Connecticut on a Missiaen, tops Monarchs
HARTFORD, Conn. - Goaltender Jason Missiaen recorded a shutout in the Connecticut Whale's 3-0 victory over the Manchester Monarchs at the XL Center on Saturday night.
It was the first regulation loss for Manchester in 10 games.
With the win, Connecticut climbed above Manchester in the AHL Eastern Conference playoff picture. The Whale (29-25-5-3) have 66 points and are tied with Hershey for seventh place. The Monarchs (29-25-3-4) have 65 points and are tied with Albany for ninth place. Eight teams will qualify for the playoffs.
"We weren't ready to play tonight," said Monarchs head coach Mark Morris. "That falls on my shoulder. Obviously, you need to get these guys to be more focused and ready to battle. It's important we understand that there needs to be greater sense of urgency and desperation this late in the season. Taking shifts off and lack of focus was evident from players logging big minutes. If you work hard, more times than not you get rewarded. It's no secret. Connecticut was more determined to fight for loose pucks early on. When we finally decided to play, we had great energy and scoring chances. That's what we want in terms of compete level."
The Whale opened up the scoring with a shorthanded goal by Chris Kreider at 5:22 of the first period. Kris Newbury fed Kreider in the neutral zone on the left wing with speed. Kreider skated in behind the defense and flipped a backhand past the outstretched left leg pad of Monarchs goaltender Martin Jones. Missiaen also tallied an assist on Kreider's 10th goal of the season.
Left wing Brandon Mashinter gave the Whale a 2-0 lead with a power play goal at 15:08 of the second period. Defenseman Logan Pyett fed left wing Andrew Yogan on the left, where he gained the Monarchs zone. Yogan played the puck up to Mashinter in the top of the left wing face-off circle. Mashinter skated in and flipped a backhand high over the shoulder of Jones' glove side for his 10th goal of the season.
The third Whale goal came from Andrew Carroll at 17:41 of the second period. Kyle Jean grabbed a loose puck in the left wing corner in the Monarchs' zone. Jean passed out to defenseman Mike Vernace at the left wing half wall. Vernace found Carroll in between the face-off circles, where he took a wrist shot. Vernace's shot was blocked but he regained control before backhanding a shot that found the back of the net for his first goal of the season.
Jones (19-20-4) took his 20th loss of the season, making 21 saves on 24 shots. Missiaen (8-4-2) earned his eighth victory of the season, stopping all 27 shots he faced.
Manchester went 0-for-7 on the power play. Connecticut went 1-for-6 with the man advantage.
Notables: The Monarchs have been shut out four times this season . Center Linden Vey had his three-game assist and point streak (0-6-6) snapped in the loss.
The Monarchs stay on the road as they travel to play the Providence Bruins at the Dunkin' Donuts Center on Sunday at 3:05 p.m.