Monarchs lose to Checkers 3-2
Checkers ended the 2-2 tie with less that a minute remaining in regulation
Manchester (38-20-2-5, 83 points) is in first place in the Atlantic Division with 83 points. Charlotte (35-22-2-6, 78 points) is now in third place in the East Division with 78 points.
“Credit to them,” said Monarchs Head Coach Mark Morris following Sunday afternoon’s game. “The message was clear that we had to earn that third period – our effort just didn’t match-up.”
“We squandered a point today and possibly two,” said Morris. “What I saw was unacceptable – we’ve come this far and we are not going to go backwards”
Boychuk scored the game-winning goal at 19:13 of the third period, giving Charlotte a lead they would not relinquish in the dying seconds. Center Riley Nash passed the puck to defenseman Brett Bellemore, stationed at the right point. Bellemore let a slap shot go and Monarchs goaltender Martin Jones could not hold on to the puck as it squeezed under his right arm. The puck laid in the crease where Boychuk slid it over the goal like for the winning tally.
Left wing Jacob Micflikier opened up the scoring for Charlotte at 2:51 of the first period with a power play goal, his 23rd goal of the season. Center Jon Matsumoto fed the puck to left wing Chris Terry, positioned along the blueline. Terry unleashed a slap shot that Jones could not corral. Micflikier picked up the loose puck in front of Jones and slid the puck around him and into the back of the net.
Left wing Ray Kaunisto scored his eighth goal of the season at 6:35 of the second period to tie the score at 1-1. Right wing Brandon Kozun skated hard through the neutral zone when he found center Corey Elkins positioned at the left face-off dot. Elkins slid the puck through the top of the crease and Kaunisto put the puck into the empty net.
Left wing Bud Holloway scored his team-leading 23rd goal of the season at 9:31 of the second period. Center Marc-Andre Cliche found a streaking Kozun in the neutral zone who skated the puck into the Charlotte defensive zone. Kozun found Holloway, who began to dive as he slid the puck past Charlotte goaltender Justin Pogge’s glove for what was then the go-ahead goal.
The Checkers evened the score with a goal by left wing Nicolas Blanchard at 1:58 of the third period. Left wing Oskar Osala sent a forward pass up to defenseman Bryan Rodney who carried the puck through the neutral zone. Rodney connected with a streaking Blanchard, who skated the puck into the Monarchs defensive zone. Blanchard fired a shot from the top of the left circle, beating Jones over his shoulder and into the net.
Notables: Right wing Brandon Kozun has scored five goals and seven assists for 12 points (5-7=12) in his last seven games…Tonight was the first time the Monarchs have lost by only one goal at home in regulation…Tonight was the first time the Monarchs have lost when leading after the second period, dating back to a 3-2 overtime loss to the Bridgeport Sound Tigers on October 29, 2010…Tonight was a season-low for penalty minutes for the Monarchs, racking up only four minutes in the penalty box…The Monarchs previous season-low was six penalty minutes, set on January 7 against the Providence Bruins.