Ian Clark: 'Unacceptable' loss for Monarchs
MANCHESTER - The Springfield Falcons scored five third-period goals to erase a 3-0 deficit and skate out of Manchester with a 5-4 win over the Monarchs in front of 3,864 fans at Verizon Wireless Arena Friday night.
Manchester fell to 9-7-3 while Springfield improved to 11-3-4. The teams will meet again tonight in Springfield at 7. Manchester returns home Sunday to host Portland at 3 p.m.
"I think our guys mentally thought they had the game won and Springfield had other thoughts," said Monarchs head coach Mark Morris. "There were a lot of young mistakes tonight and obviously we've got to find ways to shut teams out."
The Falcons completed the comeback with a go-ahead shorthanded goal at 15:10 of the third period. Andrew Joudrey started a two-on-one break during the penalty kill and fed Ryan Craig on the right side for a shot that beat Martin Jones high glove-side.
"To lose on a shorthanded goal is really frustrating," said Monarchs alternate captain Rich Clune. "It's unacceptable, to be honest."
Trailing 3-0 to open the third period, Springfield came out strong and quickly got back into the game. Nick Holden got the Falcons on the board 2:32 into the period, snapping off a wrist shot from the left circle that beat Jones under the crossbar for his second of the season.
Springfield pulled within a goal at 5:26 on a power-play goal from Matt Calvert. Cam Atkinson sent a cross-ice pass from the left circle to Calvert for a one-timer from the right circle faceoff dot that beat Jones before he could get across, setting the score at 3-2.
The Monarchs pulled back ahead by two on a goal from Robbie Czarnik at 11:47. Defenseman Jake Muzzin made a pass from the left point to Czarnik in the right circle for a one-timer that deflected off Curtis McElhinney's catching glove and flipped into the net.
But back came the Falcons, scoring just 49 seconds later to make the score 4-3. Michael Chaput threw a backhand shot toward the net from the right side and Dalton Smith tipped it past Jones from the slot.
Springfield tied the game at 4-4 at 13:30 of the third period. Tomas Kubalik's wrist shot from the left circle went off Jones' chest and the rebound went to Craig in the slot for a put-back into the open net.
"We needed some big plays and we didn't get them," Morris said. "Any time you go into the third period with a three-goal lead, expectations are that you'll get the job done. We didn't get it done."
Manchester took a 1-0 lead on the only goal of the first period. Rookie Jordan Weal scored his first career pro goal at 14:10. Defenseman Vincent LoVerde sent a slap-pass from the right wing point that Weal deflected from between the circles for the tally.
The Monarchs extended the lead to 3-0 with a pair in the second period. Tyler Toffoli netted his 10th of the season at 1:54 to make it 2-0, banging home a rebound from the right circle after McElhinney left a big rebound off a Tanner Pearson shot from the left wing boards.
Manchester captain Marc-Andre Cliche pushed the lead to 3-0 at 10:26. Dwight King stole the puck from Holden in front of the Springfield net and King made a soft finesse pass across the top of the crease to Cliche on the right side for a one-timer into the open cage.
The second-period score was all Manchester, but the Falcons applied steady pressure through much of the frame. But Jones was sharp, turning aside several high-percentage scoring chances. The biggest came with 12:34 remaining when he kicked out the left pad to rob Nick Drazenovic from point-blank range on a rebound chance at the right post to keep Springfield off the board for the time being.