MANCHESTER – Saturday night was Girl Scout Night at SNHU Arena, and the Manchester Monarchs earned themselves merit badge, defeating the Worcester Railers, 3-1.
The Monarchs struck first, thanks to Zack Lynch’s shorthanded goal near the end of the first period, thanks to a mistake from Worcester netminder Mitch Gilliam.
As Gilliam came out of his crease to handle the puck, Michael Doherty was able to capitalize, taking away the puck and pushing it to Gilliam’s left toward a speeding Lynch, who then placed the puck in the top corner of the net from an oblique angle.
Worcester equalized eight minutes into the second period with a quick slapshot from the circle by Kellen Jones that snuck by Manchester goalkeeper Branden Komm.
The Monarchs took back the lead with a power play goal 14 minutes into the third. Manchester went on the power play after Worcester captain Chris Langkow went to the box, looking to retaliate after he was hit in a prone position on the other side of the ice.
Manchester called a time out and almost immediately after play resumed, David Kolomatis’ slap shot from the blue line found teammate Matt Buckles, deflecting into the net.
Lynch would add an empty net goal with 76 seconds left in regulation to seal the win.
Monarchs head coach Richard Seeley had praise for the first goal, but only as a part of his overall praise for his squad’s penalty killing as a whole, which he saw as crucial to the win.
“(Doherty) found an extra gear at the end of a long shift and had the wherewithal to make a nice pass to Lynch who found the back of the net,” he said. “Really nice goal, but I think our PK overall led the way for us tonight.”
This was the 11th meeting between these two teams this year and the sixth time Worcester’s Yannick Turcotte was involved with a fight during a Monarchs’ game. Turcotte has five fights against all other opponents combined in 21 non-Monarchs game appearances.
Of his 113 penalty minutes so far this season, 53 have come in nine appearances against the Monarchs, and 34 came in one game against the Colorado Eagles alone.
Turcotte’s first period fracas with Martin Nemcik was followed by an unexpected confrontation in the second period between Worcester’s Mike Cornell and Manchester’s Matt Marcinew.
A third confrontation occurred in the third period when Worcester’s Ben Masella responded to a hard hit behind the net by Manchester’s Jordan Lavallee-Smotherman by holding LaVallee-Smotherman’s stick in front of the crease, refusing to let go until the pair dropped gloves.
Although the two teams have become intimately familiar with each other over the past few months, Lynch didn’t believe that the defacto rivalry played a role in the game’s aggression, but the response when aggression came helped build momentum.
“It’s kind of game-to-game, depending on what’s happening,” said Lynch. “There were a couple of dirty hits that the guys didn’t like, and a couple of guys that don’t typically fight responded. It meant a lot to the bench dropping the gloves and standing up for teammates.”
Manchester (22-12-3-1) welcomes Reading (20-16-2-0) on Sunday afternoon, completing their current home stand next weekend with a three-day stretch against Wheeling and two back-to-back games against Jacksonville.