Monarchs power up to get past Worcester
MANCHESTER — The usual suspects delivered for the Manchester Monarchs in their 2-0 triumph over the Worcester Sharks with an announced crowd of 4,898 in attendance at Verizon Wireless Arena Sunday.
Jordan Weal and Brian O’Neill were involved in both of Manchester’s scores, each recording a goal and an assist.
“They’ve been huge for us,” Monarchs head coach Mike Stothers said of O’Neill and Weal. “Just look at it, the results are there ... you rely on certain individuals and guys like that are capable of delivering.”
Goalie Patrik Bartosak earned the shutout, his first of the season.
O’Neill scored the Monarchs’ first goal on a 5-on-3 advantage 3:03 into the opening period. The right wing fired the puck through the legs of Worcester goaltender Aaron Dell from just outside the crease. The Sharks’ Ryan Carpenter served a roughing call penalty called on Dell at 2:18. Teammate Matt Tennyson was called for a delay of game at 1:48. Mike Richards and Weal assisted on O’Neill’s 18th goal of the season.
“Anytime you get a 5-on-3, you’re expected to score, especially with some of the guys we have on our unit,” said O’Neill, the AHL’s leading scorer. “We’ve been doing a good job when we’re 5-on-3 of capitalizing on those chances and we did.”
Weal put the game out of reach at 6:45 in the third period. The center fired a shot from the right faceoff circle that deflected off Dell’s shoulder and into the Worcester net to cap the Monarchs’ scoring. O’Neill and Colin Miller assisted on Weal’s second point of the night and 50th of the season.
Manchester scored on just one of its seven power-play opportunities but held the Sharks scoreless on their five power-play chances. The Monarchs (34-14-5-2) allowed two power-play goals in their 4-3 loss at the Portland Pirates Saturday night.
“Last night, (the Pirates) went two for two ... tonight (Worcester) didn’t have any,” said Stothers. “It’s a strange stat, it’s a strange thing, special teams.”
Bartosak made 29 saves for the shutout. Dell made 30 stops for the Sharks (30-19-4-2). The loss was Worcester’s second straight, but just its second in its last six contests.
“Worcester has been playing extremely well and you know what, we lost a close one (Saturday) night so we wanted to rebound,” said Stothers. “Four out of six points this weekend. Not exactly what we want, but a step in the right direction, anyway.”