Monarchs blank baby Bruins
MANCHESTER - Goaltender Martin Jones made 42 saves to earn his fourth shutout of the season and lead the Manchester Monarchs to a 3-0 win over Providence in front of 3,796 fans at Verizon Wireless Arena Wednesday night.
Manchester has won four in a row to improve to 21-17-4 for 46 points and second place in the Atlantic Division. The Bruins fell to 20-16-3 for 43 points.
Of Jones' 42 stops, two were highlight reel gems. The first came in the first period with the game scoreless when Jones robbed Graham Mink from the doorstep with a right pad flare. The second came with 9:40 remaining in the game and Providence on the power play. A cross-ice pass to Torey Krug was one-timed for the upper net and Jones went post-to-post with a lunging glove save to keep the score 2-0.
"He made two stellar saves. I haven't seen saves like that in a long time. The pad save early on in the game and the glove save with the wide-open net. That kid (Krug) is going to have nightmares," Monarchs head coach Mark Morris said. "That game was a lot closer than 3-0."
Jones now has two 3-0 shutouts over Providence this season and started the game strong, making 16 saves in the first period alone to set the tone and keep the game scoreless early against a Bruins team that crowds the net-front and creates traffic.
"I felt good out there," Jones said. "They always do a good job getting guys in front of the net and making life tough on the goaltenders. We knew what we were going to see and the D did a good job taking away the back door, in-tight plays."
The Monarchs took a 2-0 lead with a pair of goals in the second period, striking twice within 1:03. Linden Vey made it 1-0 at 6:46, cutting across the crease to pick up a rebound and tuck it into the open left side of the net.
Captain Marc-Andre Cliche made it 2-0 at 7:49, snapping a wrist shot past Michael Hutchinson high to the stick side on a shot from the slot. Brian O'Neill and Bryan Rodney assisted on the goal, which was Cliche's eight of the season.
"I thought that our bounce-back in the second period was a welcome sign for us. We weren't very good in the first," Morris said. "From the second period on I felt like we did a good job of staying on pucks and we were able to find a way to pot a few goals."
Anthony Stewart scored an empty net goal with 59 seconds remaining to account for the 3-0 final. It was Stewart's first game as a Monarch after being sent down from Los Angeles. Stewart made his presence felt late with the goal, but also early by fighting Bobby Robins just 11 seconds into the game.
"It's a good first game and I'm just trying to assert myself and get my legs underneath me," Stewart said. "I haven't played in a few months. I was in England and came back in December so it was good just to get some ice time."
The Monarchs will take their four-game win streak on the road to play at Connecticut Friday and at Portland Saturday before the AHL All-Star break.