Monarchs fall to Sharks on late goal
MANCHESTER – A single moment's hesitation spoiled a comeback bid for the Manchester Monarchs as Worcester scored a goal with 1:06 remaining to claim a 3-2 win in front of a season-high 9,051 fans at Verizon Wireless Arena Monday night.
Manchester lost its third straight game and fell below .500 for the first time this season at 14-15-4. Worcester (17-11-3) won its third in a row for the first time this year.
Manchester trailed 2-0 before coming back to tie the game, which was delayed for several minutes after Shark Curt Gogol was hit by Andy Andreoff in the second period.
“That's why you play the full 60 minutes,” said Monarchs head coach Mark Morris. “We had a haphazard clear and a real casual recovery (on the game-winner). I'm extremely disappointed in our sense of urgency.”
The Sharks' winning tally came with just over a minute remaining in regulation. The puck was sent into the Manchester end and Monarchs goalie Peter Mannino could not corral it as it hopped over his stick.
Manchester defenseman Slava Voynov did not get to the loose puck, allowing Tim Kennedy to collect it and feed John McCarthy in the slot. McCarthy one-timed the puck into the open net as Mannino tried desperately to get back in time.
“We end up getting careless on a clear and we get a puck that bounces over the goalie's stick and we're casual with a close (on the puck) and it goes back to the net and we give them an empty-netter,” Morris said. “It's a little hard to swallow.”
The physical play picked up significantly in the second period and culminated in Andreoff laying out Gogol with a brutal hit with the elbow away from the puck at center ice. Gogol was taken off the ice on a stretcher (but did give the crowd a thumbs-up).
Andreoff received a match penalty and 5:00 major for the hit (ruled a check to the head). He will likely face a lengthy suspension from the AHL as well.
“It's not something we condone, that's for sure,” Morris said. “We hope their player is fine. It's not the way we want to be represented.”
The early outlook for Gogol was good.
“He was conscious and I'm optimistic,” said Sharks trainer Matt White. “In a situation like that, you can't afford to be wrong.”
Earlier in the period, Thomas Hickey got the Monarchs on the board at 11:25 by wristing a shot from the point past Harri Sateri to make it 2-1 on the power play. Brandon Kozun said the puck hit him in the arm and went in, but the official scoring will read Hickey's name.
A 2:00 penalty to Manchester's Andrew Campbell for delay of game during the major to Andreoff gave the Sharks a full 120 seconds of five-on-three power-play time. But the Monarchs killed the two-man advantage and major, gaining some momentum and starting to press for the tying goal.
Kozun knotted the game at 2-2 with 46 seconds remaining in the second after taking a Linden Vey breakout pass, turning on the jets to get past Mike Banwell and then tucking a backhand shot through Sateri's five-hole.
“Killing that big penalty, Pete (Mannino) stood tall and the guys were unbelievable. It was a good momentum turn,” said Monarchs captain Marc-Andre Cliche. “You wish you got the two points, but you've got be positive about (the effort).”
The Monarchs held an 11-4 advantage in shots after one period but trailed 2-0. Jon Matsumoto gave the Sharks a 1-0 lead at 6:56, picking up a loose puck and throwing it on net from the slot to beat Mannino through a screen.
That goal came less than 30 seconds after Sateri had robbed Kozon on two point-blank shots. Dwight King fed a wide-open Kozun on the doorstep and Sateri stopped a redirection with his chest and then snagged the rebound try with his glove.
Worcester went up 2-0 at 9:50 on a power-play goal. James Sheppard fed Freddie Hamilton from the left wing and Hamilton's wrist shot from the high slot beat Mannino high.
Manchester will be off until Friday when it visits St. John's for the first of a two-game set in Newfoundland.