Rough Seas Turn Monarchs Green
MANCHESTER, NH – The Manchester Monarchs snapped their four-game losing streak as they earned a point in the 4-3 shootout loss to the Portland Pirates at the Verizon Wireless Arena on Friday night as the team celebrated going green and recycling.
Manchester (34-25-3-6) is tied for third place with the Lowell Devils (34-26-4-5) in the Atlantic Division with 77 points. Portland (38-22-5-4) is ranked second in the Atlantic Division with 85 points.
“We scored a few goals and we had net presence,” explained Monarchs head coach Mark Morris following Friday night’s defeat. “The play far outweighed the results. We had a couple of breakdowns that led to some goals but we’re glad we got a point.
“We would rather have had two, but we will take the one – we saw a lot of good things tonight.”
With the score deadlocked at three following a scoreless overtime, Portland left wing Mark Mancari potted a shootout goal that clinched the 4-3 victory for the Pirates. Skating in on Monarchs goaltender Jonathan Bernier, two quick dekes preceded a powerful wrist shot that the netminder missed glove side for the game-winning shootout goal.
Pirates goaltender J-P Lamoureux stopped all four Monarchs shooters in the shootout, center Oscar Moller, center Justin Azevedo, left wing Bud Holloway and center Shawn Bates. Bernier stopped center Paul Byron in the shootout but left wing Nathan Gerbe found the back of the net with Mancari.
Left wing Bud Holloway scored the first goal of the game for the Monarchs at 12:56 of the first period. Defenseman Viatcheslav Voynov collected the feed at the right point from a Monarchs player deep in the zone. Voynov delivered a quick feed to his left that was controlled by defenseman Doug Nolan at the opposite point. Once Nolan corralled the puck, he fired a blast on goal that was redirected at the top of the crease by Holloway for his 18th goal of the season.
Byron scored his 11th goal of the season at 16:15 of the first period to knot the score at 1-1. From within his own defensive zone, defenseman T.J. Brennan passed the puck behind Lamoureux. Center Tyler Ennis collected the pass and skated up the left wing. After crossing Portland’s blueline, Ennis sent a cross-ice feed to Byron, who was streaking up the right wing. Byron entered the zone and put a deke on Monarchs defenseman Drew Bagnall. Evading Bagnall’s check, Byron cut toward the far post and wristed a shot that beat Bernier into the top of the net on his glove side to even the game.
Voynov quickly countered by scoring 25 seconds following Byron’s tally. Left wing Dwight King held the puck behind the Portland net and sent a feed that connected with Nolan who was positioned at the left point. Nolan passed the puck to Voynov who fired a blast on net from the right point that evaded the grasp of Lamoureux. Voynov’s ninth goal of the season gave the Monarchs the 2-1 advantage at 16:40 of the first period.
Portland would even the score at 2-2 as Ennis recorded his 22nd goal of the season at 12:21 of the second period. Defenseman Drew Schiestel initiated play from behind his own net by passing the puck up the right wing boards to defenseman Mike Weber. Crossing his own blueline, Weber sent a feed across neutral ice that connected with Ennis’s stick. The center wristed a soft shot on goal that kicked off the skates of Monarchs defenseman Alec Martinez and past Bernier for the goal.
Left wing Dwight King scored 41 seconds into the third period giving the Monarchs the 3-2 lead. After a wide shot by Manchester, a Pirates player gathered the errant shot and attempted to clear the puck. Martinez intercepted the dump and ripped a blast that rang off the right post. A crashing King collected the rebound and fired a shoved the puck through Lamoureux’s pads, scoring his eighth goal of the season.
Mancari knotted the score at 3-3 with 10:26 remaining in the third period. Weber maintained puck possession behind Bernier and wristed a quick pass to Gerbe at the top of the left face-off circle. Gerbe sent a pass across the ice to a crashing Mancari, who fired a booming drive past Bernier to even the score for his 23rd goal of the season.
Bernier (26-19-6) stopped 25-of-28 shots on goal, recording his sixth shootout loss of the season. Lamoureux (11-8-2) earned his 11th victory of the season, halting 19-of-22 shots on goal. Bernier stopped 1-of-3 shots in the shootout, while Lamoureux held the Monarchs scoreless in the shootout.
Manchester did not have a power play opportunity during the game. Portland was 0-for-3 with the man advantage
NOTABLES: Manchester did not have a power play for the second game all season…The Monarchs suffered their third shootout loss of the season to Portland…Monarchs defenseman Viatcheslav Voynov received his first fighting major of his professional career en route to a Gordie Howe Hat Trick, recording a goal, assist and fight in one game.
The Monarchs open up a three game road trip beginning on Saturday, March 20 at the Arena at Harbor Yard where they will face-off against their division-rival, the Bridgeport Sound Tigers in a 7:00 p.m. tilt. Catch all of the play-by-play action of Monarchs hockey with Ken Cail on the Monarchs Radio Network WGAM 900/1250 AM and at www.manchestermonarchs.com.