MANCHESTER, NH – Sean Backman scored two goals and Michael Mersch added three assists to lead the Monarchs to a 5-3 win over Hartford on Sunday at the Verizon Wireless Arena.
“I thought it was a better game than we were anticipating,” Head Coach Mike Stothers said. “There is a lot on the line for all of us … you always want to bounce back after a loss at home. I thought our response was good.”
For Backman, it was his second multi-goal effort of the season with the other coming on Feb. 14 against Bridgeport.
The Monarchs (36-15-5-2) won back-to-back Sunday games, shutting out the Worcester Sharks March 1. They also won back-to-back games against Hartford (30-21-5-3) after beating them on March 1.
Hartford opened the scoring on their second shot of the game when Dylan McIlrath wristed a shot from the point past Jean-Francois Berube at 3:23 in the first period.
Andrew Bodnarchuk scored a power play goal off a pass from Mersch to tie the game at 11:37 in the first.
Backman gave the Monarchs a 2-1 lead with a shot from the low circle at 2:03 in the second period. Mersch and Bodnarchuk assisted on the goal.
Chris Mueller evened the score for Hartford at 10:11 in the second period when he skated in from the blue line and put the puck past Berube high glove side.
Backman again put the Monarchs ahead when he wrapped around the net and shot it past Jeff Malcolm under the high glove side crossbar at 14:21 in the second period.
Justin Auger extended the Monarchs’ lead to 4-2 with a rebound goal stick side from Colin Miller’s shot at 2:18 in the third period.
Mat Bodie answered back for Hartford with a one timer from the point on a power play at 3:28 in the third.
Zach O’Brien finished the game with a shorthanded, empty-net goal at 19:38 in the third period.
The Monarchs travel to St. John’s for three games starting on Wednesday. They return to the Verizon Wireless Arena on March 21 for a game against St. John’s.
- Michael Mersch set a career high with three points tonight (3 assists).
- The Monarchs have scored at least five goals in two of their last three games after a 6-3 win vs. WBS on Friday.
- Zach O’Brien’s goal was Manchester’s ninth shorthanded goal of the season. They entered today tied for the second-most shorthanded goals in the league.