Monarchs Iced Against Penguins
WILKES-BARRE, PA – The Manchester Monarchs dropped their first game after the AHL All-Star break, 4-1, to the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins at Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza on Friday night.
Manchester (21-20-2-2) is tied with the Worcester Sharks (20-17-1-5) for third place in the Atlantic Division with 46 points each. The Penguins (22-18-2-1) are in third place in the East Division with 47 points.
“We played very solid hockey in the first period,” said Monarchs Head Coach Mark Morris. “Our execution was decent and we had some great opportunities. Zatkoff made some great saves and he was also fortunate on several goalmouth scrambles. Had we scored it might have given us a boost of confidence and changed the outcome. In the second period, we made some costly mistakes which ultimately put us in a deep hole and we were unable to recover from them. By the end of the game, we found our legs. It was too little too late. It’s back to the drawing board. It is time to regroup and refocus to take on Hershey.”
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton took a 2-0 lead with a goal by center Trevor Smith at 18:43 of the second period. Smith caused a turnover behind the Monarchs net and gained control of the puck before taking a backhand shot at the left doorstep. Smith’s shot produced a rebound. Smith grabbed his own rebound and lifted a wrist shot midway up on the stick of Monarchs goaltender Peter Mannino for the eventual game-winning goal and his 12th goal of the season.
The Penguins opened the scoring with defenseman Joe Morrow at 9:01 of the first period. Center Adam Payerl played the puck from the right wing circle to defenseman Brian Dumoulin at the right point. Dumoulin immediately found Morrow in the left wing circle. Morrow corralled the pass and wristed a shot high on the glove side of Mannino. Morrow’s shot beat Mannino for his second goal of the season.
Center Zach Sill scored shorthanded to give the Penguins a 3-0 lead at 1:32 of the third period. Sill deflected a pass in the Penguins zone and grabbed the loose puck in the neutral zone springing himself free on a breakaway. Sill skated in and wristed a shot five-hole on Mannino for his second goal of the season.
Center Riley Holzapfel finished the scoring for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton with a goal at 11:29 of the third period. Right wing Tom Kostopoulos fed Payerl skating down the right wing through the neutral zone. Payerl skated to the right wing face-off circle before wristing a shot on goal that produced a rebound in the left wing face-off circle. Holzapfel jumped on the rebound wristing a shot that found the back of the net for his 14th goal of the season.
Defenseman Vincent LoVerde made the score 4-1 at 12:04 of the final frame with his first American Hockey League goal. Left wing Marc-Andre Cliche fed defenseman Chris Huxley who tipped the puck to LoVerde at the left point. LoVerde took a wrist shot from the left point that found it’s through traffic for his first goal of the season.
Mannino (10-7-0) took his seventh loss of the season stopping 17-of-21 shots. Penguins goaltender Jeff Zatkoff (14-12-0) earned his 14th victory of the season making 21 saves on 22 shots.
Manchester went 0-for-5 on the power play. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton was 0-for-4 with the man advantage.
Notables: The Monarchs are 0-2-0-0 against the Penguins this season…Manchester is on a three-game losing streak…Monarchs defenseman Vincent LoVerde score his first American Hockey League goal in the game…Monarchs defenseman Chris Huxley tallied his first AHL point, an assist, on LoVerde’s goal.
The Monarchs will travel to play the Hershey Bears at the Giant Center at 7:00 p.m. on Saturday, February 2. Catch all the play-by-play action of Monarchs hockey with Ken Cail on the Monarchs Radio Network WTPL 107.7 The Pulse, WGIR.com and at www.manchestermonarchs.com, presented by Manchester-Boston Regional Airport.