"B" To The Power of Four
BRIDGEPORT, CT – Left wing Bud Holloway and right wing Brandon Kozun each scored two power play goals apiece as the Manchester Monarchs collected a 5-0 victory over the Bridgeport Sound Tigers at the Webster Bank Arena at Harbor Yard Saturday evening.
Manchester (37-18-2-5) collected their 37th victory of the season and lead the Atlantic Division with 81 points. Bridgeport (21-31-3-4) dropped their 31st decision of the season and remain in seventh place in the Atlantic Division with 49 points.
“Tonight, we took advantage of our power play opportunities,” remarked Monarchs Head Coach Mark Morris following the game. “The team kept their cool throughout the game and it paid off. Our focus was to simplify things.”
“Our positioning was good and we remained patient. When teams play with good structure, the puck ends up on your stick more often than not. The composure we showed kept things in check. Bridgeport was chippy and we weren’t going to fall into that trap. It was a good road win for us. We were resilient and very disciplined,” concluded Morris.
Holloway scored his 21st goal of the season at 10:41 of the first period. With two penalties assigned to Bridgeport within a 13 second time span, the Monarchs had a 5-on-3 advantage within the offensive zone. Set up in the umbrella formation, Kozun initiated play within the left face-off circle. Kozun passed the puck back to the right point where it was collected by defenseman Jake Muzzin. With players crashing the right post, a powerful blast on goal by Muzzin was knocked down by Sound Tigers goaltender Mikko Koskinen, but Holloway forced home the rebound to put Manchester on the board first.
Kozun scored his 18th goal of the season one minute into the second period, giving the Monarchs a 2-0 advantage. On the power play following defenseman Dustin Kohn’s high-sticking penalty, Kozun skated around the Bridgeport net with the puck, skating toward the right point. Kozun sent a quick pass to Muzzin at the right point. Skating toward the slot, Kozun received the pass back from Muzzin and wristed a shot on goal between the hash marks, beating Koskinen top-shelf, dislodging the water bottle on top of the cage and doubling up their lead on the Sound Tigers.
Holloway recorded his second goal of the evening at 7:53 of the second period. Following a penalty to left wing Brett Gallant for roughing, center Justin Azevedo won the face-off and carried the puck to the left wing half boards. Holding the puck, Holloway crept to the left point and received a pass from Holloway. Mimicking his goal from the previous evening, Holloway wound up and fired a powerful blast on goal that beat Koskinen for the Monarchs third power play goal of the evening.
Azevedo scored his 16th goal of the season at 11:47 of the third period, extending the Monarchs lead to 4-0. Left wing Dwight King initiated the play by dumping the puck behind the Bridgeport cage where a sprinting Azevedo crossed the blueline and gathered the puck behind Koskinen. A quick pass out from behind the net caught the stick of Holloway, positioned along the right wing boards. Holloway fired the puck intentionally wide to Azevedo behind the net, who gathered the rubber biscuit and wrapped it around the left goal post, beating Koskinen for the Monarchs fourth goal of the game.
Kozun added his second goal of the game and 19th marker of the season at 17:33 of the third period. From the left face-off circle, Azevedo sent a feed to the top of the slot where it was collected by King. Continuing the left-to-right progression in the offensive zone, King quickly fed the puck to his right, where Kozun wristed a shot on goal from the bottom of the right face-off circle for the Monarchs fifth and final goal of the contest.
Monarchs goaltender Jeff Zatkoff (14-12-4) earned his 14th win of the season, halting all 26 shots on goal. Koskinen (7-17-1) took his 17th loss of the season, stopping 26-of-31 shots on net.
Manchester went 4-for-10 on the power play. Bridgeport was 0-for-3 with the man advantage.
Notables: Goaltender Jeff Zatkoff collected his first shutout of the season, saving all 26 shots on net in tonight’s contest…The shutout is Zatkoff’s first since December 27, 2009, when he blanked the Providence Bruins by a 2-0 score…Manchester scored four power play goals in tonight’s game, a season-high for goals in one game with the man advantage…The Monarchs also tied the season-high water mark for the largest margin of victory (five goals)…Collecting two assists this evening, left wing Dwight King has recorded at least one point in each of his last eight games, accumulating 11 points (6-5=11) since February 12 against Bridgeport…Scoring two goals and adding an assist in tonight’s game, left wing Bud Holloway has tallied 10 points in his last six games (5-5=10)…Right wing Brandon Kozun is in the midst of a four game point streak, recording eight points in four games (4-4=8)…Defenseman Jake Muzzin recorded his third multi-point game of the season, recording two assists in tonight’s game…With 72 penalty minutes in tonight’s contest, the Sound Tigers recorded the most penalty minutes by a Monarchs opponent this season…Both teams also combined to tie the season-high record of 92 penalty minutes in one game.
The Monarchs will travel to Worcester, Massachusetts on Sunday, February 27 to face-off against the Worcester Sharks at the DCU Center in a 3:00 p.m. contest. Catch all of 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.