Monarchs win regular-season home finale
MANCHESTER - A three-goal first period helped the Manchester Monarchs wrap up their regular season at the Verizon Wireless Arena with a 4-2 victory over the Worcester Sharks.
A crowd of 9,132 was in attendance for the final home regular-season game for an AHL team that's moving to Ontario, Calif., next season. Next season, Manchester will host the Los Angeles Kings' East Coast Hockey League club that's currently located in Ontario.
The Monarchs' final regular-season game before the playoffs is this afternoon at Providence.
Scoring was back and forth between the two teams in the opening 20 minutes before Manchester center Jordan Weal broke a 2-2 tie late in the first period. Weal stole the puck away from Worcester defenseman Taylor Doherty and went top shelf on goaltender Troy Grosenick at 19:38 of the period to give the Monarchs a 3-2 lead heading into the second.
Scott Sabourin picked up the puck off a rebound from a drive from teammate Andrew Bodnarchuk and fired a backhanded shot past Grosenick 12:16 into the first to give Manchester a 2-1 lead.
Worcester responded just more than three minutes later when left wing Nikolay Goldobin scored his second goal of the game at 15:23 to tie it.
The Monarchs wasted no time getting on the scoreboard, scoring 32 seconds into the contest. Defenseman Nick Ebert received the puck from Sean Backman off a faceoff and the former took a shot that was redirected by Michael Mersch into the Sharks' net. The assist was Ebert's second of the game.
Goldobin scored his first goal of the night at 5:39 of the first to tie the game at 1-1. Rylan Schwartz and Evan Trupp assisted on Goldobin's first score.
Josh Gratton scored an empty-netter at 18:48 in the final period to cap Manchester's scoring. David Van der Gulik and Brian O'Neill assisted on Gratton's sixth goal of the season.
Trupp had two chances to tie the game at 3-3 in the second period but was unable to do so. The center had a shot bounce off the left post of the Monarchs goal at 4:59 of the second. Trupp tried to go top shelf on Jean-Francois Berube toward the end of period but the Manchester goaltender made the heads up glove save.
Notes: Saturday night was University of New Hampshire product Matt Willows' first trip to the Verizon Wireless Arena as a member of the Sharks. The former UNH captain was unable to find the back of net on either of his two shots on goal. Willows signed an amateur tryout agreement with the Sharks March 25 ...
The Monarchs outshot Worcester, 38-30. Berube made 28 saves for Manchester. Brosenick made 35 stops for the Sharks ... The Monarchs and Worcester were both scoreless on their lone respective power-play chances ...
The Monarchs signed OHL products Anthony Difruscia and Jordan Maletta to amateur tryout agreements Saturday. Difruscia, a 19-year-old forward, played his last three seasons with the Niagara IceDogs, tallying 103 points on 51 goals and 52 assists in 135 games. Also a 19-year-old forward, Maletta played a combined 246 games in the OHL between his time with the Windsor Spitfire and Niagara. He set career highs in goals (24), assists (28) and points (52) with the IceDogs this season. Both players were available for Saturday night's regular-season home finale against Worcester but neither suited up.