Monarchs Tide Turns For Worse
PORTLAND, ME – The Manchester Monarchs brought a tied game into the third period but fell to the Portland Pirates, 6-3, in game 11 of the VIP Cup, presented by VIP Parts, Tires and Service, at the Cumberland County Civic Center on Friday night. The Pirates lead the rivalry series 6-5. The winner of their next match-up will be crowned the inaugural VIP Cup Champions.
Manchester (31-29-3-4) is in third place in the Atlantic Division with 69 points. Portland (36-25-3-2) is in second place in the Atlantic Division with 77 points.
"Staying focused for a full sixty minutes remains to be our biggest challenge," said Monarchs Head Coach Mark Morris. "Managing the puck and keeping good structure in our systems favors teams that win consistently. Our collective effort fell short in those areas. We fought back from a 2-0 deficit and things looked encouraging but we had a turnover that lead to their tying goal. the momentum we had mustered turned in Portland's favor at that point."
Right wing Nick Johnson gave the Pirates the lead for good with a goal at 2:51 of the first period. Left wing Chris Conner took control of the puck behind the Monarchs net. Conner skated out toward the left wing corner before centering a pass to Johnson in front of the net. Johnson took a wrist shot finishing it high over the glove hand of Monarchs goaltender Martin Jones for his second goal of the season.
Right wing Chris Brown opened the scoring with a goal 36 seconds into first period giving the Pirates an early 1-0 lead. Center Andy Miele won a draw in the right wing face-off circle back to defenseman Chris Summers at the center point. Summers wristed a shot on net that Brown re-directed into the back of the net for his 25th goal of the season.
Portland opened up a 2-0 lead when Conner scored on the power play at 2:16 of the second period. Miele received a pass as he entered the Monarchs zone at the left point and played the puck to defenseman Brandon Gormley in the left wing face-off circle. Gormley passed the puck to Conner in the slot where wasted no time wristing a shot that beat Jones for his 13th goal of the season.
Manchester scored their first goal of the game at 3:38 of the first period with a goal by center Linden Vey. Pirates netminder Mark Visentin came out of his crease to play a puck and played it into the right wing corner. Left wing Tanner Pearson grabbed the loose puck and skated behind the net feeding it to Vey in front of the net. Vey quickly shot it midway up the glove side of Visentin for the goal. Defenseman Nick Deslauriers also tallied an assist on Vey’s 19th goal of the season.
The Monarchs tied the game at 2-2 with a goal by Pearson at 14:13 of the first period. Vey managed to keep the puck in the Pirates zone at the right point by chipping the puck down the boards. Center Andy Andreoff grabbed the puck off the right wing half wall and threaded a pass to Pearson in the slot who wasted no time wristing a shot on net beating Visentin for his 14th goal of the season.
The Monarchs grabbed the lead at 3-2 with Vey’s second goal of the game at 1:26 of the second period. Defenseman Andrew Bodnarchuk fed the puck to Pearson at the right wing half wall. Pearson fed Vey for a one-timer at the top of the right wing face-off circle. Vey’s shot beat Visentin for his 20th goal of the season.
Portland tied the game at 3-3 with a goal by center Evan Brophey at 8:07 of the second period. Defenseman Boris Valabik started the breakout with a pass out of the Pirates zone to center Brendan Shinnimin on the right wing. Shinnimin broke free with Brophey on a two-on-one. Shinnimin skated into the right wing face-off circle before flipping a pass over to Brophey in the slot where he buried a shot for his sixth goal of the season.
Shinnimin gave the Pirates a 5-3 lead at 15:01 of the third period with a power play goal. Johnson skated out of the right wing corner and up the half wall before backhanding a pass to center Jordan Martinook behind the Monarchs cage. Martinook fed Shinnimin in the slot where he jammed the puck through the pads of Jones for his 11th goal of the season.
The Pirates finished the scoring with an empty net goal by Brophey at 19:21 of the third period. Johnson cleared the puck out of the Pirates zone. Conner tracked down the loose puck and fed Brophey in front of the net for the goal.
Jones (21-23-4) took his 23rd loss of the season making 30 saves on 35 shots. Visentin (13-11-1) earned his 13th victory of the season stopping a 42-of-45 shots faced.
Manchester went 0-for-2 on the power play. Portland went 2-for-6 with the man advantage.
Notables: The Monarchs sit in ninth place and two points behind the eighth place Hershey Bears in the Eastern Conference with the top eight seeds making the 2013 Calder Cup Playoffs…Monarchs center Linden Vey tallied two goals and an assist giving him 62 points on the season ranking first among league skaters…Defenseman Vincent LoVerde saw his three-game point streak (1-2=3) snapped…Right wing Brandon Kozun had his three-game point streak (2-2=4) snapped.
The Monarchs return home to take on the Pirates at the Verizon Wireless Arena for the 12th and final VIP Cup match-up of the season on Friday, April 5 at 7:00 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