MANCHESTER, N.H. – Brian O’Neill scored two goals– the game-winner on the power play and an empty-netter in the final minute– as the Manchester Monarchs defeated the Providence Bruins 3-1 Saturday night at Verizon Wireless Arena on Pink in the Rink Night.
The Monarchs outshot the Bruins 38-19 for the game, launching 16 shots in each of the first two periods.
Providence goaltender Jeremy Smith kept it scoreless for much of the first period with a couple of impressive saves, but Manchester got on the board in the final minute of the frame. The Bruins took seven of the first eight shots, but the home team had each of the next 14.
Michael Mersch lit the lamp with a smooth move from the right wing corner to beat Smith on a shot he never saw at 19:03. Captain Vincent LoVerde had the lone assist on the play.
Ethan Werek scored his second power play goal in as many games in the second period, deflecting a Tommy Cross shot past Manchester goalie Jean-Francois Berube at 11:50. (Werek also had the game-winner on Friday on the man advantage.)
However, six minutes later, O’Neill had an answer with a power play strike of his own. Jordan Weal wristed the puck from the right wing side across the ice, and O’Neill tapped it in for another lead. It was a 5-on-3 goal that snapped a streak of 13 straight penalties killed by the P-Bruins (including 10 in a row this weekend versus the Monarchs).
The third period was the only occasion in which Providence outshot the home team (7-6). Justin Florek had the best Providence chance with a mini-breakaway with 2:40 to go, but shot it wide. O’Neill scored his second of the night into an empty net from beyond the blue line at 19:01, after the Bruins had more than 0:30 of 6-on-5 time.
The Bruins’ next game is at home on Sunday at 3:05pm versus the Springfield Falcons to finish the three-in-three.
#20 Ethan Werek (#3 Tommy Cross, #49 Colin Stuart, PPG)
#30 Jeremy Smith (36 saves on 38 shots)
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The Providence Bruins are an American Hockey League franchise and the top affiliate of the NHL’s Boston Bruins. Since moving to Providence in 1992 the P-Bruins have been among the league leaders in regular season attendance. On the ice the team has enjoyed similar success, having won five division titles, three regular season titles and the Calder Cup in 1999.