By David F. Pendrys (Eyewitness account checked against official AHL Box Score)
BRIDGEPORT, CT- The playoff bound Manchester Monarchs wrapped up their two game visit to Bridgeport with a 4 to zero win over the Sound Tigers in a game that was actually closer than the score indicated. At 1:23 in the first Colin Miller struck first for Manchester with a slap shot from the point that beat Bridgeport’s Kevin Poulin. Alex, Lintuniemi & Nic Dowd were credited with the assists on the goal as well. The Sound Tigers had to kill a penalty at 12:19 but did so effectively as they would do most of the game. The 1st period ended with the score 1-0, and both sides had been pretty evenly matched, neither getting great chances, other than Miller’s shot. Bridgeport ended the period and started the second on the power play but nothing came of it.
At 3:59 in the second Bridgeport got another chance at the power play but failed to convert. At 9:08 Kevin Gravel lined up a shot from Poulin’s northeast and blasted it past the keeper, bouncing it off each side of the interior net. Brian O’Neill and Andrew Crescenzi picked up the assists. To add insult to injury the Sound Tigers had to kill off a penalty soon afterward but succeeded. Manchester went into the box late, but Bridgeport could not capitalize on the penalty that stretched between periods 2 and 3. In fact, ten seconds into the third, Michael Mersch swept in on goal and was tripped by a Sound Tiger. The ref called for a penalty shot and Mersch attacked. He moved across the net and shot it quickly past Poulin and it was 3-0 Manchester. Bridgeport had had some opportunities up until this point but also had some bad breaks, as Sundstrom had hit the post in the first period and some other chances just didn’t materialize. The period continued until an altercation broke out resulting in a variety of penalties but Bridgeport ended up with 1 extra and Manchester made it work for them following a big shot, the puck bounced off Poulin and Scott Sabourin whapped it past the keeper at close range. Assists went to Josh Gratton and Miller at 17:48. As if that weren’t enough the Sound Tigers were called for a penalty soon afterward. The game soon wrapped up. Manchester had 29 shots and Poulin had saved 25 of them. Bridgeport took 18 shots and Patrik Bartosak saved them all for the shut out.
Bridgeport wraps up the season next week, Manchester moves on to the post season as teams are still jockeying for position.