Monarchs wrap up southern swing with another win

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Mark Leitner in Atlanta (courtesy photo)

ATLANTA – The Manchester Monarchs had three games south of the Mason-Dixon Line this week and all of them were wins, concluding this phase of their road trip with a 5-2 victory over the Atlanta Gladiators.

Manchester also notched a 5-2 victory against the Boston Bruins affiliate on Friday, but Sunday’s contest held some key differences, the first being Atlanta’s early score.

That goal came from Darby Llewellyn, a three-on-five shorthanded goal coming the Monarchs’ second power play of the afternoon.

Manchester would get a whopping eight more power plays before all was said and done, getting power play goals from Keegan Iverson, Jordan LaVallee-Smotherman and Matt Leitner before the first intermission.

Michael Doherty and Francois Beauchemin added insurance goals over the next two periods while Tanner Pond gave Atlanta what amounted to a consolation goal at 9:51 in the second period.

Colton Saucerman added two assists, putting him at 32 so far this season, second among defensemen behind the 34 posted by Colorado’s Matt Register and Allen’s David Makowski.

LaVallee-Smotherman’s goal was his 30th of the season, placing him six behind the league lead, currently held by Colorado’s Michael Joly. At this pace, LaVallee-Smotherman may have a shot at taking that lead, Joly has only two goals this month while LaVallee-Smotherman has found the net at least once in 11 of his last 13 games.

Manchester’s lead atop the ECHL North Division now stands at seven points, with Reading jumping into second after a 6-0 victory against Wheeling later on in the day.

Wheeling has 60 points, eight fewer than Manchester and tied for third in the division with the Monarchs’ next opponent, the Adirondack Thunder.

The Thunder come to SNHU Arena on Friday night for a 7 p.m. contest, the first game in a six game home stand for the Monarchs.