WORCESTER, MA – Goaltender Mathias Niederberger started his first game and American Hockey League helped the Manchester Monarchs earn a point as they fell to the Worcester Sharks, 4-3, in a shootout at the DCU Center on Sunday evening.
“We had to claw our way back into the game in Worcester this afternoon,” said Monarchs Head Coach Mark Morris. “It was a hard earned point. Looking at the big picture, five-of-six points (on the weekend) doesn’t look too bad on paper. A couple sluggish defensive plays put us in a big hole early. At one point, we were down 3-0. I was pleased we gave ourselves a chance to win. We didn’t quit and that’s important; we stayed with it. The shootout proved to be the difference maker. Zach O’Brien was our only guy to slip it by (Harri) Sateri. (Mathias) Niederberger was pretty good this afternoon in his AHL debut. Sateri made several point-blank saves that we had glorious chances to score on. Our goal as of late has been to teach our guys to play more responsibly and take pride in our ability to shut teams down. When we get more proficient in our end and focus on playing with more urgency, we’ll be tough to beat.”
Right wing Zach O’Brien is the lone Monarchs player to beat netminder Harri Sateri in the shootout as forward Nick Shore, center Jordan Weal, center Linden Vey, and left wing Tanner Pearson were denied. Left wing Yanni Gourde and right wing Dan DaSilva beat Niederberger for the shootout victory.
The Sharks ended the scoreless tie with left wing Jimmy Bonneau’s second goal of the season at 7:32 of the second period. Center Marek Viedensky battled with several Monarchs players in the right corner. Viedensky won the puck battle and carried it out to the front of the net. The center fanned on his initial shot, but Bonneau was on his tail to wrist a shot between Niederberger and the right post. Right wing Chris Crane assisted on the first goal of the game.
At 12:26 of the middle frame, defenseman Matt Tennyson doubled the Sharks lead to 2-0. Center Tyler Gron carried the puck down along the board from the right point and handed it off to defenseman Adam Comrie. The blueliner sent the puck from the right point to Tennyson at the left point. Tennyson fired a one-timer that traveled through traffic and beat Niederberger for his fifth goal of the season.
Gourde made it 3-0 in favor of Worcester with a power play goal at 14:29 of the second stanza. DaSilva carried the puck down the right wing and cut toward the net. DaSilva passed the puck to Gourde who was streaking down the slot. Gourde chipped the pass over Niederberger’s stick for the three-goal lead. Center Travis Oleksuk assisted on Gourde’s third goal of the season.
The Monarchs ended Sateri’s shutout bid with Weal’s 10th goal of the season at 15:24 of the second period. Skating on the power play, left wing Nick Deslauriers passed the puck from the left point to Weal along the left wing half-wall. Weal cycled the puck down to Vey along the end red line in the left corner of the Sharks zone. Vey returned the puck to Weal, who had moved to the left doorstep, for the redirection that beat Sateri five-hole.
Defenseman Colin Miller brought the Monarchs to within one goal at 18:22 of the middle period. Weal carried the puck up the right wing and sent a pass to Miller at the right point. With right wing Brian O’Neill screening the netminder, Miller blasted a one-timer into the back of the net for his third tally of the season.
Right wing A.J. Gale tied the game at 8:54 of the third period with his seventh goal of the season. Defenseman Vincent LoVerde passed the puck from the point to Gale who was just inside the right point along the boards. With Shore in front of the net serving as a partial screen, Gale fired a shot past Sateri to tie the game at 3-3.
Niederberger (0-0-1) took his first shootout loss of the season, stopping 28-of-31 shots through regulation and overtime, and two shootout snipers. Sateri (12-15-1) earned his 12th win of the season, stopping 28 of the 31 shots he faced and four-of-five shootout shooters.
Manchester was 1-for-2 on the power play. Worcester went 1-for-3 with the man advantage.
Notables: Manchester collected five-of-six points in three games this weekend…The Monarchs have a record of 4-5 in shootouts this season…Manchester remains undefeated in regulation against Worcester with a 4-0-0-3 record this season…Goaltender Mathias Niederberger started his first American Hockey League game.