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Bernier, Monarchs roll to 2-1 series lead

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MANCHESTER 5, WORCESTER 0
Baz Bastien Award winner Jonathan Bernier made 26 saves for his first shutout of the playoffs, and Manchester’s offense did the rest en route to a 5-0 win over Worcester on Friday at the Verizon Wireless Arena and a 2-1 series lead in the Atlantic Division Finals.

Bernier, who posted a league-leading nine shutouts during the regular season, turned aside seven shots in the first period, eight in the second, and 11 more in the third frame.

The Monarchs staked themselves to a 3-0 lead after two periods on the strength of three power play goals. Gabe Gauthier netted his first of the postseason just 2:24 into the game, and Trevor Lewis scored twice on the power play in a 50-second span early in the second stanza.

David Meckler and rookie Corey Elkins tacked on third-period goals for the Monarchs, and Oscar Moller chipped in two assists in the winning effort.

Manchester made good on three of its eight power play opportunities while not allowing Worcester a single power play chance of its own. The Sharks finished with 45 penalty minutes to the Monarchs’ four.

This marked just the second time all season that the Sharks suffered a shutout and the first since dropping a 4-0 decision at Hartford back on Nov. 14. It was also Worcester’s first road defeat of the playoffs, as the Sharks took all three games at Lowell in the division semifinals.

The teams will go right back at it for Game 4 in Manchester on Saturday night.

Atlantic Division Finals – Series “I” (best-of-7)
A1-Worcester Sharks vs. A3-Manchester Monarchs

Game 1 – Sun., Apr. 25 – WORCESTER 4, Manchester 3
Game 2 – Wed., Apr. 28 – Manchester 3, WORCESTER 2 (OT)
Game 3 – Fri., Apr. 30 – MANCHESTER 5, Worcester 0
Game 4 – Sat., May 1 – Worcester at Manchester, 7:00
Game 5 – Wed., May 5 – Manchester at Worcester, 7:05
*Game 6 – Fri., May 7 – Worcester at Manchester, 7:30
*Game 7 – Sat., May 8 – Manchester at Worcester, 7:05