MANCHESTER, NH. - The Manchester Monarchs (15-7-1-1) scored four times in the middle period on Friday to drown the Norfolk Admirals (3-15-4-0) 5-3 on Friday night.
Both goaltenders were strong in the first period, as Connor Knapp and Sam Brittain turned aside everything sent their way. However, the second frame could not have been more of opposite, the Admirals and Monarchs combining for six total goals.
Justin Agosta got the scoring started with a rip from the slot area to give the Monarchs a 1-0 lead. Teammate Tony Turgeon entered the zone and dropped it off for the offensive-minded blue liner, who beat Knapp to the blocker side with a one-time blast.
Two minutes later Manchester would extend their lead to two with Josh Brittain in the penalty box for elbowing. The Monarchs were set up in their attacking zone and despite two diving efforts from Nick MacNeil and Brodie Dupont to clear the zone, the home team was able to work it down low, where Kevin Morris was able to find Zac Lynch. From nearly an identical location on the ice as their first tally, the high-scoring rookie from Robert Morris was able to one-time a blast past Knapp.
The Admirals did have an answer following the second goal however, as T.J. Foster continued his impressive start to his Norfolk tenure, striking for his first of two in the period. Only 20 seconds after the game was pushed to 2-0, Foster's line was able to press the puck down below the Monarchs crease. Aiming for a teammate in front, the new #19 got a fortunate bounce as it banked off of a Manchester defender and in to get the visitors on the board.
Manchester's lead of two would be reclaimed three minutes after that though, the fourth of the six total goals in the frame. Moments after his team came back from being shorthanded, Quentin Shore stole the puck from an Admiral in his own zone. Quickly shuffling the puck to defenseman Connor Hardowa, Hardowa then advanced the puck to Shore's linemate, Kevin Morris. Morris, with two teammates flanking, cut towards the center of the ice and rifled a lethal wrister over the shoulder of nap to put his team back on top 3-1.
Singlehandedly keeping his squad in the game though, Foster answered the bell once again to make it 3-2. Admiral defender Alex Pompeo came up with a solid stick check in his own end and poked the puck to teammate John Dunbar. Dunbar used his speed to get the rubber down into the Monarchs zone, where two of their players were unable to corral the puck. Foster swooped in to take advantage, dipped his shoulder and roofed a short-side backhander to cut the deficit to just 3-2. For Pompeo, the assist was his first career ECHL point.
Before the maddening second period came to a conclusion, Manchester would get the final mark. The Admirals had trouble clearing the puck out of their own end and it led to a point-blank shot for Teddy Doherty of the Monarchs. Doherty's shot was deflected by Kevin Morris, who was eventually given credit for the goal, however it did not come without controversy. The net behind Connor Knapp came off just as the puck crossed the goal line, causing another discussion for the officials. After just a few brief moments they decided it was clean and the game became 4-2 after two.
When the final frame of regulation got underway, the home team picked up right where they left off. Only 2:26 in, Daniel Doremus created a terrific display of patience, outlasting a sliding Alex Micallef before unleashing a wrist shot that went high on Connor Knapp, dislodging the water bottle and extending the Manchester lead to 5-2.
The final goal of the evening would belong to the Admirals though, as John Kurtz earned his fourth of the season with just 40 seconds left. With open space in the attacking zone, #15 found the puck from John Dunbar and blistered one home while falling down to cap the evening's scoring at 5-3.
Norfolk now busses to Glens Falls, New York as the team concludes it's four-game road trip against Adirondack tomorrow night. Puck drop is set for 7:00 and you can catch all the action on ECHL.TV and on 102.1 FM The Tide.
Following the game the team will return home for a three-game home stand against the South Carolina Stingrays. Tickets are on sale now on Ticketmaster.com as well as at the Norfolk Scope box office. For more information on the team, be sure to check out norfolkadmirals.com, as well as follow and like the team on all major social media platforms.
(Slider Photo Credit: TEAM SHRED)Box Score