MANCHESTER, NH – Michael Mersch had three points, including the game-winning goal in overtime, lifting the Monarchs to a 3-2 win over the Comets in Game 1 of the Calder Cup Finals on Saturday at the Verizon Wireless Arena.
“They’re a good team, but I knew that going in,” Head Coach Mike Stothers said. “I thought it was great hockey. For Game 1 of the finals I thought it was terrific hockey. It was decided in overtime so you’ve got two evenly matched teams.”
Jordan Weal had two assists in the game, moving him past Bud Holloway (25 points) for first place on the Monarchs’ all-time list for playoff points.
Brian O’Neill put the Monarchs on the board at 16:00 in the first period with his 10th goal of the playoffs. It marked the 12th time Manchester scored first in the playoffs.
Utica tied the score just over a minute later when Sven Baertschi scored a power play goal at 17:01 in the opening frame.
Neither team scored in the second period, as J.F. Berube made three saves to Jacob Markstrom’s 12.
Mersch collected his first goal of the game at 2:23 in the third period on the power play. He was set up by a feed from Nick Shore, giving Manchester a 2-1 lead.
Utica evened things up once again when Cory Conacher found the equalizing goal from the right side at 5:24 in the third.
Mersch ended the game 4:10 into the overtime period when he scored from right in front of the Utica net.
These teams will meet again in Game 2 tomorrow night at 5 p.m. at the Verizon Wireless Arena.
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- Michael Mersch has 13 career playoff goals, the most goals ever by a Monarchs player in the postseason.
- Brian O’Neill (goal, assist) extended his point streak in the playoffs to five straight games. He has four goals and four assists in that span, including two multi-point games.
- Manchester’s line of Michael Mersch (13 goals, 8 assists), Jordan Weal (10 goals, 11 assists) and Brian O’Neill (10 goals, 9 assists) scored all three of its goals tonight. That line has combined for 33 Manchester’s 56 goals this postseason (59%).
- Manchester improved to 12-0 when scoring first in the playoffs and 8-0 at the Verizon Wireless Arena.
- The Monarchs have won Game 1 in every playoff series this year.