Manchester (25-13-1-4) is in first place in the Atlantic Division with 55 points. Worcester (25-14-1-2) is ranked third in the Atlantic Division with 53 points.
“Again, we had a pivotal goal denied during the game,” said Monarchs Head Coach Mark Morris. “It was a little frustrating because it would have knotted the game at two. We had the momentum going our way and some timely mistakes happened that we weren’t able to recover. Our energy level was good during the game but looking back, there were too many mental mistakes.”
Center Logan Couture’s shorthanded goal at 18:11 of the middle stanza proved to be the game-winner. Just seconds after the officials waved off a goal by Monarchs center Marc-Andre Cliche because center Tom Cavanagh was in the crease when the goal was scored, Couture jammed in his 15th goal of the season. Center Steven Zalewski tossed the puck on net. Goaltender Jeff Zatkoff lost sight of the puck and laid on the ice as he thought it was covered. Couture was able to jam the puck from under Zatkoff and into the net. Defenseman Jason Demers assisted on the game-winning goal.
The Monarchs struck first with a power play goal by center Corey Elkins at 4:34 of the second period. Cliche battled along the left wing boards before he nudged the puck up ice to Elkins. The rookie center cut in toward the net with the puck and tossed a backhand shot that deflected off a defender’s stick. The puck flipped up and over goaltender Alex Stalock to give the Monarchs a 1-0 lead. Defenseman Viatcheslav Voynov assisted on Elkins team-leading 12th goal of the season.
The Sharks first goal of the night came at 10:29 of the middle period when Zalewski scored his 15th tally of the season. Demers wristed a shot from the right face-off circle. Zalewski was on the right doorstep when he picked up the shot, turned and shot a backhander that snuck past Zatkoff. Defenseman Danny Groulx assisted on the power play goal to tie the game at 1-1.
Right wing Dan DaSilva picked up a power play goal at 13:54 of the middle frame. Defenseman Derek Joslin collected the puck at the center point and fired a slap shot through the slot. DaSilva was able to get his stick on the puck and deflect it past Zatkoff for his eighth goal of the season. Left wing Brandon Mashinter assisted on the goal that brought the score to 2-1 in the Sharks favor.
At 9:42 of the third period, Mashinter scored his 12th of the season to give the Sharks a 4-1 advantage. Left wing Frazer McLaren passed the puck to Mashinter. The winger carried the puck to the left face-off circle where he snapped a wrist shot into the right side of the net beating Zatkoff on his glove side.
The Monarchs put their second power play goal of the game on the board at 18:28 of the final period with Voynov’s eighth goal of the season. Cavanagh picked up a loose puck that squirted free from the left corner. Stalock made the initial save but the rebound popped free to the slot where Voynov backhanded shot over the netminder.
Sharks left wing John McCarthy finished off the Monarchs with an empty net goal at 19:02 of the third stanza.
Zatkoff (8-4-0) took his fourth loss of the season with 37 saves on 41 shots. Stalock (22-10-1) earned his 22nd win of the season stopping 27-of-29 shots.
Manchester went 2-for-4 on the power play. Worcester was 2-of-6 with the man advantage.
Notables: The Monarchs have dropped their last two games with consecutive 5-2 losses…Manchester is 2-2-0-2 in their last six games…Center Tom Cavanagh has three points (2-1=3) in his first three games with Manchester…Defenseman Viatcheslav Voynov has recorded three points (1-2=3) in his last two games…Defenseman Drew Bagnall did not return to the game following the first period as he aggravated a lower body injury he had suffered earlier in the season.