Monarchs Stay Cold Against Penguins
Manchester drops seventh straight game
Manchester (21-19-0-2) dropped to fourth place in the Atlantic Division with 44 points. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (23-12-1-4) is tied for second place in the East Division with 51 points.
Penguins right wing Colin McDonald tallied his first goal of the night at 6:43 of the first period. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton right wing Paul Thompson gained the Monarchs zone along the right wing and carried the puck in deep before dropping a pass back to his linemate. McDonald grabbed the loose puck and launched a shot from just inside the right wing face-off circle that went off the post and in for his ninth tally of the season.
The Monarchs opened the scoring 47 seconds into the game as defenseman Patrick Mullen tallied his sixth goal of the season. Defenseman Thomas Hickey threw the puck on net producing a rebound to the right wing boards. Mullen tracked down the puck and blasted a shot from the top of the right wing face-off circle and beat Penguins netminder Brad Thiessen. Center Justin Azevedo tallied an assist moving him into sole possession of eighth place on the Monarchs all-time assist list with 81.
The Penguins tied the game at 1-1 in the first period at 1:47 when left wing Bryan Lerg wristed in a shot from between the hash marks. Right wing Geoff Walker fed the puck from the left wing boards to Lerg in the center of the zone. Lerg’s wrist shot beat Monarchs goaltender Jeff Zatkoff to tie the game. Defenseman Peter Merth also tallied an assist on Lerg’s 16th goal of the season.
The Penguins took a 3-1 lead with a power play tally as McDonald collected his second goal of the game. The Penguins won an offensive zone face-off and maintained possession with the man advantage. As they cycled through the zone, center Ben Street fed the puck back to defenseman Alex Grant at the point who spotted McDonald in the right wing face-off circle. McDonald shot the puck into the net for his 10th goal of the season at the 11-minute mark of the opening frame.
Monarchs goaltender Martin Jones replaced Zatkoff in net following McDonald’s second goal of the night.
At 19:19 of the first period, the Penguins capped a four-goal first period when center Zach Sill punched in a rebound on Jones. Center Ryan Craig fed defenseman Robert Bortuzzo at the right point for a one-timer. The shot resulted in a rebound in front of the net where Sill was able to get a stick on the puck for his seventh goal of the season.
Zatkoff (10-8-1) took his eighth loss of the season stopping 4-of-7 shots. Jones (11-11-1) entered the game after the Penguins third goal in the first period and made 22 saves on 23 shots. Thiessen (15-10-2) earned his 15th win of the season making 29 saves on 30 shots.
Manchester went 0-for-5 on the power play. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton was 1-for-3 with the man advantage.
Notables: The Monarchs extended their losing streak to seven games, a franchise record…Monarchs defenseman Patrick Mullen returned from injury after missing five games and scored just 47 seconds into the game…Mullen has five points (1-4=5) in his last four games…Center Justin Azevedo tallied an assist on Mullen’s first period goal giving him 81 assists for his career with the Monarchs…With the assist, Azevedo moved into sole possession of eighth place on the Monarchs all-time assist list.