MANCHESTER, NH – Right wing Zach O’Brien led the way as eight different Manchester Monarchs recorded a point in their 3-2 victory over the Hartford Wolf Pack at the Verizon Wireless Arena on Sunday afternoon.
Manchester (39-16-2-6) leads the Atlantic Division with 86 points. Hartford (25-28-0-6) sits in fourth place in the Northeast Division with 56 points.
“I thought we played some good hockey this weekend, but it was nip and tuck all the way here today,” said Monarchs Head Coach Mark Morris. “They didn’t go away and it got real close at the end, but to come away with six points at this stage of the season on a Sunday when you’ve played two three o’clock games, I think the boys deserve some credit for that.”
Center Colin Fraser converted a power play into a 1-0 lead at 9:14 of the first period. After defenseman Brayden McNabb sent center Linden Vey down the right wing boards in the offensive zone. Vey found Fraser coasting into the right face-off circle and dropped the puck back to him. Fraser took the puck and slung it over the shoulder of Hartford goaltender David LeNeveu.
At 12:54 of the opening frame, defenseman Andrew Campbell scored to bring the lead to 2-0. O’Brien led the rush into the zone along the left wing boards. He pulled up at the top of the left face-off circle to pass the puck over to forward Nick Shore toward the bottom of the right face-off circle. Shore left the puck for an incoming Campbell who rifled it over the shoulder of LeNeveu.
The Monarchs leading point producer, center Jordan Weal, scored at 16:53 of the first period to bring the lead to 3-0. After an intentionally wide shot from the point by defenseman Andrew Bodnarchuk, the puck bounced off the boards behind the net to a waiting O’Brien. With immediate control, he sent the puck into the slot for Weal to fire past LeNeveu low on his glove-side.
Hartford would get on the board to make it 3-1 at 19:37 of the first stanza. On a rush into the Monarchs’ defensive zone, the puck was knocked loose from along the right wing boards near the blueline and into empty space in the middle of the slot. The Monarchs tried to clear the puck, but it bounced directly to center T.J. Hensick all alone in front of the net. Hensick drove it home under the pads of Monarchs goaltender J.F. Berube.
At 19:01 of the third period, with Hartford’s goaltender pulled, Hensick netted his second of the night to close the gap to 3-2. During a scramble in the Monarchs crease, the puck popped out to Hartford center J.T. Miller at the edge of the left face-off circle. With Berube fully expecting a shot, Miller whipped the puck over to Hensick at the right post who was able to slap the puck into an open net.
Berube (22-14-2) earned his 22nd win of the season, stopping 17-of-19 shots. LeNeveu (4-8-0) took his eighth loss of the season with 22 saves on 25 shots.
Manchester was 1-for-5 on the power play. Hartford went 0-for-6 with the man advantage.