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|26 февраля 2011
Manchester holds off Bridgeport; Loktionov hurt // The Union Leader
MANCHESTER -- Fortunately for the Manchester Monarchs, it was a hockey game and not a beauty contest.
The Monarchs were 4-3 winners over Bridgeport in front of 5,121 fans at Verizon Wireless Arena Friday night. The teams will meet again tonight in Bridgeport for the back end of the home-and-home series.
Manchester remained in first place in the Atlantic Division with a record of 36-18-7 for 79 points. Second place Portland was a 3-2 winner at Worcester and is now 34-16-7 for 75 points.
"We found a way to get it done, but it wasn't the way we had it drawn up," said Monarchs head coach Mark Morris. "There were a lot of glitches in our game. But at the same time, we gutted it out at the tail end. I think we're a better team than we showed tonight."
The Monarchs got some bad news coming out of the game. Forward Andrei Loktionov, who was likely to be called back up to Los Angeles soon, left the ice in the second period with what appeared to be a shoulder or wrist injury and Morris said it looked to be a season-ending issue.
"It doesn't look good," Morris said. "I suspect he'll be done for the year."
The Monarchs entered the third period leading 3-2 and pushed the advantage to 4-2 at 1:37 on Justin Azevedo's second goal of the game. Brandon Kozun hit Azevedo with a long breakout pass and Azevedo completed the breakaway by tucking the puck past goalie Mikko Koskinen.
"I saw Kozy get it. They didn't have a (defenseman) back so I just took off and he saw me," Azevedo said. "It was a nice pass."
But Bridgeport didn't go away, climbing back within a goal on a Jon Landry tally at 3:11. Landry carried the puck into the Monarchs zone and drove deep, beating Martin Jones short-side with a wrist shot from close range.
From there, the Monarchs were able to clamp down and secure the win.
"We're happy with the two points, obviously, but it wasn't our best effort," said Monarchs forward Dwight King. "There's always another day tomorrow against the same team, so we can come back, re-focus, play harder and come back with bigger smiles."
Bud Holloway put Manchester ahead 1-0 at 13:39 of the first period, netting his 20th of the year. Holloway carried the puck into the Bridgeport zone and drilled a slap shot over the stick of Koskinen.
The Sound Tigers tied the game at 1-1 at 14:45. The puck came out of the corner and off the side of the net right into the slot. Rhett Rakhshani collected it, spun around and fed a backhand pass to Jeremy Colliton on the left side for a one-timer past Jones.
The Monarchs pulled back on top at 16:48 when Richard Clune carried the puck behind the cage and centered the puck to John Zeiler on the doorstep for a one-timer into the net.
Bridgeport tied the game again just 47 seconds into the second period. Skating a two-on-one, Rakhshani beat Jones through the five hole from the right wing side.
The Monarchs needed just five seconds of a power play to take back the lead at 12:58. Off the faceoff in the Sound Tigers end, Azevedo took the puck and drifted into the high slot before blasting a slap shot past Koskinen to make it 3-2.