Monarchs Hooked In OT
PORTLAND, ME – The Manchester Monarchs earned five-of-six points on the weekend but could not grab the sixth as they fell to the Portland Pirates, 4-3, in overtime in game nine of the VIP Cup, presented by VIP Parts, Tires and Service, at the Cumberland County Civic Center on Sunday afternoon. The Pirates lead the rivalry series 5-4.
Manchester (24-24-3-3) is in fourth place in the Atlantic Division with 54 points. Portland (31-19-1-1) is in second place in the Atlantic Division with 64 points.
“Looking at the big picture, five-out-of-six possible points is a pretty productive weekend,” said Monarchs Head Coach Mark Morris. “This game didn’t end the way we had hoped but we showed lots of hunger to compete and a puck bounce in our favor and we would be all smiles. The line-up has been make shift most nights due to circumstances beyond our control but we will face ever roadblock with a determined effort regardless of who is in or out. The professional tryout players have contributed and adapted well to our team. We look forward to earning as many points as we can in the remaining games.”
The Pirates scored just seven seconds into overtime with a goal by right wing Chris Conner. Center Andy Miele won the face-off to open overtime and played the puck to Conner on the right wing. Conner skated around a Monarchs defenseman and jammed the puck through the pads of Monarchs goaltender Martin Jones for the game-winning tally and his 10th goal of the season.
The Monarchs opened the scoring with a goal by right wing Brandon Kozun at 14:06 of the first period. Defenseman David Kolomatis fed center Jordan Weal in the neutral zone. Weal gained the Pirates zone with the puck on the right wing before cutting across the zone to the left wing face-off circle. Weal then dropped a pass back to Kozun who wristed a shot high on the stick side of Pirates netminder Mike Lee for his 19th goal of the season.
The Pirates tied the game at 1-1 with a goal by right wing Phil Lane at 1:28 of the second period. Miele fed right wing Rob Klinkhammer in the bottom of the left wing face-off circle. Klinkhammer played the puck to Lane inside the left wing face-off circle where he wrested a shot high on the stick side of Jones for his sixth goal of the season.
Portland took a 2-1 lead with a goal by defenseman Maxim Goncharov at 16:21 of the second period. As a Pirates power play expired, Klinkhammer received a pass from defenseman Matthieu Brodeur at the right wing half wall. Klinkhammer played the puck to Goncharov in between the tops of the face-off circles. Goncharov took a wrist shot through traffic that found the back of the net for his first goal of the season.
Left wing Colton Yellow Horn tied the game at 2-2 for the Monarchs at 2:10 of the third period. Weal skated down the left wing with speed carrying the puck behind the Pirates cage. Yellow Horn took a pass from Weal in the slot and buried it for his third goal of the season.
Lane gave the Pirates a 3-2 lead at 5:47 of the third period with his second goal of the game. With the Pirates on a three-on-two break, Miele wristed a shot from the right wing face-off that produced a rebound in front of the net. Lane jumped on the puck and lifted a shot over the out stretched pad of Jones for his seventh goal of the season.
Manchester tied the game again at 3-3 with a goal by left wing Anthony Stewart at 8:04 of the third period. Defenseman Andrew Bodnarchuk pass from the right point to defenseman Chris Huxley at the left point. Huxley took a slap shot that Stewart tipped in for his third goal of the season.
Jones (14-19-3) took his 19th loss of the season making 25 saves on 29 shots. Lee (6-1-0) earned his sixth of the season stopping 19-22 shots.
Manchester went 0-for-3 on the power play. Portland went 0-for-3 with the man advantage.
Notables: There are three more VIP Cup match-ups this season with the next game between the rivals coming on March 29 in Portland…Monarchs right wing Brandon Kozun has five multi-point games in his last six games…Monarchs right wing Tyler Toffoli saw his five-game point streak (5-3=8) snapped…Monarchs defenseman Matt Case made his Monarchs debut.
The Monarchs travel to play the St. John’s IceCaps at the MileOne Centre on Friday, March 1 at 6:00 p.m. Catch all the play-by-play action of Monarchs hockey with Ken Cail on the Monarchs Radio Network WGIR 610 AM, WGIR.com and at www.manchestermonarchs.com, presented by Manchester-Boston Regional Airport.