Kozun Leads the Way for Monarchs
Manchester wins third straight game
Manchester (24-19-0-2) is in second place in the Atlantic Division with 50 points. Adirondack (21-19-1-1) is tied for third place in the East Division with the Albany Devils with 44 points each.
“We had some real good efforts,” said Monarch Head Coach Mark Morris. “I thought we were stronger on the puck than we’ve been in the past. We didn’t have to spend a whole lot of time in our zone but (Jeff) Zatkoff was sharp when we did. I was real happy with the way we played in the third, especially late when they were putting on a push to try and get back in the game.”
Monarchs made it 2-0 as right wing Jordan Nolan exited the penalty box and received an indirect pass from defenseman Andrew Campbell. The Phantoms were putting on pressure in the slot of the Monarchs zone when defenseman Jake Muzzin was able to get his stick on the puck before Campbell slid the pass up the ice to Nolan. Stepping on to the ice from the penalty box, Nolan grabbed the pass and carried the puck in for a breakaway. On the breakaway, Nolan slid the puck past goaltender Michael Leighton’s right skate at 11:31 of the second period. Nolan’s ninth of the season was the eventual game-winning goal.
Monarchs center Marc-Andre Cliche opened the scoring with a power play goal at 6:50 of the first period. Right wing Stefan Legein freed the puck along the right wing boards and sent a pass to center Justin Azevedo at the Phantoms blueline. Azevedo gained the zone and carried the puck to the right face-off circle before finding Cliche on the left doorstep for the tip in for his team-leading 13th goal of the season.
At 12:40 in the middle stanza, the Monarchs struck to make the score 3-0. Cliche won an offensive zone face-off at the right circle. With two Phantoms players putting on pressure, right wing J.D Watt kicked the puck out of foot traffic and was able to get a shot on Leighton. The rebound popped free in the slot and Watt dove to chip the puck into the net for his second goal of the season.
The Monarchs picked up their second power play goal of the night when Kozun tipped in a rebound off of defenseman Nick Deslauriers’ initial shot from the right face-off circle. As the Monarchs cycled the puck, right wing Linden Vey fed a pass over to Deslauriers in the right face-off circle for a one-timer. Deslauriers’ shot deflected off Leighton’s pads and came to rest in the crease. Kozun nudged the puck over the goal line for his 11th goal of the season.
Phantoms netminder Jason Bacashihua replaced Leighton between the pipes following Kozun’s first goal of the night.
Kozun tallied his second goal of the game on a one-timer from the upper left corner of the slot. Vey won a puck race at the bottom of the Phantoms zone to the left of the net. Vey slid the puck back to Kozun for the one-timer and his 12th goal of the season at the two-minute mark of the third period. Defenseman Patrick Mullen assisted on the tally that gave the Monarchs a 5-0 advantage.
Adirondack managed to prevent the shutout as right wing Mike Testwuide and center Ben Holmstrom executed a two-on-one offensive rush. Entering the Monarchs zone, Testwuide fed the puck over to Holmstrom who faked shot from the right face-off circle. Holmstrom slid the puck back to Testwuide for the redirection into the net at 6:26 of the third period. Defenseman Blake Kessel tallied an assist on Testquide’s eighth goal of the season.
Monarchs goaltender Jeff Zatkoff (12-8-1) earned his 12th victory of the season stopping 28-of-29 shots. Leighton (14-15-0) took his 15th loss of the season making 11 saves on 15 shots. Bacashihua (7-5-1) made 12 saves on 13 shots in relief of Leighton.
Manchester went 2-for-4 on the power play. Adirondack was 0-for-4 with the man advantage.
Notables: The Monarchs are on a three-game winning streak…Center Justin Azevedo is currently on a four-game point streak (2-2=4)…Monarchs goaltender Jeff Zatkoff took a shutout into the third period before surrendering a goal at 6:28 of the third period…Defenseman Jake Muzzin has three assists in his last three games (0-3=3).