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Manchester Monarchs Brian O'Neill, right, tries to get by Albany Devils Joe Whitney during the third period of their game Sunday at the Verizon Wireless Arena in Manchester. (/Union Leader)

Monarchs win

Monarchs, Jones shut out Devils

There's a reason why the Manchester Monarchs own the best record in the American Hockey League. They normally don't lose two straight games.

Goaltender Martin Jones turned back 19 shots to lead the Monarchs past the Albany Devils, 3-0, before 4,867 Verizon Wireless Arena Sunday.

Manchester (31-14-2-5), which has lost two straight games only three times this season, leads the entire league with 69 points. Manchester was coming off a 3-2 home loss to Providence Saturday, but Jones played like a brick wall Sunday.

"(Jones) didn't have a lot of work, so it was a good thing we helped him out there in the tail end and kept getting pucks deep," said Monarchs coach Mark Morris. "And the shots he did face, he didn't look like he had to work all that hard, which is nice. He certainly pulled us out of the fire more times than not, and I thought our guys played a pretty thorough game in our (defensive) zone for him."

Right wing Sean Backman scored on the Monarchs' first shot for the eventual game winner just 1:08 into the contest.

Backman ripped a shot over the blocker side of Devils' goaltender Scott Wedgewood for his seventh season goal.

At 4:16 of the second period, left wing Andy Andreoff doubled the Monarchs lead to 2-0 with his eighth season tally.

Jordan Weal tallied the last goal in the middle period for his 11th goal of the season.

Jones (12-3-2) collected his second shutout of the year for Manchester. Wedgewood (7-10-2) had 26 saves.

Manchester was 0-for-6 on the power play.

On Sunday, the Los Angeles Kings announced they were assigning veteran forward Colin Fraser to the Monarchs. Since the NHL is idle for a couple of weeks for the Winter Olympics, Fraser figures to sharpen his game with the Monarchs.

Fraser has played in 33 games with the Kings this season. He has two points (both assists) and 30 penalty minutes.

In 358 career regular season NHL games with the Kings, Edmonton Oilers and Chicago Blackhawks, Fraser has career totals of 20 goals and 38 assists. The Monarchs host the Worcester Sharks at 7 p.m. Friday.

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