Monarchs Big Weal Keeps On Turning
MANCHESTER, NH – The Manchester Monarchs needed overtime to grab their fifth victory in their last six games with a 3-2 victory against Bridgeport Sound Tigers at the Verizon Wireless Arena on Wednesday night.
Manchester (27-24-3-3) is third in the Atlantic Division with 60 points. Bridgeport (23-24-5-4) is fourth in the Northeast Division with 55 points.
“It was a game that went back and forth,” said Monarchs Head Coach Mark Morris. “We had some timely scoring from some young players that made a huge difference in the game. For the most part, I thought we did a solid job defensively. Martin Jones was good in net. It was a close game and we will take the points.”
Center Jordan Weal scored the game-winning goal for the Monarchs at 2:36 of overtime. Center Andy Andreoff played puck from right point to Weal on right wing half wall. Weal skated in and lifted a backhand top-shelf on the right doorstep for the goal. Defenseman Vincent LoVerde also recorded an assist on Weal’s ninth goal of the season.
The Monarchs opened the scoring with a backhanded goal by Londonderry, New Hampshire native forward Ian O’Connor at 2:44 of the second period. Right wing Anthony Stewart chipped the puck in from the right wing in the Sound Tigers zone. Stewart followed the puck and finished a check along the end boards. Forward Kris Belan came in and poked a loose puck back to Stewart. Stewart played the puck quickly to O’Connor in the slot. O’Connor shot on his backhand as he was checked to the ice, squeaking the puck through the pads of Bridgeport goaltender Rick DiPietro for his first goal of the season.
Left wing Mike Halmo tied the game for the Sound Tigers at 3:21 of the third period. Defenseman Matt Donovan took a slap shot from the left point. Halmo tipped the puck in front of the net redirecting the shot past Monarchs goaltender Martin Jones for the goal. Center Brock Nelson also recorded an assist on Halmo’s fourth goal of the season.
The Monarchs took a 2-1 lead on a goal by left wing Colton Yellow Horn at 12:49 of the third period. The puck was kept in by defenseman Vincent LoVerde at the right point as he shoveled it to right wing Brandon Kozun on the right wing half wall. Kozun then passed the puck down to Yellow Horn in the left wing corner. Yellow Horn skated toward the net and made a nifty move to get around a Sound Tigers defenseman and quickly snuck a wrist shot past DiPietro low on the blocker side for his fourth goal of the season.
Left wing Nino Niederreiter tied the game again for the Sound Tigers at 14:38 of the third period. Right wing Kirill Kabanov carried the puck out of the right wing corner and behind the Monarchs cage. Kabanov found Niederreiter in the slot where he wristed a quick shot on goal beating Jones for the goal. Nelson also tallied an assist on Niederreiter for his 23rd goal of the season.
Jones (17-19-3) earned his 17th victory of the season stopping 32-of-34 shots. DiPietro (1-2-0) took his second loss of the season making 24 saves on 27 shots.
Manchester went 0-for-3 on the power play. Bridgeport was 0-for-4 with the man advantage.
Notables: The Monarchs have earned points in their last six games (5-0-1-0)…Monarchs center Jordan Weal has seven points (3-4=7) in his last six games…Monarchs defenseman Vincent LoVerde registered his first American Hockey League multi-point game.
The Monarchs travel to Cumberland County Civic Center for a VIP Cup match-up to face the Portland Pirates 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.