KALAMAZOO, Mich. – Matt White’s second career hat-trick and Gasper Kopitar’s three points were too much for the Kalamazoo Wings, as the Manchester Monarchs overpowered the Wings Tuesday night, 7-3, at the Wings Event Center in Kalamazoo, Mich.
With the win, the Monarchs (4-4-0-0) take the first of two games with the Wings (4-6-1-0) this season.
Kalamazoo got the scoring started just :18 seconds into the game, when Alexandre Mallet scored his 4th goal of the season. Mallet found a loose puck on the right wing boards, drove to the face-off circle and tried to center a pass, but the puck hit a Monarchs defender and slid past Michael Houser for the early Wings lead.
The lead didn’t hold for long, as Troy Power answered for the Monarchs, notching his 2nd goal of the season. Derek Arnold made an instant contribution after being recalled from loan, ripping a shot on Wings goalie, Clay Witt, who left a juicy rebound for Power to slam home at2:24 of the first period.
The Wings answered back quickly on Mallet’s second goal of the night at 4:53 of the frame. After some extended zone-time, a shot from the right point by Brett Ponich was tipped home by Mallet past Houser.
The Monarchs came storming back on the power play, when White found the net for his 4th goal of the season. Maxim Kitsyn got the play started with a nifty pass to Alex Roach who walked the blue line and let a wrist shot go from the slot. Witt couldn’t corral the puck with his glove and sent the rebound off to his left, where White was ready to send home the equalizer at 11:59.
White ended the first period goal-barrage, scoring his second of the game at 14:32 of the period. After an Alex Lintuniemi shot from the left point banked off to Witt’s right, White was again in great position to grab the rebound, and fired a shot past a down-and-out Witt.
Derek Arnold extended the lead for the Monarchs on his 2nd goal of the season off of a beautiful feed from Joe Diamond. While in his own end, Stefan Legein lofted the puck out of the zone that Diamond skated on to and controlled at center ice. Diamond then slid past a Wings defender along the boards at the attacking blue line and fired a pass to a wide-open Arnold, who one-timed a slap shot past Witt at 1:33 of the second period.
White finished off his hat-trick :34 seconds after Arnold’s goal. White took a pass from Gasper Kopitar in the right face-off circle under heavy pressure from the Wings, escaped, took a step toward the slot, and swept the puck on his forehand around Witt to put the Monarchs up 5-2. Witt was pulled after White’s 3rd goal of the night.
The third goal of the second period came off the stick of Matt Leitner at 10:55. Leitner won the faceoff to himself, drove the net, and beat new Wings goalie, Joel Martin, under his right pad to put the Monarchs up by four.
Kalamazoo fought back and scored their third goal of the game at 4:15 of the third period, on a goal by Tanner Sorenson. After a giveaway by Monarchs defenseman, David Kolomatis, Sorenson finished a 2-on-1 breakaway, beating Houser five-hole.
Kopitar ended the scoring for the Monarchs at 6:48, for his 2nd goal of the season. Kopitar grabbed a loose puck in the slot and swept the puck around a returned Witt, banking the biscuit off of a Wings defenseman, giving the Monarchs back their four-goal advantage.
The Monarchs return to The Jungle Friday, Nov. 13 (7 p.m.), when they host the Toledo Walleye for a three-game series at the Verizon Wireless Arena. “Mullets in Movember” is back Saturday, Nov. 14 (7 p.m.), with proceeds benefitting the Norris Cotton Cancer Center. The teams finish off the series Sunday, Nov. 15 (3 p.m.) in an afternoon matinee.
Matt White scored the first hat-trick in Monarchs ECHL history, and added his 70th professional assist
Stefan Legein (1a) pushed his assist streak to three games
Joe Diamond (1a) notched his 25th professional assist
11 Monarchs recorded points, with Josh Brown, Kopitar, Arnold, White, and Alex Lintuniemi scoring at least two points
The seven goals tonight mark the most goals scored by the Monarchs this season
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