MANCHESTER, N.H. – The Monarchs won their fourth game in a row and extended their unbeaten streak against the Reading Royals, as they grinded out a 2-1 victory Friday night at SNHU Arena to claim sole possession of first place in the North Division.
The Monarchs (9-4-0-1) will look to sweep their three-game series with the Royals (6-8-0-1) Saturday night at SNHU Arena.
“I thought we came out very well and played our style of hockey,” Monarchs head coach, Rich Seeley, said. “It was a hard fought game and as close to playoff hockey as you’re going to get in November. Both teams battled hard, but we were able to do the little things to come out on top.”
Despite outshooting the Royals 16-7 in the first period in addition to two power-play opportunities, the Monarchs were unable to beat Royals netminder, Mark Dekanich, and went to the locker room in a scoreless tie.
Reading would strike first 6:58 into the second period on a goal from Chris McCarthy. McCarthy received a stretch pass and skated one-on-one with a Monarchs defender into the offensive-zone before dropping a pass to Olivier Labelle. Labelle took a shot from the high-slot that rang off the cross-bar, but the puck deflected off the back of Monarchs goaltender, Sam Brittain, and McCarthy was in position to tap the loose puck into an empty net to give the Royals a 1-0 lead.
Manchester would answer just minutes later when Justin Agosta scored his 4th goal of the season at 9:44 of the middle frame. As Quentin Shore took the puck to the slot, he was able to find Agosta driving to the far side of the net and Agosta guided the puck into the empty cage to tie the game, 1-1.
Daniel Ciampini gave the Monarchs the lead at 16:48 of the second period when he netted his 6th goal of the season. After Derek Arnold blocked two shots in the defensive zone, Manchester transitioned to offense. David Kolomatis sent a shot on goal that was deflected in front of Dekanich, and Ciampini batted the puck into the goal while falling to his stomach to give Manchester a 2-1 lead.
Reading peppered Brittain with 11 shots in the third period, but the Monarchs goalie stood tall to preserve the 2-1 victory.
The Monarchs are back in action Saturday, Nov. 19 (6 p.m.) when they host the Reading Royals for the final game of a three-game series with their North Division rivals at SNHU Arena on Mullets in Movember. The first 4,000 fans in the building will receive mullet wigs as the Monarchs will raise funds and awareness for men’s cancers, with proceeds from the game to be donated to the American Cancer Society.
Daniel Ciampini scored his 20th career ECHL goal
Sam Brittain has won his last three starts
Zac Lynch and Rick Pinkston made their Monarchs debuts
Photo Credit: Rich Tilton
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