic against Manchester when Tim Kennedy blasted the puck past Moninno to tie the game up at two goals apiece. The goal by Tim Kennedy extended his point streak to 8 games and seventh goal of the season with assists from Kearns who knotted his second point of game and 11th of the year and Brodie Reid with his first point of the contest and fourth of the season. Minutes after Worcester tied the game up at two, Sharks speedy forward Brodie Reid went in on Monnino on a two on one as he used Yanni Gourde as a decoy to rip it top self to put Worcester ahead 3-2 at 11:56 mark of the third. Reid would add his fourth goal of the season with assists from James Sheppard who added his eight of the year and new guy for the Sharks defenseman Michael Brennan who tallied his third on the season. After the Sharks went ahead, Manchester’s frustration mounted when Tanner Pearson high sticked Sena Acolaste at 12:52 of the games final period. With less than three minutes of the game Manchester put enormous pressure on Worcester as they put everything at Sateri as he made save after save to protect the Sharks 3-2 lead. Monarchs pulled their goaltender to make it a six on five with less than a minute of the contest. With 12.8 seconds to go, Worcester’s Tim Kennedy drew a penalty when Manchester’s forward Linden Vey went off for tripping. Worcester would not score on the man advantage as did not matter because Worcester would come away with a 3-2 comeback victory making it their fifth of the season when trailing after forty minutes. Today’s win, moves Worcester into sole possession of first place in the AHL’s Atlantic Division. After the completion of today’s contest, Worcester came away with landslide blow to the Manchester Monarchs as they put up 43 shots to their 23 as they also finished 1-6 on the power play. The Sharks continue their mini road trip as they are back in action in Hartford on Wednesday night to take on the Connecticut Whale. The puck is set to drop at 7:00p EST at the XL Center Veterans Memorial Coliseum in downtown Hartford.
3 Stars of the game:
1. WOR – 51 Brodie Reid
2. WOR – 22 Tim Kennedy
3. MCH – 33 Bryan Rodney
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