Jonathan Bernier received his award for being named the AHL’s Player of the Week before the start of Saturday night’s game.
After the two games the Manchester Monarchs goalie had last week, he could be up for another one.
Bernier stopped all 34 shots he faced as Manchester defeated the Syracuse Crunch, 2-0, at the Verizon Wireless Arena. The shutout was Bernier’s league-leading seventh of the season and came on the heels of Friday’s 4-1 win over Springfield, in which he stopped 33 of the 34 shots he faced.
“He stepped up big,” Monarchs coach Mark Morris said. “At key moments, he was right there for us. Can’t give him enough credit for what he means to the success of our team. I think everybody in that locker room knows it.”
Corey Elkins had the game-winning goal for Manchester, his 17th of the season, at the 10:46 mark of the third period. Dwight King added an empty net goal at the end to help the Monarchs jump over Worcester and back into first place in the Atlantic Division.
The Sharks visit the Verizon Wireless Arena at 3 p.m. on Sunday.
Saturday’s meeting with the Crunch was the first time the two franchises have faced each other in the Monarchs’ nine-year history.
“They came out really hard, probably the fastest pace I’ve seen this year,” Bernier said. “I said to the guys that they had a lot of speed. We didn’t panic and we held our ground.”
That was a little tougher for the Monarchs in the first period.
“They came at us with as much speed as anybody we’ve faced this year,” Morris said. “They were physical and I thought that in the first period, we were in trouble. Good goaltending again gave us a chance to right ourselves.”
Manchester looked like it would get on the board in the second period when Scott Parse brought the puck down the left side of the Syracuse zone and fired a shot on goalie Kevin Lalande. The Crunch goalie made the save, but the rebound went to the opposite side, where Justin Azevedo was looking at a wide-open net, but somehow the puck got by him.
The Crunch had a goal waved off a few minutes later, when Bernier made a save on a slapshot by Mike Radja, but couldn’t find the puck as it sat at his feet. A gang of players plowed into Bernier, knocking the goalie into the goal along with the puck. The goal light went on, but the officials waved it off.
Elkins’s goal came off a pass from Geoff Walker and beat Lalande to the glove side. Andrew Campbell also got an assist.
“I thought we got a great goal from Elkins that really lifted our bench,” Morris said. “From that point forward, we rolled four lines and they all contributed.”