Monarchs ice St. John's, 4-1
MANCHESTER - The special teams lived up to their name and goaltender Peter Mannino was sharp against his former team as the Manchester Monarchs defeated the St. John's IceCaps 4-1 in front of 2,253 fans at Verizon Wireless Arena Wednesday night.
Manchester (6-2-1) was 3-of-9 on the power play and killed all six St. John's chances. Mannino made 26 saves in his first action of the season and just missed getting a shutout.
"I thought we were real good on the power play again tonight and we got a lot of contributions from various guys in the lineup," said Monarchs head coach Mark Morris. "I thought Peter Mannino did a nice job in the net. I think it was huge among his teammates for them to see him have some success and to believe in the job he can do."
Mannino's shutout bid was spoiled with just 1:14 remaining in the game when Alex Burmistov deflected a Paul Postma shot into the cage to make it 3-1. Manchester was able to post an empty net goal from Tyler Toffoli in the final minute to put the game away.
Mannino played with St. John's last season and still wears his IceCaps mask. He said he was grateful to get his first ice time of the season and for the situation overall that he finds himself in.
"It was a long summer. A lot of guys are struggling with free agency and this goes out to them," Mannino said. "I was there last minute before camp and it's an unbelievable opportunity for (Monarchs general manager) Ron Hextall to give me a chance. It sounds soppy, but it really is."
A string of St. John's penalties resulted in a pair of power-play goals for the Monarchs in the first period. Defenseman Slava Voynov gave Manchester a 1-0 lead at 12:23 during a five-on-three. Voynov one-timed a slap shot from the high slot to beat Mark Dekanich five-hole.
Brandon Kozun made it 2-0 with a five-on-four tally at 13:47. Defenseman Nick Deslauriers sent a slap shot on net from the right point and Kozun tipped it in front to beat Dekanich.
The IceCaps (5-7-0) had an opportunity to get back into the game with a full 2:00 of five-on-three power play time in the second period but came up empty. Mannino robbed Ben Maxwell with a pad save from point-blank range after a feed from Derek Whitmore for the highlight of the 2:00 kill.
"You knew after we had all those penalties in the first that they were going to bring momentum back," Mannino said of the IceCaps pressure. "I felt comfortable going in and the guys made some big blocks. It was a team effort and that was a big point in the game."
Manchester's Stefan Legein was hit up high by an elbow from Zach Redmond later in the second. Monarchs captain Marc-Andre Cliche took exception to the hit and dropped the gloves with Redmond, who ended up with a game misconduct and 5:00 major for the elbow.
The Monarchs used the power play to extend to a 3-0 lead on a Kozun goal at 18:22. Dwight King sent a pass from the right wing boards to Kozun in the left circle and Kozun sent a low wrist shot past Dekanich.
Manchester remains at home for the weekend, hosting Bridgeport (and former assistant coach Scott Pellerin, now head coach of the Sound Tigers) Friday at 7 p.m. and Providence Saturday at 7 p.m. for "Mullets in Movember" night.