The Manchester Monarchs deserved a better fate than they received in a 4-3 loss in the home end of their current home-and-home series with the Hartford Wolf Pack last Saturday. They earned it in Hartford on Wednesday night by capitalizing on a second period Wolf Pack collapse and a 3-for-6 power play performance en route to a 6-3 victory.
The Wolf Pack got off to a good start, dominating the early minutes of play and earning the first lead of the game on the power play at 6:24. Artem Anisimov, fresh from his debut with the New York Rangers on Tuesday night, controlled the puck in the right corner and fed it up to the right point where Corey Potter teed up a slap shot that was blocked in front but found its way on to the stick of P.A. Parenteau at the left side of the net. Parenteau backhanded the puck past starting goaltender Daniel Taylor for his 21st goal of the season, tying Anisimov for the team lead in goals.
Manchester answered on a power play of their own less than two minutes later when Brian Fahey lost track of left wing Matt Moulson, who took a feed in the slot from Marty Murray, who was stationed behind the net, and one-timed it past Hartford starter Matt Zaba’s glove.
The goal brought the Monarchs to life, and from there on out, the visitors out-worked, out-thought and out-hit the home team. After finishing the first period tied with nine shots on goal apiece, Manchester put up a dominant 17-8 lead in shots in the second period (34-26 over all) while tallying three straight goals in the first 12:37 of the frame.
At 4:13 the game’s eventual first star, 19-year old Russian defenseman Viatcheslav Voynov, a former national team teammate of Anisimov’s who was a healthy scratch in Saturday’s match, took a shot from the top of the right circle which was blocked in the slot, but squirted free from a tangle of bodies to Justin Azevedo. Azevedo, who was wide open right in front of Zaba, took his time, forcing Zaba to make the first move before putting it in the top corner with just one second remaining on a Wolf Pack penalty.
Only 25 seconds later Slovakian winger Vladimir Dravecky found a pinching Voynov in the right circle. Voynov one-timed the puck past Zaba for his second goal of the season to make it 3-1.
Manchester extended its lead to 4-1 at 12:37 of the period when Murray was allowed to take multiple whacks at a rebound of Moulson’s shot before he poked it behind Zaba for his eighth of the season.
In a period in which they were thoroughly dominated Hartford finally showed some signs of life in the closing minutes. Left wing Brodie Dupont kicked things off with a bone-crunching hit in the defensive zone, which turned into a rush up ice. Once inside the Manchester zone, Parenteau earned his 55th point of the season when he fed Jordan Owens in the high slot. Owens hesitated a split second as Anisimov skated through the crease, timing the screen perfectly and beating Taylor for his ninth of the season to cut the deficit to two goals at 17:54.
It looked like the Wolf Pack might be able to make a game of it when Manchester defenseman Joe Piskula was whistled for holding with 39 seconds remaining in the period. But Pack blueliner Potter evened things up 26 seconds later when he was assessed a goaltender interference penalty after bumping Taylor in the crease.
That penalty would come back to haunt Hartford early in the third period when Scott Parse expertly deflected defenseman Alec Martinez’s slap shot from the point past Zaba while the teams were skating four-on-four. The tally effectively ended any hopes of a Wolf Pack comeback.
Each team would add another goal in the last two minutes of the game. With Devin DiDiomete in the box for charging, Manchester picked up its third power play goal of the game at 18:35 when David Meckler scored off the rebound of a Trevor Lewis shot as he was falling to the ice.
Dale Weise tallied the final Wolf Pack goal with 1.1 seconds remaining when a wide shot from Potter bounced off the back boards to where he was stationed near the left post. Weise backhanded the puck past Taylor for his second goal in as many games.
The loss ended Hartford’s three-game winning streak, giving them a record of 25-19-2-3 for 55 points, good for third in the Atlantic Division behind Providence (57 points) and Worcester (56). Portland remains just two points behind the Pack with a game in hand.
Highlights are available from AHL Live.
- Brandon Sugden returned to the lineup after missing two games with a hand injury.
- Defenseman Bobby Sanguinetti was a -2 on the night, dropping his team worst plus-minus rating to -17. Tom Pyatt was also -2.
- Zaba was a nominee for both the Reebok/AHL Player of the Week award for the week ending February 1, 2009 and the Reebok X-Pulse/AHL Goaltender of the Month for January.
- With a goal and an assist, Parenteau increased his team scoring lead over Anisimov to four points and has points in all but two of his last 17 games (9 goals, 18 assists). Anisimov has picked up at least a point in all but two of his last 19 games (10 goals, 15 assists).
- The contest featured three fights: Devin DiDiomete vs. Richard Clune, DiDiomete vs. Josh Kidd, and Dale Weise vs. Andrew Campbell. None of them were particularly noteworthy or had a clear winner.
1. Parenteau (21) (Potter, Anisimov) 6:24 (PP)
1. Moulson (8) (Murray, Purcell) 8:20 (PP)
2. Azevedo (6) (Voynov, Lewis) 4:13 (PP)
2. Voynov (5) (Dravecky, Meckler) 4:38
2. Murray (8) (Moulson, Piskula) 12:37
2. Owens (9) (Parenteau, Fahey) 17:54
3. Parse (13) (Martinez, Bagnall) 0:27
3. Meckler (11) (Lewis, Gauthier) 18:35 (PP)
3. Weise (5) (Potter, Sauer) 19:58
Owens – Rissmiller – Weise
Dupont – Anisimov – Parenteau
Pyatt – Ouellette – Ford
DiDiomete – Moore – Sugden
Potter – Sanguinetti
Nightingale – Sauer
Urquhart – Fahey
Zaba / Daigneault
1. Viatcheslav Voynov
2. Marty Murray
3. Matt Moulson
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