Jones, Monarchs blank B's on 'Mullets in Movember' night
Manchester Monarchs fans get outfitted in purple mullets before the start of the Monarchs game at the Verizon Wireless Arena in Manchester Saturday. (Mark Bolton/Union Leader)
MANCHESTER - The Manchester Monarchs celebrated "Mullets in Movember" with a 3-0 win over Providence in front of a season-high 8,203 fans at Verizon Wireless Arena Saturday night.
With fans rocking purple mullet wigs and mustaches, the Monarchs improved to 7-3-1 and goaltender Martin Jones earned his third shutout of the season. The Bruins fell to 4-6-0.
The Monarchs turned in a strong performance one night after losing 4-1 to Bridgeport at home.
"We were harder on the puck and we executed very well, especially on the breakouts. When they applied pressure I thought we responded well," Monarchs head coach Mark Morris said. "(This) effort was a far cry better than what we saw (Friday). I thought (Friday) we fell asleep a couple times and this time we were bright-eyed and ready to go."
The first goal of the game came more than halfway through the second period when the Monarchs scored a shorthanded marker to take a 1-0 lead.
Manchester defenseman Slava Voynov sent a long clearing pass into the Providence end and Monarch Dwight King raced with Torey Krug for the puck. King won the battle in the right circle, nudging the puck to a trailing Andrei Loktionov for a one-timer past Niklas Svedberg.
The Monarchs pushed the lead to 2-0 at 7:14 of the third period, striking just after a power play ended. Manchester maintained pressure in the Bruins zone and defenseman Thomas Hickey sent a shot on net that Svedberg stopped, but the rebound came to rookie Tanner Pearson for a sweep into the open net.
Pearson got the goal not long after a golden opportunity banged off his stick and hit the post during the power play. But he stayed with the play and was rewarded with his third goal of the year.
"I probably should have had one earlier that hit off the post, but breaks happen and I got a wide-open net and just tried to put it home." Pearson said.
King added an insurance goal with 1:27 remaining, scoring an empty net goal for his first tally of the season. The only thing left to decide was Jones shutout, which he secured with two last-second saves to bring his total to 19 stops in the game.
"Providence had their pushes tonight but we did a real good job of eliminating any grade A scoring chances," Jones said. "We were real solid in the defensive zone and that definitely made life easier."
Mental lapses led to trouble in Friday's loss and Morris was much happier with the thinking portion of Manchester's game Saturday.
"Every time the guys hit the ice you could tell their heads were in it and we had way better focus," Morris said. "The guys were composed and we were harder on the back-check, which allowed our D to be way more aggressive and I thought that our preparation was evident."
Up next, Manchester will host Adirondack Wednesday at 10 a.m. in the annual "Education Day" event.