Monarchs stymied by an old friend
Now with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, Zatkoff made 33 saves Friday to lead the Penguins to a 2-0 win over the Monarchs and earn his first shutout of the season in front of 4,104 fans on "Bobblehead Election Night." President Barack Obama won the mock election, 1,000 to 983, as fans cast their "vote" by picking between an Obama or Mitt Romney bobblehead doll.
Zatkoff stood tall amid a first-period barrage of 13 Manchester shots and got into a groove early.
"The shutout was an added bonus. I had this game circled for a while since I signed in Pittsburgh and saw we were playing here," Zatkoff said. "To come back and play your old team, you want to leave your mark here."
Trailing 2-0 in the third period, the Monarchs (5-2-0) knocked on Zatkoff's door for the final 20 minutes, as they had all game, but were never allowed in. Former Pinkerton Academy and University of New Hampshire product Paul Thompson put the exclamation point on the game with an empty-net goal in the final minute and WBS improved to 3-5-0.
"Zats was really good," said Monarchs head coach Mark Morris. "They had the puck bouncing their way and I think the penalties in the second period took a lot out of us. It sapped our energy."
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton used those penalties to score a pair of power-play goals in the second to notch all the offense it would need. The first came at 3:42 when Manchester's Stefan Legein was unable to clear the puck in the slot and Eric Tangradi pushed a shot through Martin Jones' five-hole from the low slot.
The Penguins struck again at 8:41 when Dylan Reese's wrist shot from above the right circle fluttered over Jones' shoulder stick-side.
That second tally came during a 4-minute power play chance after Monarchs rookie Andy Andreoff went after Warren Peters in the corner. Andreoff took exception to a Peters hit on Richard Clune and began to throw punches at Peters as he was down on the ice.
"There were other ones," Morris said of the bad penalties Manchester took. "I think it was a culmination of guys doing a lot of reaching. That's usually a sign that you're not skating and I thought we got beat to a lot of pucks after we got into the penalties."
Zatkoff came out hot and was especially sharp against Manchester's power play, robbing Tanner Pearson on the doorstep with a left pad save midway through the first period and making two sparkling saves in the final seconds of the frame as the Monarchs pressured.
Zatkoff earned the first star of the game and when he came out onto the ice for that announcement he got a large ovation from the Verizon crowd.
"That's great. All night, even when I came out for warm-ups there were signs on the glass," Zatkoff said. "That means a lot. To see that faithful following even though I'm on the opposite team, to still respect what I've done here and getting that ovation, that was great."
The Monarchs are off Saturday and will play at Worcester Sunday at 3 p.m. The defensive corps has thinned out as David Kolomatis left Friday's game with an upper body injury and Andrew Campbell (upper body) is also out of the lineup for an extended period of time.