Monarchs Ring in New Year with 3-2 OT Win

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Happy New Year win for the Manchester Monarchs.
Happy New Year win for the Manchester Monarchs.

MANCHESTER, NH – Gasper Kopitar scored the overtime game-winner to lead the Manchester Monarchs to a 3-2 victory over the Greenville Swamp Rabbits on New Year’s Eve at the Verizon Wireless Arena.

The Monarchs (20-11-0-1) lost a 2-0 lead, but wouldn’t let the Swamp Rabbits (15-12-5-0) storm all the way back.

“We didn’t get going very well, but I thought we got going in the second period,” Head Coach Rich Seeley said.  “Ultimately, I liked the effort, and we got a good result.”

Greenville looked to take the lead at 1:40 of the first period as the goal light went on, but the referee waved the goal off immediately.  After a consultation with the goal judge, the puck was determined to have slipped under the side of the goal after it had been pushed off its pegs.

The Monarchs broke the ice at 15:26 in the second period when Matt Mackenzie scored his 1st goal of the season. Mackenzie scored on a shot from the point after he intercepted a clearing attempt by Darian Dziurzynski, beating Greenville goaltender, Mackenzie Skapski, to make the game 1-0.

Maxim Kitsyn extended the lead for the Monarchs at 6:30 in the third period, scoring his 10th goal of the season. After a dump-in to the corner by Josh Brown, Kitsyn picked up the puck and skated along the top of the left circle to the slot, beating Skapski through the five-hole for the 2-0 advantage.

The Swamp Rabbits closed the gap to make it a 2-1 game at 16:55 with a power-play goal.  Greenville pulled their goaltender for a two-man advantage and Jordan Knackstedt sent a one-timer past Monarchs goaltender, Colin Stevens, high glove.

Greenville capitalized again on the four-minute penalty assessed to Alex Roach with their second power-play goal of the night at 18:32 in the third. Again with the goaltender pulled, Scott Fleming netted his 10th goal of the season on a pass from Rob Kwiet.

Gasper Kopitar ended the game at 1:33 in overtime, giving the Monarchs their 20th win of the season. Kitsyn fired a shot from the point and Kopitar tipped in the puck for his 4th goal of the season and first game-winning-goal of the campaign.

The Monarchs return to the ice Saturday (3 p.m.), as they take on the Greenville Swamp Rabbits in the middle game of their three-game series on Trophies Night at the Jungle.  Fans are invited to get their picture taken with the Stanley Cup and many of the trophies the Los Angeles Kings won during their 2013-14 Stanley Cup season. The Kelly Cup, Calder Cup, Red Sox World Championship Trophies and many more will be on display behind section 219 on the upper concourse.

Notes
  • Gasper Kopitar scored the 50th goal of his ECHL career, his first since Dec. 12 against Adirondack
  • Colin Stevens’ shutout streak ended at 128:55 minutes, the longest of his professional career
  • The Monarchs improved to 16-0-0-0 when scoring three or more goals
About Carol Robidoux 5452 Articles
Journalist and editor of ManchesterInkLink.com, a hyperlocal news and information site for Manchester, NH.