Monarchs Neutralize Sharks
MANCHESTER, NH – Center Justin Azevedo continued his hot streak with two goals and two assists to help the Manchester Monarchs defeat the Worcester Sharks, 5-1, for Go Green and their first ever carbon neutral game at the Verizon Wireless Arena on Sunday afternoon.
Manchester (35-30-0-3) ranks second in the Atlantic Division with 73 points. The Sharks (28-26-4-7) are in fifth place in the Atlantic Division with 67 points.
“I thought we played real thorough,” said Monarch Head Coach Mark Morris. “I was really impressed with the way we managed the puck. Zatkoff was good in the net and I thought we had all four lines going pretty good and defensively we were really solid.”
The Monarchs took a 2-0 lead when right wing Brandon Kozun scored at 9:23 of the second period. Right wing Linden Vey took the draw in the right wing face-off circle in the Sharks zone and several players scrambled for the puck. It popped free to left wing Ray Kaunisto who was between the hash marks and he snapped a shot that Sharks netminder Harri Sateri blocked with his left pad. Kaunisto and Kozun crashed the net and swiped at the puck. Kozun eventually poked the puck over the goal line for his 19th tally of the season.
The Monarchs opened the scoring with a goal scored by Azevedo at 17:22 of the first period. Right wing Trent Hunter swatted a rebound from between the hash marks to right wing Stefan Legein who was positioned in the left face-off circle. Legein fed a pass through traffic to Azevedo at the right post for the tip in and his 23rd goal of the season.
Left wing John McCarthy scored the lone goal for the Sharks at10:57 of the second period. Defenseman Matt Pelech took the puck through the neutral zone sent a pass to McCarthy who gained the Monarchs zone along the right wing boards. McCarthy carried the puck to the right face-off dot before snapping a wrist shot past goaltender Jeff Zatkoff and into the top left corner of the Monarchs cage. Sharks center Ben Guite also assisted on McCarthy’s 18th goal of the season.
Manchester added to their lead making the score 3-1 at 13:56 in the middle period when left wing David Meckler scored on a 4-on-3 power play. Defenseman Jake Muzzin passed the puck from the left point to Azevedo at the right point. Azevedo skated the puck to the center point before wristing a shot on goal. Meckler tipped Azevedo’s shot past Sateri for his ninth goal of the season.
The Monarchs pushed their lead to 4-1 when Azevedo scored his second goal of the game, shorthanded at 18:27 of the second period. Azevedo poked the puck free from a Sharks defenseman Matt Irwin in the Monarchs zone and broke through the neutral zone. Azevedo skated in on Sateri, faked to the backhand before sliding the puck past the outstretched left pad of the netminder for his 24th goal of the season.
Legein finished off the scoring for the Monarchs with a power play tally at 7:52 of the third period. Muzzin released a slap shot from the center point. Muzzin’s shot was knocked down and picked up by a Sharks defender between the hash marks. Azevedo lifted the defenseman’s stick, stole the puck and passed it over to Legein who was at the bottom inside corner of the left face-off circle. Legein’s one-timer counted as his 13th goal of the season and gave the Monarchs a 5-1 advantage.
Zatkoff (20-14-1) earned his 20th victory of the season stopping 27-of-28 shots. Sateri (12-14-0) took his 14th loss of the season making 25 saves on 30 shots. Sharks netminder Thomas Heemskerk (0-0-0) entered the game for a 1:35 in the second period and did not face any shots before Sateri returned between the pipes.
Manchester went 2-for-5 on the power play. Worcester was 0-for-2 with the man advantage.
Notables: The Monarchs penalty kill is 34-for-35 (97.1%) in their last 10 games…Monarchs goaltender Jeff Zatkoff had his shutout bid ended 10:57 of the second period…Zatkoff’s shutout streak spanned four games and lasted for 158:04 minutes…Center Justin Azevedo is currently on a four-game goal streak.
The Monarchs travel to the Cumberland County Civic Center to take on the Portland Pirates at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, March 28. 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.