Captain Smothers Portland’s Fire
MANCHESTER, NH – The Manchester Monarchs sink the Portland Pirates, 2-1 in a back and forth match to take over third place in the Atlantic Division in front of 7,226 fans at the Verizon Wireless Arena on Saturday night. The Monarchs wore specialty firefighter jerseys in honor of American Pride Night. The jerseys brought in over $10,000 for the Monarchs Care Foundation and the 100 Club through both a silent and a live auction.
Manchester (32-26-0-6, 70 points) moved into third place in the Atlantic Division. Portland (30-24-3-6, 69 points) dropped to fourth place in the Atlantic Division.
“We had to dig deep in the third (period) to come away with two points,” said Head Coach Mark Morris. “Some real key defensive plays gave us a close fought victory.”
The Monarchs regained the lead when center Marty Murray scored his 11th goal of the year on the power play at the 13:41 point of the third period. Center Gabe Gauthier came off the right wing boards and made a rap around attempt. Goaltender Jhonas Enroth made the initial save but Murray was in the crease to put the rebound five-hole and into the back of the net. Left wing Matt Moulson also received an assist on the game-winner.
Manchester got on the board first when center Brian Boyle notched his seventh goal of the season at the 19:24 mark of the first period. Murray passed the puck down low to Boyle who took it out from the left wing boards and wrapped it around the net to put it past the netminder.
Portland evened the score when center Marek Zagrapan lit the lamp for his 16th goal of the season at 13:14 of the second period. The Pirates took advantage of the Monarchs failed attempt to get the puck out of the defensive zone. Left wing Colin Murphy passed the puck out from the right wing boards to find his teammate in the middle of the hash marks. Zagrapan fired a wrist shot past goaltender Jonathan Bernier's glove.
“We continue to climb in the standings. A strong shift by the fourth line sparked us for the remainder of the game,” said Morris.
Bernier stopped 25-of-26 shots while Enroth saved 22-of-24 shots.
Manchester went 1-for-2 with an extra attacker while Portland was 0-for-2 with the man advantage.
The Monarchs play their fourth game in five days when they head down to the DCU Center to face the Worcester Sharks on Sunday, March 8 at 4:05 p.m. Catch all of the play-by-play action of Monarchs hockey with Ken Cail on the Monarchs Radio Network WGAM AM 1250 and at www.manchestermonarchs.com. Watch the games live on AHL Live for just $6 per game. Log onto www.manchestermonarchs.com and click on the link to AHL Live five minutes prior to each Monarchs game to watch the game live.