Lege-IN The Clutch
PORTLAND, ME – The Manchester Monarchs trailed 3-0 after the first period but came back to win in overtime, 4-3, against the Portland Pirates, in game 10 of the VIP Cup, presented by VIP Parts, Tires and Service, at the Cumberland County Civic Center on Sunday afternoon. The rivalry series is tied at 5-5.
Manchester (28-24-3-3) is in third place in the Atlantic Division with 62 points. Portland (33-20-2-2) is in second place in the Atlantic Division with 70 points.
“This was an unlikely comeback,” said Monarchs Head Coach Mark Morris. “We were listless in the first period. Nothing went our way and it would’ve been easy to concede Portland the game. We came out with more jump in the second and carried the play from that point on. Credit our players with a gutsy effort and finding a way to beat the odds. The guys dug deep and they should feel good about two points. It was a character builder for sure.”
Right wing Stefan Legein completed the comeback with the game-winning goal at 2:52 of overtime. Legein took a loose puck on the left wing as he entered the Pirates zone. Legein skated in on a 2-on-1 break and wristed a shot just under the cross bar over the left shoulder of Pirates goaltender Chad Johnson for his fourth goal of the season.
The Pirates opened the scoring at 1:06 of the first period with a power play goal by right wing Chris Brown. Center Alexandre Bolduc took a feed from right wing Chris Conner at the left wing half wall. Bolduc skated down to the left wing corner before driving to the net. Bolduc took a shot at the left doorstep that produced a rebound in the slot. Brown finished the play by grabbing the loose puck and wristing a shot past Monarchs goaltender Martin Jones for his 20th goal of the season.
Portland took a 2-0 lead with a goal by left wing Darian Dziurzynski at 8:55 of the second period. Defenseman Mathieu Brodeur flipped the puck out of the Pirates zone. Bolduc tipped the puck at center ice ahead for Dziurzynski who poked it free from a Monarchs defenseman. Dziurzynski broke behind the defense and lifted a backhand over the left shoulder of Jones for his sixth goal of the season.
Right wing Jordan Szwarz gave the Pirates a 3-0 lead with a goal at 12:43 of the opening period. Center Brendan Shinnimin fed the puck defenseman Brandon Gormley at the left point. Gormley took a slap shot and Szwarz redirected the shot into the back of the net for his sixth goal of the season.
The Monarchs cut the deficit to two making the score 3-1 with a goal by defenseman Andrew Bodnarchuk at 8:03 of the second period. Right wing Tyler Toffoli one-timed a loose puck from inside the right wing face-off circle that Johnson redirected to the left corner. Bodnarchuk tracked down the puck at the left wing half wall and launched a slap shot that found the back of the net for the goal. Center Andy Andreoff also tallied an assist on Bodnarchuk's fifth goal of the season.
Manchester brought the game to within a goal at 3-2 when right wing Brandon Kozun scored at 4:16 of the third period. Defenseman Bryan Rodney took a wrist shot from the center point producing a rebound in the slot. Kozun grabbed the loose puck and wristed a shot past Johnson for the goal. Kozun’s 21st goal of the season was also assisted by center Jordan Weal.
The Monarchs cored their third unanswered goal to tie the game at 3-3 with a shorthanded goal by Toffoli at 4:47 of the third period. Center Linden Vey won a face-off to Toffoli in the Monarchs zone. Toffoli and Vey skated on a 2-on-1 break where Toffoli skated up the left wing before wristing a shot high on the stick side of Johnson from inside the left wing face-off circle for his 28th goal of the season.
Jones (18-19-3) earned his 18th victory of the season of the season stopping 25-of-28 shots. Johnson (15-11-1) took his 11th loss of the season making 28 saves on 32 shots.
Manchester went 0-for-6 on the power play. Portland was 1-for-7 with the man advantage.
Notables: The Monarchs are 4-0-0-0 in March and are 6-0-1-0 in their last seven games…Manchester has not lost in regulation since Sunday, February 17…Right wing Stefan Legein scored his first goal since January 19.
The Monarchs return home to play the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins for Max’s Star Wars Birthday at the Verizon Wireless Arena on Sunday, March 10 at 5:00 p.m. Catch all the play-by-play action of Monarchs hockey with Ken Cail on the Monarchs Radio Network WGIR.com and at www.manchestermonarchs.com, presented by Manchester-Boston Regional Airport.