Right wing Oscar Moller leads the Monarchs to a 4-2 victory
Manchester (41-21-2-6, 90 points) remains in first place in the Atlantic Division with 90 points. Springfield (30-33-2-3, 65 points) is ranked sixth in the Atlantic Division with 65 points.
“I just think we kind of shut it down and I feel badly for ‘Zats’ (Jeff Zatkoff),” said Monarchs Head Coach Mark Morris following the game. “He played a wonderful game for us. The penalty kill did a wonderful job and we got off the beaten path a little bit. It’s a good reminder that you have to play the full 60 minutes.”
“I thought it could have been a larger margin that it was with how thoroughly we played,” said Morris. “To let them come back in and make it a 4-2 game makes it sound like it was closer than it was. It was a pretty solid effort for about 55 minutes.”
Right wing Brandon Kozun scored his 21st goal of the season at 15:29 of the second period. Receiving the puck after it wrapped around the glass, left wing Dwight King continued the momentum up past the right face-off circle. King then fired the puck to center Corey Elkins who was positioned off of goaltender David LeNeveu’s right side. Elkins fired a shot on goal, but was denied. Kozun capitalized on the loose puck and put it in the back of the net, scoring his sixth game-winning goal of the season.
King scored his 21st goal of the season at 5:41 of the first period to give the Monarchs an early 1-0 lead. Kozun carried the puck down along the right boards into Falcons territory before being stopped by a defenseman. Kozun handed the puck off to Elkins who then cut through the right face-off circle to the slot where he wristed the puck at LeNeveu. The netminder halted the initial shot, but the rebound spilled back into the crease. King was able to get the backhanded shot off, beating LeNeveu to give Manchester the early advantage.
Moller scored his 21st goal of the season at 4:11 of the second period to extend the Monarchs lead to 2-0. Obtaining the puck in the neutral zone, center Marc-Andre Cliche took off down the right half wall and making it past the blueline before spotting Moller in the left face-off circle. Cliche sent a pass over to the left face-off circle where Moller’s one-timer beat the Falcons netminder on his stick side, putting Manchester up 2-0.
Moller scored his second goal of the night and 22nd of the season at 5:16 of the third period, putting Manchester up 4-0. Center Justin Azevedo fought to bring the puck down the left boards before being halted by Springfield defenseman John Moore outside of the left face-off circle. Moller stepped in to grab the loose puck and fired a quick shot into the top right corner of the net for Manchester’s fourth tally of the night.
Right wing Tomas Kubalik scored his 22nd goal of the season at 17:46 of the third period to put Springfield on the board late in the game. Receiving the puck in the left face-off circle, defenseman Jonathan Sigalet fired a quick slap shot at Monarchs goaltender, but goaltender Jeff Zatkoff was denied. A handful of players fought for the loose puck in the crease before center Nick Tarnasky got the first attempt off, followed by right wing Steven Goertzen, but neither proved to be a match for Zatkoff. Kubalik then took a stab at the puck and eventually forced it under the netminder’s right pad for Springfield’s first tally of the night.
Right wing Petr Kalus scored his seventh goal of the season at 19:44 of the third period to quickly cut Manchester’s lead in half. After the puck came loose from a battle behind the net, it found itself on the stick of Moore in the left face-off circle. Moore quickly spotted Kalus off of the right post and sent the puck to his teammate, who in turn flicked the puck right under the diving Manchester goaltender to give Springfield their second goal of the game.
Zatkoff (18-12-5) earned his 18th victory of the season, stopping 24-of-26 shots on goal. LeNeveu (16-18-2) stopped 24-of-28 shots on net, dropping his 18th decision of the season.
Manchester went 1-for-5 on the power play. Springfield was 0-for-6 with the man advantage.
Notables: Right wing Oscar Moller scored his fourth shorthanded goal of the season in the second period, giving the Monarchs their fourth shorthanded goal in the past three games…Out of the Monarchs 10 shorthanded goals this season, four of those markers have been against Springfield…Moller is in the midst of a four-game point streak, having recorded five goals and two assists for seven points (5-2=7).