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December 30. 2011 10:09PM

Monarchs win in OT, return home Saturday night

Linden Vey scored 1:15 into overtime, allowing the Manchester Monarchs to escape with a 5-4 win Friday over the Albany River Rats in front of a crowd of 5,823 at the Times Union Center in Albany, N.Y.

The win pushed the Monarchs into first place in the Atlantic Division with 42 points. Albany is second in the Northeast Division with 34 points.

The Monarchs return home Saturday night to the Verizon Wireless Arena to host the Providence Bruins at 7 p.m.

The New Year’s Eve contest features what is being billed as the largest indoor fireworks display in New England, and the first 2,000 people through the doors receive glow-in-the-dark rally towels.

The Monarchs jumped out to a 3-1 lead after one period, but Albany stormed back to tie the game at 4-all on a goal by Vladimir Zharkoz at 11:17 of the third period.

Manchester went into the game with a power play ranked 28th out of 30 teams, but scored two goals in the first period with the man advantage as it took a 3-0.

Stefan Legein got the Monarchs on the board just 1:42 into the game with his fifth goal of the year. Their next two goals came with the man advantage. Robbie Czarnik banged home a rebound at 14:07 to make it 2-0, and defenseman Tom Hickey made it 3-0 with his first goal of the season off a shot from the point at 17:42.

Albany got two goals midway through the second period to get back into the game. Manchester’s Marc-Andre Cliche stemmed the tide temporarily with his 10th goal of the season, but the River Rats picked up a big goal when Brandon Burlon scored with just over a minute left in the period.

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