Sharks take a bite out of Monarchs in 3-2 comeback win
MANCHESTER - The Worcester Sharks scored a pair of third period goals to claim a 3-2 comeback win over the Manchester Monarchs in front of 4,386 fans at Verizon Wireless Arena Sunday.
The win gave Worcester (12-8-3, 27 points) first place in the Atlantic Division while Manchester dropped to second place at 11-10-3 for 25 points. It was the third game in as many days for the Monarchs.
"We have a lot of guys that need to get stronger so we can play three-on-threes. I didn't think we had much jump in periods two and three," said Monarchs head coach Mark Morris. "We let another one get away. This game should have been ours. Keeping (the players) focused for the full 60 minutes and having the strength to do it is a major challenge right now."
Worcester tied the game at 2-2 at 8:28 of the third period with a power-play goal. During a scramble around the goal, Shark center Tim Kennedy was able to bang the puck home from the right post.
The Sharks took their first lead of the game at 12:52 of the third. James Sheppard sent a head-man pass to Brodie Reid from behind his own net and Reid skated in alone on the right side before snapping a wrist shot past the glove of Peter Mannino for the game-winner.
It was one of the few that eluded Mannino on the night as the veteran netminder made 40 saves and held Manchester in the game for much of the contest.
"It's frustrating because we really need points right now," Mannino said. "They came hard and they were shooting all game."
The start for Mannino was his second in as many nights, the first time that has happened this season. Mannino is 4-2 on the year and saw 17 shots in each of the first two periods Sunday, turning in several spectacular saves.
"He deserved to play," Morris said. "He made a lot of stellar saves today that, had we defended better in front of him, I think you'd have seen another win. He made some saves for us that were incredible."
Manchester took a 1-0 lead with the only score of the first period. Defenseman Thomas Hickey notched his first goal of the season, striking with a wrist shot from the high slot during a five-on-three power play at 5:24.
The Sharks tied the game at 1-1 at 15:47 of the second period. Brandon Kearns carried the puck in on the right side and sent a pass to trailer Kennedy, who walked through the slot unchallenged before slipping the puck to John McCarthy on the left side for a one-timer past Mannino.
The Monarchs reclaimed the lead at 19:10 of the second on a Dwight King goal. Andrei Loktionov hit defenseman Bryan Rodney coming into the zone fresh off the bench and Rodney threw the puck down low for King for a re-direction from the right post to make it 2-1.
Manchester faces a tough road trip next weekend, playing in Lewiston, Maine, against Portland on Friday and then heading to Upstate New York to play Adirondack before coming home Sunday to host Springfield.
ONE-TIMERS: Monarchs captain Marc-Andre Cliche missed the game with an upper body injury. Cliche was injured in Saturday's 9-2 win over Connecticut . defenseman Nick Deslauriers was a healthy scratch for the third time in as many games . the Monarchs and Sharks play another three times this month.