Monarchs have Whale of a game, score franchise-record nine goals
MANCHESTER - Eight different players recorded a multiple point night as the Manchester Monarchs routed the Connecticut Whale 9-2 in front of 5,245 fans at Verizon Wireless Arena Saturday night.
The nine goals are a franchise record and the win improved the Monarchs to 11-9-3 and drew a standing ovation from the crowd. Connecticut fell to 10-10-2 for 25 points. Manchester will host Atlantic Division rival Worcester (11-8-3, 25) today at 3 p.m. in a battle for first place.
"I hope that we woke up a sleeping giant. Goals have been hard to come by," said Monarchs head coach Mark Morris. "Obviously, it's a welcome sign. We played a good team game."
Overall, 15 different Monarchs recorded a point in the game. Brandon Kozun (two goals, assist), Linden Vey (two goals) and Andrei Loktionov (goal, two assists) led the way.
"I think we weren't happy with our last game," said Manchester forward Jordan Nolan of the team's 3-2 loss at Providence Friday. "We knew we needed a big one. We came up big."
The Monarchs outshot Connecticut 15-5 in the first period and that 3-1 ratio showed up on the scoreboard as well as Manchester led 3-1 after one frame.
Nolan started the scoring with a highlight reel goal, putting a move on Whale defenseman Sam Klassen at the blue line and skating in alone and firing a wrist shot to beat Cam Talbot low stick-side at 5:34.
Manchester made it 2-0 at 7:21. Andy Andreoff's centering pass from behind the net skipped past two Monarchs' sticks before defenseman Andrew Bodnarchuk collected at the blue line, skated into the slot and wristed a shot past Talbot's glove.
The lead went to 3-0 at 16:06 on a Rich Clune goal. Nolan sent a backhand shot on net from the right goal line that Talbot stopped with his pad. But Clune was camped on the post and whipped the rebound into the open left side of the cage.
The Whale got on the board with 2:01 remaining in the period. J.T. Miller intercepted a clearing bid and passed to Tommy Grant for a shot that Peter Mannino (23 saves) stopped with his pads. But the rebound came to Christian Thomas all alone on the right side for an easy put-back.
That goal could have been the catalyst for Connecticut getting back into the game, but the Monarchs didn't allow it, scoring just 47 seconds into the second period. Kozun scored by tapping a rebound home from the slot after a Slava Voynov slap shot was stopped.
"I give our guys a lot of credit because we had a pretty determined message that we sent in our morning meeting," Morris said. "We've had too many situations where we've gotten out to leads and let them slip through our fingers. We were good tonight."
Manchester extended to a 5-1 lead at 7:08 of the second. Tyler Toffoli's shot from the right circle slid through the crease and Loktionov was there on the left to roof the puck and end Talbot's night. Massive 6-foot-8 goaltender Jason Missiaen came in to mop up.
Connecticut's Kelsey Tessier scored at 2:57 of the third period to make it 5-2, but the Monarchs put the clamps on the game with four more goals. Voynov scored at 11:28 after a patient wait-and-feed from Kozun and Kozun got another for himself by driving the net for a rebound tally at 14:12 to make it 7-2.
Tanner Pearson and Vey closed the scoring with two connections. Pearson centered the puck for a Vey one-timer past Missiaen at 14:28 and then set up Vey for a wrister from the high slot to cap the fireworks.
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Ian Clark may be reached at email@example.com.