MANCHESTER, NH – December 22, 2018 – Ryan Gropp broke a 3-3 tie with 1:04 remaining in regulation to help the Mariners recover from a third period scare and defeat the Manchester Monarchs on Saturday night at the SNHU Arena. It was the third win in a row for Maine, putting them a season high four games above .500 at 15-11-0-1 heading into Christmas.
The Mariners grabbed a 2-0 lead in the first half of the first period, facilitated by Scott Savage in his return from an upper body injury. At 3:46, Savage wristed a shot from the left point through an Alex Kile screen and behind Monarchs goaltender Chris Dreidger for his third goal of the season. At 9:59, it was Savage again from the same spot, this time with a slap shot that Ryan Gropp deflected home to double the lead. At 13:47 of the period, Manchester’s Jack Nevins scored for the second night in a row to make it a 2-1 game after one period.
Alex Kile scored his team-leading 13th goal of the season at 3:24 of the middle frame with a slap shot from just inside the blue line for what would be the only goal of the period. Connor LaCouvee stopped all 18 shots that came his way in the second.
In the third, Manchester came out firing and closed within one just 1:39 in when Michael Doherty cleaned up a blue line shot that sat on the goal line behind LaCouvee. At 9:47, they got even when Pavel Jenys ripped a shot home right off a faceoff win to make it 3-3. At 13:22, Brycen Martin was assessed a five minute major penalty and game misconduct for kneeing Doherty, putting the penalty kill to the test. After surviving the five minutes, Gropp scored his second of the night when Ryan Culkin’s shot was blocked right to his feet and he beat Dreidger with 1:04 remaining.
LaCouvee stopped 45 of 48 for his fourth win and third against Manchester. Dreidger stopped 27 of 31 in the loss. The Mariners improved to 4-1-0-0 in five games against Manchester this season.
After the brief holiday break, the Mariners are home to take on Manchester again on Thursday, December 27th at 7:00 PM. They also host Worcester on Friday, December 28th at 7:15 PM for a 1-2-3 Friday, Nickelodeon Takeover Night, and First Responders Night. Tickets can be purchased at MarinersOfMaine.com or by calling 207-775-3458.