SPRINGFIELD, MA — The Manchester Monarchs were shutout by goaltender Curtis McElhinney and the Springfield Falcons, 2-0, at the Mass Mutual Center on Wednesday night.
Manchester (29-27-3-4) is in third place in the Atlantic Division with 65 points. Springfield (35-18-5-4) is in first place in the Northeast Division with 79 points.
"I hope we do a little gut check and take something out of this loss," said Monarchs Head Coach Mark Morris. "We showed glimpses of passionate hard nosed play after the game had been decided. Plain and simple we were sleepy coming off the bus. To contend for a playoff birth we will have to be way better than what I saw tonight. Springfield had lost their last 6 and they were the hungrier team without question. If you want to keep playing beyond mid April you've got to be willing to make the sacrifices to compete consistently from this point forward. There were too many passengers on this bus tonight."
Springfield opened the scoring with a goal by defenseman Thomas Larkin at 12:59 of the first period. Right wing Trent Vogelhuber won a face-off in the left wing circle in the Monarchs zone back to defenseman Mike Banwell at the left point. Banwell passed the puck to Larkin at the center point where he skated to the top of the right wing face-off circle before wristing a shot through traffic. Larkin's shot beat Monarchs goaltender Martin Jones for his first goal of the season and his first professional goal of his career.
The Falcons grabbed a 2-0 lead with a goal by center Andrew Joudrey at 17:48 of the first period. Jones went behind the Monarchs net to play the puck and attempted a centering pass in front of the cage. Jones' pass was intercepted by Joudrey and he wasted no time shooting the puck into the open net for his seventh goal of the season.
Jones (19-21-4) took his 21st loss of the season making 29 saves on 31 shots. McElhinney (24-13-3) earned his 24th victory of the season stopping all 25 shots faced.
Manchester went 0-for-3 on the power play. Springfield went 0-for-2 with the man advantage.
Notables: The Monarchs are tied for ninth place in the Eastern Conference with the top eight team making the Calder Cup Playoffs...The Monarchs have scored one goal in their last three games...Falcons netmidner Curtis McElhinney recorded his league leading ninth shutout of the season.
The Monarchs return home for the third annual faith and family game against the Hershey Bears at the Verizon Wireless Arena on Saturday, March 23 at 7:00 p.m. Catch all the play-by-play action of Monarchs hockey with Ken Cail on the Monarchs Radio Network WGIR 610 AM, WGIR.com and at www.manchestermonarchs.com, presented by Manchester-Boston Regional Airport.
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