The Manchester Monarchs, AHL Affiliate of the Los Angeles Kings, beat the Worcester Sharks, AHL Affiliate of the San Jose Sharks, 4-2 on Sunday afternoon at the Verizon Wireless Arena in Manchester, NH. The Monarchs made it a 5 out of 6 point weekend and for the second straight game, scored 4 or more goals.
The Monarchs walked into the Verizon Wireless Arena this afternoon with their heads held up high as they pulled off a 5-4 comeback win Saturday night. The Monarchs were trailing the Portland Pirates 4-2 with 9 minutes to go in the third. They scored 3 unanswered goals to come from behind and beat the Pirates 5-4 in regulation. Before Sunday's game the Monarchs record was 35-14-2-6 with 78 points, leading in the Eastern Conference and Atlantic Division races. The Worcester Sharks, on the other hand, found themselves with 50 points and record of 23-24-3-1, placing the team 4th in the Atlantic Division and 11th in the Eastern Conference. Monarchs head coach, Mark Morris, gave Mathias Niederberger the start in goal. Martin Jones didn't dress up for the game as he is expected to go back to the Kings later on in the day. Saturday night's game was probably the last game Jones would ever play for the Monarchs. With Jones going up, J.F Berube, who is now the starting goalie for the Monarchs, is expected to be assigned to Manchester this week after he was called up to make from for Jones during the Olympic break. Due to the goalie situation, the Monarchs did have to sign an "emergency back-up" for the game who was their assistant equipment manager. At the other end of the ice, Sharks head coach, Roy Sommer, put Troy Grosenick in net.
The puck dropped at approximately 3:05 pm EST for the Monarchs third game this weekend and their final home game for a week and a half since they'll be on a road trip next weekend. Just over two minutes in the first, Worcester got a penalty and the Monarchs took advantage only 14 seconds into the power play. Nick Deslauriers took a shot from inside the zone and got by Grosenick giving the Monarchs an early 1-0 lead. The goal was eventually credited to Colin Fraser as he tipped it in, which was his second goal as a Monarch; he netted one during the comeback win against the Pirates. Since that goal, the Monarchs were out of it, and for the third straight game, their first period wasn't good at all. Almost six minutes later, the Sharks got on the board as a puck was shot and was misplayed by Niederberger and Dan DaSilva was able to tip it in on what should've been a routine save for Mathias. The Sharks completely dominated the first and the Monarchs could barely get a shot off. After one period of play, the game was tied and the shots were 11-1 in favor of the Sharks. The only Monarchs shot was the goal two minutes in.
The Monarchs finally got a shot off 50 seconds into the second, which was Grosenick's first save of the game. The Sharks did get a puck in the net but was immediately waved off. Also in the second period, the Sharks had a four minute power play after a Monarch got a high sticking major, but couldn't capitalize. The Monarchs were able to start generating shots the second and with 14:13 into the period the Monarchs extended their lead. Derek Forbort made a stretch pass to Steve Qualier, who found Nick Shore storming to the net and put it in the back of the net after dekeing around Grosenick. Shore's goal would go on to be his ninth of the year. The second period remained scoreless since then, with both teams getting opportunities, but saves were made at both ends of the ice. After two periods of play, the shots were 24-10 for the Sharks.
Just six minutes into the third and final period, the Sharks tied the game up at 2. Sharks' Lane Scheidl put the original shot on Mathias, who couldn't control the rebound, and the puck landed on the tape of Brodie Reid who buried it. The Monarchs were a lot better in the third period, like they've been all weekend, and continued to work into the zone and get shots off. Three penalties were called in the third, two for Worcester and one for Manchester, but neither team could score with the man advantage. A huge moment in the game came with just over a minute left in regulation when Nick Shore, who was arguably the best player on the ice this game and all weekend, along with Jordan Weal who has 4 points over the past two games, made a great individual effort. Shore had stolen the puck, shot it on Grosenick, grabbed his own rebound and stuffed it behind the Sharks net minder, before falling into him. The net did come off, but the puck crossed the line first. Grosenick was very upset at the goal and thought it should've been reviewed. He was so angry, when he went to go argue to the officials he needed to be pulled back. The goal would stand as a good goal without a review and was Shore's 2nd of the game and 10th of the year. The Sharks pulled Grosenick, and on his way to the bench, he slammed his stick against the glass still upset with the officiating on the goal. With only 15 seconds left in the game, Andy Andreoff got the puck from a turnover at center ice, passed it up to Brian O'Neill who scored on the empty net, putting the game away and finishing off a 5 out of a possible 6 point weekend. At the end of regulation the shots were 32-19, in favor of the Sharks. With this win, Mathias Niederberger got his first AHL win in his career.
The Monarchs went 1 for 5 on the power play while Worcester was 0 for 5. The Monarchs improved to 36-14-2-6 with 80 points and remain at the top of the Eastern Conference and Atlantic Division, and is the first team this season to reach 80 points. This was the Sharks' 6th straight loss and dropped to 23-25-3-1 with 50 points still. The Monarchs will be back in action, on the road, this Friday and Saturday for a 2-game series against the Norfolk Admirals, AHL Affiliate of the Anaheim Ducks, at The Norfolk Scope in Norfolk, VA.
Three Stars of the Game:
#1 Nick Shore (2G)
#2 Dan DaSilva (1G)
#3 Mathias Niederberger (30 saves; first AHL win)