WILKES-BARRE, Pa. – The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins were unable to close their regular season schedule on a winning note, falling to the Manchester Monarchs, 3-1, at Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza.
Two periods came and went without a goal, but it took only 31 seconds of the third period for the Monarchs to leap ahead, 1-0. Coming across the left wing into the Penguins’ zone, Tyler Toffoli sent a pass to the near circle and kicked off a stick and right to defenseman David Kolomatis for a wrist shot into the top left corner of the net.
Manchester gathered a big insurance goal midway through the final frame on the fifth power play on the contest. Tanner Pearson slipped by a check on the far boards and centered a pass into the slot that Andy Andreoff slid past the pad of Wilkes-Barre/Scranton goalie Brad Thiessen.
The Penguins would mount a last-minute comeback effort as they skated on the man-advantage and the goalie pulled in favor of the extra attacker and pulling within one with 1:19 remaining in regulation. After Manchester goaltender Martin Jones stopped Dylan Reese’s point shot, several Wilkes-Barre/Scranton players hacked at the loose puck before it popped free for Paul Thompson to net his 20th goal of the season.
The rally attempt by the Penguins would fall short as Pearson tallied an empty-net goal with 14.4 second left in the game. Jones finished with 36 saves for the Monarchs. Thiessen stopped 18-of-20 for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.
With the loss, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s first-round opponent and schedule is still to be determined. Manchester’s win, coupled with regulation losses by Norfolk and Hershey clinched a berth for the Monarchs in the Calder Cup playoffs.
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