Mannino comes up with 45 saves as Monarchs defeat Providence
Manchester Monarchs goalie Peter Mannino makes a save in front of Providence's Jamie Tardif during the first period of their AHL game at the Verizon Wireless Arena in Manchester Saturday. (Mark Bolton/Union Leader)
Manchester won for the second night in a row and improved to 19-17-4 for 42 points to jump over Providence (19-15-3, 41) in the Atlantic Division standings and into a tie for second place with Worcester (19-17-4, 42).
The Monarchs go for a clean sweep of the weekend when they host first-place Portland (24-14-2, 50) today at 3 p.m.
"It was a great bounce-back game for Peter Mannino," Monarchs head coach Mark Morris said. "I was happy for him, especially in front of a crowd like that. I know he wanted to play well."
Mannino felt he had something to prove after being pulled after allowing three goals in the first period of a 7-5 loss to Springfield Tuesday.
"The last game, I did get pulled so there was a little bit of momentum that comes from that and Providence has had a couple wins against me the last few times I've played them," Mannino said. "It was one of those that you wanted to get under your belt. We really need these wins right now as a team and that's the most important thing."
The Bruins spoiled Mannino's shutout bid with just 1:07 remaining in the game. Off a faceoff win, Carter Camper sent the puck across to the right side for a one-timer by Jamie Tardif to make it a 2-1 game.
But Monarchs forward Stefan Legein scored an empty net goal at 19:21 to put the game away and reward Mannino for his strong effort, which also saw Manchester kill eight Bruins power plays.
"I thought our penalty kill was pretty effective for the most part. The compete level had to be high," Morris said. "I thought that our killers did a great job and (Providence) certainly had every opportunity to capitalize, but somehow we were able to deny them and withstand their push."
The Monarchs took a 1-0 lead at 3:55 of the second period. Defenseman David Kolomatis stole the puck at the Providence blue line and skated in on the right side, letting a wrist shot go from the low circle that goalie Michael Hutchinson got a piece of, but the puck trickled inside the far post for Kolomatis' fourth of the season.
Manchester went up 2-0 at 6:04 on another steal, this time from Brandon Kozun, who skated into the Bruins end with David Meckler on a two-on-one. Kozun fired a wrist shot from the right to beat Hutchinson.
Mannino kept the Monarchs on top with some stellar saves in the second, stopping 18 shots in that period alone. Perhaps the best came with 40 seconds remaining and the Bruins on the power play. Ryan Spooner had a wide open net from the doorstep and tried to slide it low, but Mannino got his left arm on it.
"It did (give the guys a boost)," Morris said of Mannino's strong second period. "Any time you can weather the storm it kind of gives you new life."
The first period was scoreless, with the Bruins having a goal disallowed and Manchester missing a breakaway chance. Providence appeared to take a 1-0 lead at 10:57 on the power play, but the net was ruled to have come off its moorings.