Goaltender Jonathan Bernier stopped 41 shots to backstop the Manchester Monarchs to a 2-1 victory over the Norfolk Admirals in front of 4,002 fans at the Norfolk Scope on Friday night.
Manchester (2-0-0-0) is tied with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers (2-0-0-0) for first place in the Atlantic Division with four points. Norfolk (0-2-0-0) is tied with the Syracuse Crunch (0-2-0-0) for sixth place in the East Division with zero points.
"Jonathan Bernier stood on his head for us," explained Monarchs Head Coach Mark Morris. "He was very strong in net and we had two timely goals from (Drew) Bagnall and (Oscar) Moller.
"It came right down to the buzzer and it was a real character win for us. Last season, we seemed to always find a way to a different fate. It was encouraging to see our guys hunker down and battle to the end to earn two points."
Monarchs center Oscar Moller put the puck in the net for his first tally of the season at 13:43 of the final frame to put Manchester ahead for good. Moller skated into the Admirals zone racing with Norfolk defenseman Matt Lashoff to the puck. The centerman picked it up first and protected it from the defender as they approached the net. Once in the slot, Moller snapped a wrist shot that snuck under goaltender Riku Helenius' left arm for the eventual game-winning goal. Defenseman Drew Bagnall and right wing Scott Parse assisted on Moller's goal. All three players picked up two points each in the game.
The Monarchs took the early lead with Bagnall's first goal of the season at 1:20 of the opening frame. Parse attempted a backhander from the right doorstep of Norfolk's net but the puck slid wide of the cage. Moller picked up the loose puck, skated behind the net and fed a pass into the left face-off circle. Bagnall connected with the puck to the right of the dot and ripped a one-timer past Helenius for the early lead.
"Bernier was a big reason for our success tonight," said Morris. "And Bagnall had the best game of his career. It was a big goal for us to get on the scoreboard."