Monarchs Edge Wolf Pack in Game One, 3-2May 21, 2015
Michael Mersch scored two goals, including the second-period game-winner, Thursday night at Verizon Wireless Arena in Manchester, NH, to lead the Manchester Monarchs to a 3-2 win over the Wolf Pack, in the opener of the teams’ best-of-seven, Eastern Conference Final series.
Oscar Lindberg and Mat Bodie had the Wolf Pack goals, and Chris Bourque assisted on both. Yann Danis made 22 saves in the Hartford net. Nic Dowd scored the other Monarch goal and J-F Berube made 24 saves.
The Monarchs dominated the opening shift, and would score just 35 seconds into the series. Mersch got his seventh of the postseason, jamming a rebound past Danis, after he stopped a shot from the left point by Andrew Bodnarchuk.
The Wolf Pack responded with a Lindberg goal at 11:33 of the first. After Joey Crabb worked the puck deep into the Manchester zone, Bourque fired a shot from the left-wing circle that was denied by Berube, but Lindberg pounced on the rebound in front of the goal and slipped a backhand shot into the net.
Dowd gave Manchester back the lead at 11:07 of the second period, leading a three-on-one break into the Wolf Pack zone and firing a shot from the slot high into the net past the glove side of Danis.
Mersch then scored his second of the game at 16:02, upping the advantage to 3-1. The Wolf Pack were unable to get the puck away from the front of their net, and with Danis having lost his stick, Mersch dove down to the ice and backhanded the puck into the Hartford net.
That goal would turn out to be the difference, as Bodie cut the margin back to one at 6:43 of the third period. Just after the Wolf Pack finished killing a penalty, Bodie took a feed from Bourque and wired a slap shot past Berube on the stick side.
Game Two of the series is Saturday night at Verizon Wireless Arena, with faceoff at 7:00 PM. All of the action of that battle can be heard live on-line at www.979espn.com and on iHeartRadio. Video streaming is available at www.ahllive.com.
The Wolf Pack’s first two home games of the series will be Games Three and Four, which will be this Tuesday, May 26 and Wednesday, May 27, with 7:00 PM faceoffs both nights.
Wolf Pack playoff tickets are available at the Agera Energy Ticket Office at the XL Center, on-line at www.hartfordwolfpack.com and by phone at (877) 522-8499.
Hartford Wolf Pack 2 at Manchester Monarchs 3
Thursday, May 21, 2015 - Verizon Wireless Arena
Hartford 1 0 1 - 2
Manchester 1 2 0 - 3
1st Period-1, Manchester, Mersch 7 (O'Neill, Bodnarchuk), 0:35. 2, Hartford, Lindberg 2 (C. Bourque, Crabb), 11:33. Penalties-Dowd Mch (interference), 9:14; LoVerde Mch (tripping), 14:39.
2nd Period-3, Manchester, Dowd 2 (Van der Gulik, LoVerde), 11:07. 4, Manchester, Mersch 8 (Gravel, Weal), 16:02. Penalties-McIlrath Hfd (hooking), 0:29; LoVerde Mch (interference), 12:45.
3rd Period-5, Hartford, Bodie 3 (C. Bourque, Hrivik), 6:43. Penalties-Skjei Hfd (elbowing), 4:40; McIlrath Hfd (misconduct - continuing altercation), 17:14.
Shots on Goal-Hartford 11-8-7-26. Manchester 10-9-6-25.
Power Play Opportunities-Hartford 0 / 3; Manchester 0 / 2.
Goalies-Hartford, Danis 7-4-0 (25 shots-22 saves). Manchester, Berube 8-3-0 (26 shots-24 saves).
Referees-Mark Lemelin (41), Kendrick Nicholson (44).
Linesmen-Shandor Alphonso (52), Alex Stagnone (7).