A Picture’s Worth a Monarchs W
MANCHESTER, NH – Center Justin Azevedo potted two goals for the Manchester Monarchs as they edged out the Bridgeport Sound Tigers by a 4-3 score at the Verizon Wireless Arena on Friday evening.
Manchester (36-18-2-5, 79 points) remains in first place in the Atlantic Division with 79 points. Bridgeport (21-30-3-4, 49 points) is ranked seventh in the Atlantic Division with 49 points.
“We found a way to get it done,” said Monarchs Head Coach Mark Morris. “There were a lot of glitches in our game, but we found a way.”
“I think we’re a better team than we showed. We wanted it to be easy but credit their guys for battling back,” said Morris. “We have a lot of things we can make better.”
At 1:37 of the third period, the Monarchs grabbed the eventual game-winning goal Azevedo’s second tally of the night. The play started deep in the Monarchs zone as Monarchs defenseman David Kolomatis whirled the puck around the zone to right wing Brandon Kozun who fired a long pass up the ice. The long distance feed sprung Azevedo, who skated in all alone against Sound Tigers goalie Mikko Koskinen. Azevedo made a finesse move, faking the backhand and dragging the puck around Koskinen for the Monarchs fourth and final goal of the evening.
Left wing Bud Holloway scored his 20th goal of the season at 13:39 of the first period. Azevedo broke up a play in the defensive zone and tipped the puck to left wing Dwight King who broke through the neutral zone. King passed the from the left wing boards to center ice as Holloway skated on to it. Upon receiving the puck, Holloway wound up for a slap shot. Once in the Sound Tigers zone, Holloway let go a laser beam that blew past Koskinen and into the top corner of the net for the Monarchs first goal of the game.
Bridgeport center Jeremy Colliton scored his ninth goal of the season at 14:45 of the first period. The puck squirted loose from the corner of the Monarchs zone. Left wing Rhett Rakhshani collected the puck and skated toward the net. Rakhshani spun around and flipped the puck on net where it was tipped in by Colliton at the goal crease for the first Bridgeport marker of the game.
Right wing John Zeiler scored his fourth goal of the season at 16:48 of the first period to give the Monarchs their one goal lead again. Defenseman Andrew Campbell hit left wing Richard Clune with a breakout pass as he flew up the boards and out of the zone. Skating into the zone, Clune picked up speed and skated behind the Bridgeport cage. As he came around the net and into the bottom of the right face-off circle, he fired a shot on goal where it was tipped home by Zeiler.
Rakhshani scored his 11th goal of the season only 47 seconds into the second period. Defenseman Dustin Kohn caught the puck in the neutral zone and quickly dished it up to left wing Justin DiBenedetto who brought the puck into the Monarchs zone. Skating on a 2-on-1 situation with Rakhshani, DiBenedetto passed the puck across the top of the key onto the tape of winger who fired the puck past Monarchs goaltender Martin Jones to tie the game at two goals apiece.
Azevedo scored his 14th goal of the season at 13:03, breaking the tie and putting the Monarchs up 3-2. With left wing Jean Bourbeau in the box for elbowing, center Corey Elkins won the face-off ,dropping it behind him as Kozun skated behind him to grab the puck. Kozun one-timed a pass back to the point where Azevedo collected it, took two strides to his right and let go a rocket. The puck made its way through the screen in front, giving Azevedo the first of his two goals of the evening.
Defenseman Jon Landry scored his second goal of the season at 3:11 of the third period. With Kohn and Bourbeau combining to clear the defensive zone, Landry skated into the zone and headed directly toward the crease and beat Jones five-hole to bring Bridgeport back to within one goal.
Jones (22-7-1) picked up his 22nd win of the season, stopping 25-of-28 shots on goal. Koskinen (7-16-1) took his 16th regulation loss of the season with 29 saves on 33 shots on goal.
Manchester was 1-for-2 on the power play. Bridgeport was 0-for-1 with the man advantage.
Notables: The Monarchs are undefeated on home ice when leading after the first and second period…Center Justin Azevedo recorded his first multi-goal game of the season…Azevedo has 101 points (41-60=101) over three seasons (2008-present)…Goaltender Martin Jones collected his 22nd win of the season which ties him for the fourth most wins in the AHL this season…Left wing Bud Holloway scored his 20th goal of the season to tie left wing Dwight King for the team’s lead in goals scored this season…Right wing Brandon Kozun has collected 11 points (6-5=11) in his last night games.
As part of a home and home series, the Monarchs will travel to face the Sound Tigers at the Webster Bank Arena at Harbor Hard at 7:00 p.m. Catch all the play-by-play action of Monarchs hockey with Ken Cail on the Monarchs Radio Network WGAM 900/1250 AM and at www.manchestermonarchs.com.