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February 26. 2012 8:44PM

Monarchs break skid with win over Providence


Manchester Monarchs' Marc-Andre Cliche tries to fight off Providence Bruin Nathan McIver as a shot gets by goalie Michael Hutchinson during the second period of their AHL game at the Verizon Wireless Arena in Manchester. Manchester Monarchs defenseman Jake Muzzin was credited with the goal and the Monarchs won, 4-3. (Mark Bolton/Union Leader)

MANCHESTER — It will be a much more enjoyable week off for the Manchester Monarchs after a 4-3 win over Providence in front of 6,869 fans at Verizon Wireless Arena Sunday.

The Monarchs broke a seven-game winless skid (0-6-1) with the win and improved to 29-27-3. Manchester will be off until next Sunday when it hosts Connecticut at 3 p.m.

Manchester trailed 2-0 after one period, rallied to score three in the second and then had to score late to pull out the win against the Bruins (26-25-6).

“We rebounded from a couple of glitches we had there (in the first). I give our guys a lot of credit for hanging in,” said Monarchs head coach Mark Morris. “It was just huge in the second period to come out with the energy and get as many pucks at the net as we did. They weren't pretty, but it all adds up at the tail end.”

Rookie Linden Vey scored the game-winner with 2:32 remaining in the game. Defenseman Jake Muzzin's shot from the high point was stopped by goalie Michael Hutchinson, but the rebound went to Vey camped on the left side for a quick put-back.

“To score the game-winner at the tail end and to execute a simple low-to-high play with net traffic … Jake Muzzin got the puck to the net and Vey was standing there to bang home the rebound,” Morris said. “That's kind of how you draw up those types plays in practice. I think the difference for our production today was to have net traffic.”

Providence had tied the game at 3-3 at 9:36 of the third period. Bruins defenseman Max Sauve shot from just inside the blue line on the right wing side, sneaking the puck past goalie Jeff Zatkoff.

But the Monarchs got the late goal to secure the win, ended their winless string, snapped their home losing streak at five and sent the team into the week-long lull on a high note.

“That's huge for us. It would have been a tough week to look for positives if you don't come out of it with two points,” said Monarchs defenseman and assistant captain Thomas Hickey. “For us, it's going to be nice to get a little rest.”

Providence took a 1-0 lead just 80 seconds into the game on a Kirk MacDonald tally. Patrick Mullen's clearing attempt from behind his own net was picked off by Sauve, who passed to Jamie Arniel behind the net. Arniel centered to MacDonald out front for a one-timer to beat Zatkoff high glove-side.

The Bruins extended to a 2-0 lead on a Craig Cunningham goal at 9:19. Trent Whitfield carried the puck into the Manchester zone and fed Cunningham on the right side. Cunningham skated into the circle and snapped a wrist shot over Zatkoff's shoulder.

Manchester came to life in the second period. Muzzin scored his fifth goal of the year during a power play, firing a shot from the high point that Hutchinson stopped but could not control as the puck trickled in behind him at 6:47.

The Monarchs tied the game less than a minute later. Robbie Czarnik's shot was stopped by Hutchinson but the rebound lay in the crease and Brandon Kozun pounced on it to knock in his 16th of the year.

With just 12.1 seconds remaining in the second, the Monarchs took their first lead of the afternoon. Czarnik skated the puck into the Providence zone and sent the puck on net. Ray Kaunisto got off a shot that Hutchinson stopped, but in trying to swat at the rebound the goalie tipped the puck into the net and Manchester led 3-2 after two.

“I was pleased that the guys responded to the challenge after the first period,” Morris said. “We had a pretty firm message and our guys really responded. When that happens, you've got to feel good about things.”


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