IceCaps Take Game, First Place
Monarchs fall to the IceCaps; rematch slated for Saturday
Manchester (21-14-0-2) dropped to second place in the Atlantic Division with 44 points. St. John’s (20-8-4-1) moved into first place in the Atlantic Division with 45 points.
“No puck luck tonight,” said Monarch Head Coach Mark Morris. “We led 2-0 at one point and everything was going well. An untimely penalty was a momentum killer and a packed house got behind the IceCaps. Two pucks went in off us and two off their players. That’s how it played out from that point. We played hard and we worked but we got exposed trying to get ourselves back in the game. It was a step in the right direction. We’ll need a big effort and bounce back tomorrow night.”
St. John’s continued their comeback with left wing Shawn Weller’s fifth goal of the season and second tally of the night. Defenseman Travis Ramsey was able to hold the puck in the Monarchs zone and pass it up to Weller in the high slot. Weller carried the puck to the top of the left face-off circle before turning and whipping a shot toward the net. The puck slipped past Monarchs goaltender Jeff Zatkoff’s glove to give the IceCaps a 3-2 lead at 8:51 of the third period. Left wing Carl Klingberg earned an assist on the goal.
Rookie center Robbie Czarnik tipped in his fourth goal of the season with one second remaining on the power play to give the Monarchs a 1-0 lead. Defenseman Nick Deslauriers fed a pass over to his blueline partner, defenseman Thomas Hickey, at the right point. Hickey carried the puck into the right face-off circle before firing a shot on net. IceCaps goaltender David Aebischer made a right pad save on Hickey’s shot but Czarnik was on the left doorstep to tip the rebound over the goal line at 11:51 of the first period.
Right wing Linden Vey doubled the Monarchs lead with his 10th tally of the season at 6:02 of the middle frame. Right wing Stefan Legein skated into the IceCaps zone and snapped a wrist shot on net from the right hash mark. Aebischer stopped Legein’s shot and the rebound bounced toward the left wing boards. Vey was in the bottom of the left face-off circle and one-timed a shot into the open net to give the Monarchs a 2-0 advantage. Left wing Ray Kaunisto assisted on the Monarchs second goal of the night.
The IceCaps took control for the rest of the second period as they tied the game with two goals one minute and 25 seconds apart. Just 11 seconds into the IceCaps power play, defenseman Jason DeSantis put St. John’s on the scoreboard. Left wing Jason Jaffray cycled the puck with DeSantis. Jaffrey passed the puck from the right wing half wall to DeSantis at the right point. With traffic in front of Zatkoff, DeSantis snapped a shot through the bodies and into the net for his sixth goal of the season at 9:27 of the middle stanza.
Weller deflected the puck past Zatkoff for his fourth tally of the season at 10:52 of the second period. Defenseman Brett Festerling ripped a slap shot from the left point that deflected off of Weller’s left leg before sliding through the crease, narrowly escaping Zatkoff’s right skate as it passed the goal line. Defenseman Paul Postma assisted on Weller’s goal to tie the game at 2-2.
Jaffray finished off the Monarchs with an insurance goal at 19:05 of the final frame. Ramsey fed the puck up the ice to center Aaron Gagnon as he broke into the Monarchs zone. Gagnon skated toward the net on a 2-on-1 with Jaffray to his left. Gagnon passed the puck to Jaffray in the slot for the tap in and his ninth goal of the season.
Zatkoff (10-5-1) took his fifth loss of the season stopping 43-of-47 shots. Aebischer (9-3-1) earned his ninth win of the season making 23 saves on 25 shots.
Manchester went 1-for-3 on the power play. St. John’s was also 1-for-3 with the man advantage.
Notables: The Monarchs dropped their first back-to-back games in regulation since October 22 and 26…Right wing Linden Vey is ranked second on the Monarchs with 10 goals…Goaltender Jeff Zatkoff faced 47 shots from the IceCaps which ties for a season-high for shots faced from an opponent.