Monarchs win, keep playoff hopes alive
They broke on top early, had to hold on in the second period and came away with their third straight win, this one 3-2 over the Hershey Bears in front of 6,860 at the Verizon Wireless Arena on Saturday night.
The Monarchs moved into a ninth place tie with Hershey. Both teams are chasing one of the eight playoff spots in the Eastern Conference.
"They came at us pretty hard," said Manchester coach Mark Morris. "It was one of those games where we just had to hang on."
The Monarchs play Worcester Sunday afternoon at 3 in their last regular season home game.
"We have to keep going," said Manchester forward Andy Andreoff, who had a pair of goals. "We can't let up."
The Monarchs close out the schedule with road games next Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Morris said he's not big on scoreboard watching to see what Norfolk and others are doing.
"We can only control what we can control and try to win games and get points in the bank,'' he said. "Tonight was a little chaotic, but at this stage of the year we're doing everything we can to scratch for points."
Norfolk beat Worcester, 4-3 in overtime, on Saturday night and is tied for seventh place with Connecticut.
Norfolk and Connecticut each have 79 points and Manchester and Hershey each have 75.
The Monarchs grabbed the lead with a microburst of goals midway through the first period. They scored three in a span of one minute and 49 seconds and things were looking good.
Andreoff had two of them, sandwiching a Chris Huxley shot from just inside the blueline that beat Dany Sabourin for the defenseman's first AHL goal. Andreoff redirected a shot from the point by Derek Forbort, who was playing his second pro game, to open the scoring 8:05 into the game.
Huxley got his at 9:21 and Andreoff struck again, knocking in his own rebound, at 9:54.
The Bears got a couple quick ones of their own from Joey Crabb and Nate Schmidt early in the second to get back in the game.
Sabourin stopped breakaway bids by Andreoff and Stefan Legein to keep the Bears within reach.
Hunter Bishop put Manchester up by two goals at 11:34 of the period.
Julien Brouillette made it a one-goal game again at 4-3 with 4:48 left in the second period.
The Monarchs and goalie Martin Jones, who had 37 saves and stopped all 14 shots he saw in the third period, didn't let it get any closer.
For the second game in a row, the Monarchs had a player make his professional debut. Saturday night it was Scott Sabourin, a 6-foot-3 defenseman who played with the Oshawa Generals of the Ontario Hockey League the last three seasons.
The Los Angeles Kings have signed forward Nick Shore to a three-year entry level contract. Shore, 20, was selected by the Kings in the third round (82nd overall) of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft. The 6-foot-0, 190-pounder is a native of Denver, Colorado.
Shore has played the last three seasons for the University of Denver.