Kozun To The 10th Season’s Home Opening Win
MANCHESTER, NH – Rookie right wing Brandon Kozun dazzled the hometown crowd with two goals, including a penalty shot tally, as the Manchester Monarchs sent the Providence Bruins packing with a 5-2 victory in the Home Opener in front of 9,035 fans at the Verizon Wireless Arena on Saturday night.
Manchester (2-1-0-0) is tied for third place in the Atlantic Division with four points. Providence (1-2-0-1) is tied for fifth place in the Atlantic Division with three points.
“I thought we played a real strong game in the offensive zone and controlled a majority of the game,” said Monarchs Head Coach Mark Morris. “It was a game we thought we had in hand that turned into a squeaker. We had strong goaltending and our defensemen moved the puck. We found another gear down the stretch and pulled away. Collectively, I thought it was a good outing.
“(Brandon) Kozun’s penalty shot goal might be just the spark that gives him the confidence to score goals at this level. It was a big night for him. He got us moving in the right direction. We had a strong performance from (Jeff) Zatkoff in net and (David) Meckler has been a force for us along the boards and in creating offensive opportunities.
“The fans were outstanding tonight. The energy in the building and excitement they bring is an inspiration for our players.”
The Monarchs regained their lead with a power play goal at 13:08 of the third period. Skating with the man advantage, defenseman David Kolomatis rifled a slap shot from the left point that was tipped past the netminder by left wing David Meckler. Defenseman Patrick Mullen assisted on the game-winning goal.
With only nine seconds remaining in the first period, center Corey Elkins netted his second goal of the season to give the Monarchs the 1-0 lead heading into the locker room. Left wing Bud Holloway flipped the puck in on net and goaltender Nolan Schaefer made the stick save. Schaefer directed the puck behind his cage and Monarchs center Oscar Moller was the first on the scene. Moller scooped up the puck and fed a pass to Elkins who was streaking into the left face-off circle for the one-timer that slammed into the back of the net.
Kozun doubled the Monarchs lead to 2-0 with a penalty shot tally at 19:26 of the second period. The Monarchs were awarded a penalty shot when one of the Bruins defensemen covered the puck in the crease with his hand. Out of the five players on the ice, Coach Morris chose Kozun to take the shot. The rookie, skating in his third professional game, skated down the right side of the slot, cut across the crease and flipped a backhand shot past Schaefer for his first professional goal.
At 3:10 of the third period, center Justin Azevedo was pulled down on a breakaway in front of Schaefer and the Monarchs were awarded a second penalty shot in the game. For the first time in franchise history, the Monarchs were awarded two penalty shots in one game. Azevedo skated in on Schaefer and was denied as he attempted to stuff the puck between the netminder’s pads.
The Bruins spoiled Monarchs goaltender Jeff Zatkoff’s shutout bid at 8:27 of the third period. Center Jamie Arniel snapped a wrist shot from the right face-off circle that eluded Zatkoff high on his blocker side. Defensemen Steven Kampfer and Matt Bartkowski assisted on the power play tally to bring the game to within one goal. The 2-1 lead remained in the Monarchs favor.
Left wing Jordan LaVallee-Smotherman tallied his first goal of the season at 11:11 of the third period to tie the game at 2-2. Left wing Jeremy Reich passed the puck from behind the Monarchs net for a one-timer by LaVallee-Smotherman to even the game. Arniel picked up his second point of the night by assisting on the goal.
Kozun finished off the night with a 2-on-1 breakaway goal at 15:22 of the final frame. Skating into the Bruins zone with Moller, the two shared the puck back and forth with Kozun having the final say by snapping a shot into the back of the net for his second goal of the game.
Left wing Dwight King finished off the Bruins with an empty net goal at 19:26 of the third period.
Zatkoff (1-1-0) earned his first win of the season stopping 28-of-30 shots. Schaefer (0-1-1) took his first regulation loss of the season recording 34 saves on 38 shots.
Manchester was 2-for-2 on the power play. Providence was 1-for-4 with the man advantage.
Notables: The Monarchs won their home opener for the sixth time in franchise history…Manchester has record of 6-4-0-0 in ten home openers at the Verizon Wireless Arena…Right wing Brandon Kozun scored the franchise’s sixth penalty shot goal on 28 attempts all time…Kozun’s penalty shot goal was his first professional goal…This was the first time in franchise history that the Monarchs have been awarded two penalty shots in one game as center Justin Azevedo was given one in the third period…Left wing Dwight King extended his goal (three) and point (3-1=4) streak to three games.
The Monarchs are back in action against the Springfield Falcons at 3:00 p.m. at the Verizon Wireless Arena on Sunday, October 17, 2010. Join the Monarchs for a mini-plaza party at the arena from 1:00-2:30 p.m. and kids will receive custom Silly Bandz. Catch all of the play-by-play action of Monarchs hockey with Ken Cail on the Monarchs Radio Network WGAM 900/1250 AM and at www.manchestermonarchs.com.