MANCHESTER, N.H., April 12 – There is only so much one man can do.
Whale goalie Cam Talbot stopped a season-high 42 saves but it wasn’t enough as the Manchester Monarchs beat the Connecticut Whale, 3-1 on Friday night at the Verizon Wireless Arena.
Connecticut (35-29-5-3) was outshot by a 45-20 margin. Just a week ago, Talbot made 38 stops in a win over Bridgeport – a season high at that time.
It was the first game of a season-ending five-game road trip. The Whale still remain in seventh place in the AHL’s Eastern Conference with the top eight teams making the playoffs. Connecticut leads eighth place Hershey by one point and ninth place Norfolk by three. The Whale hit the ice again tonight at Adirondack.
“We played really hard against a good team and their goaltender was fabulous,” Manchester coach Mark Morris said. “He (Cameron Talbot) made a lot of key stops. I thought our start was the key to our win. We had a real strong first period. We found ourselves down by a goal as they scored on a funky one on our penalty kill. We were able to tie it up with our energy level and the compete we showed against a really good hockey team.”
Talbot was sharp from the start, robbing Manchester’s Brandon Kozun with a glove save with 12:41 remaining in the first period.
Connecticut took a 1-0 lead on a power play goal from Chris Kreider with 2:50 left in the period. A Kris Newbury feed hit Benn Ferriero’s skates just outside the Manchester blue line, and the puck bounced forward. Kreider jumped on it, getting behind the Monarch defense with a burst of speed. He beat Manchester goaltender Martin Jones (19 saves) with a backhand shot for his 12th goal of the season.
Talbot made 13 saves in the second period but Manchester finally got through with a pair of goals in 1:52. The Monarchs first goal deflected in off the skates of Jordan Weal, who was tied up in front of the net by Connecticut’s Stu Bickel.
A defensive breakdown gave Manchester the chance to take the 2-1 lead. Linden Vey won a battle for the puck in the right wing corner by poking the puck free behind the Whale net. Right wing Brandon Kozun grabbed the loose puck and fed Pearson in front where he finished it off by scoring the eventual game-winning goal and his 15th tally of the season.
Manchester controlled play in the third period, allowing just five Connecticut shots and added an empty net goal with less than a minute remaining.
Jones (23-25-4) earned his 23rd win of the season stopping 19-of-20 shots. Talbot (25-25-1) took his 25th loss of the season. Manchester is an affiliate of the Los Angeles Kings.
Reports from the Connecticut Whale and Manchester Monarchs used to compile this report.
Manchester 3, Connecticut 1
Connecticut 1 0 0 – 1
Manchester 0 2 1 – 3
1st Period: 1, Connecticut, Kreider 12 (Ferriero, Newbury), 18:50 (PP). Penalties-Deslauriers Mch (slashing), 17:57.
2nd Period: 2, Manchester, Weal 15 (Vey, Kolomatis), 17:05 (PP). 3, Manchester, Pearson 15 (Kozun, Vey), 18:57. Penalties-Kreider Ct (roughing), 1:58; Bickel Ct (hooking), 5:43; Jean Ct (tripping), 15:51.
3rd Period: 4, Manchester, Kozun 25 (Kolomatis, Pearson), 19:23 (PP EN). Penalties: Palmieri Ct (roughing), 6:19; Kreider Ct (tripping), 9:14; Newbury Ct (slashing), 17:52.
Shots on Goal: Connecticut 9-6-5-20. Manchester 12-19-14-45.
Power Play Opportunities: Connecticut 1 / 1; Manchester 2 / 6.
Goalies-Connecticut, Talbot 25-25-1 (44 shots-42 saves). Manchester, Jones 23-25-4 (20 shots-19 saves).