SACO, ME — Defenseman Nick Deslauriers lit the lamp four times as the Manchester Monarchs skated past the Portland Pirates, 5-2, in the first of two exhibition games at the OA Performance Center on Saturday afternoon.
Manchester (1-0-0-0) is unbeaten in exhibition play this season. Portland (0-1-0-0) dropped their first game of the preseason.
"Nick (Deslauriers) played really well," said Monarchs Head Coach Mark Morris. "He embraced the idea of going up and playing some left wing. The guys that came to our camp were mainly defensemen so we needed somebody to go up and he was really excited about it and obviously he bought in. We might have found us a power forward that can score us a few goals."
"I think the main thing is evaluations," said Morris when asked about his focus for the exhibition games. "I was really impressed with some of the guys that were here to audition. I think seeing Sean Backman for the first time as his coach was really encouraging too. I was impressed with the guys that are here short term and then also the guys that are going to be here for the season. You see maturity in our players over the course of the season and our goaltending was good and I thought our (defensemen) did a good job minimizing chances. And then offensively, to see Nick really have a great outing this afternoon was heartwarming."
Click here to view complete post-game interviews from Head Coach Mark Morris and defenseman Nick Deslauriers.
Deslauriers captured the hat trick with a power play goal at 19:57 of the second period to give the Monarchs a 3-2 lead. Stationed at the right point, Deslauriers received a pass from defenseman Colin Miller and fired a slap shot that beat Pirates' goaltender Mark Visentin on his blocker side. Right wing Brandon Kozun also assisted on the game-winning goal.
The Pirates jumped out to the early lead with a goal by center Brendan Shinnimin at 3:58 of the opening frame. Right wing Phil Lane skated down the right wing and fed a pass over to Shinnimin who was positioned at the left doorstep to tap the puck past Monarchs goaltender Jean-Francois Berube. Left wing Brandon McMillan assisted on the opening goal.
The Monarchs responded with Deslauriers' first goal of the preseason at 5:03 of the first period. Center Jordan Weal sprung Deslauriers at the Pirates blueline. The defenseman skated in on Visentin and buried the puck into the back of the net to tie the game at 1-1.
Defenseman Daine Todd gave the Pirates the 2-1 advantage at 8:47 of the opening period. McMillan picked up the puck in the neutral zone and carried it down the right wing. The forward cut to the net and attempted to jam the puck through Berube's pads. The puck followed McMillan into the left corner and he threw a second shot on net. Todd was crashing the crease and chipped in the rebound for his first tally of exhibition play. Shinnimin picked up an assist on the goal.
The Monarchs tied the game at 2-2 on Deslauriers' second goal of the game at 6:40 of the middle frame. Forward Ian O'Connor rushed up the ice and attempted a wrap-around that was saved by Visentin, leaving a rebound that Deslauriers banked home. O'Connor and defenseman Alex Roach assisted on the tying goal.
Left wing Maxim Kitsyn scored glove side to give the Monarchs a 4-2 lead at 9:53 of the third period. As Kitsyn skated down to the right face-off circle, he took a feed from O'Connor and snapped a shot by Visentin's glove. Monarchs forward Hunter Bishop also picked up an assist on the play.
Deslauriers added an insurance goal at 15:47 of the third period to secure the win for Monarchs. Weal fired a shot from the point that Visentin made the initial save on. The puck trickled out to the right face-off circle where Deslauriers ripped a one-timer top-shelf beating the netminder for the final goal of the game.
Berube (1-0-0) stopped 13-of-15 shots through two periods and earned his first victory of the preseason. Monarchs goaltender Mathias Niederberger shutout the Pirates in the third period in relief of Berube.
Manchester went 1-for-4 on the power play. Portland was 0-for-6 with the man advantage.
Notables: Monarchs defenseman Nick Deslauriers scored four goals in the game, matching the total number of goals he scored in Manchester during the 2012-13 season...Goaltenders Jean-Francois Berube and Mathias Niederberger shutout the Pirates in the second and third periods...Rookie left wing Maxim Kitsyn tallied his first goal as a professional.
The Monarchs return home to play the Pirates in their second and final exhibition game of the preseason in a 3:00 p.m. contest at Sullivan Arena on Sunday, September 29. Ticket Package Holders can pick up their ticket packages for the Monarchs 2013-14 season at Sunday's exhibition game.
Secure your seats for Monarchs Home Opening Weekend, presented by AutoFair, through the Opening Weekend Pack! Get two great seats for either the Opening Night game on Saturday, October 19 or Opening Sunday game on October 20 as the Monarchs drop the puck on their 13th season in Manchester. In addition, you will receive six flex vouchers and a limited edition Opening Weekend puck (exclusive to this package). For more information, visit www.manchestermonarchs.com or call the Monarchs Front Office at (603) 626-7825.
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