Monarchs Kept At Bay
MANCHESTER, NH – The Manchester Monarchs fell to the Portland Pirates, 4-2, in the final game of the VIP Cup, presented by VIP Tires and Service, at the Verizon Wireless Arena on Friday night.
Manchester (31-30-3-4) is in third place in the Atlantic Division with 69 points. Portland (38-25-3-2) is in second place in the Atlantic Division with 81 points.
“That was a winnable game” said Monarchs Head Coach Mark Morris. “At this point in season we have to be better defensively and make better decision. We worked hard but not smart. I was hoping for a better result.”
The Pirates sealed the victory with a goal from left wing Darian Dziurzynski at 13:18 of the third period. Portland center Justin Feser skated down the right wing and into the right wing corner playing the puck to right wing Jordan Szwarz in the right wing face-off circle for a quick wrist shot. The Pirates right wing’s shot was denied by Monarchs goaltender Martin Jones but Dziurzynski collected the rebound on the left door step to tip it into an open net goal for the goal.
Left wing Hunter Bishop opened the scoring for the Monarchs at 9:49 of the first period with a partial breakaway goal. Right wing Brian O’Neill connected with Bishop on the rightwing boards in the neutral zone. Bishop skated down the ice getting around the Pirates defense and to the front of the net. Bishop squeezed a puck five-hole on Pirates goaltender Mike Lee for the goal. Defenseman Andrew Campbell was also credited with an assist on the Bishop’s second goal of the season.
Portland tied the game at 1-1 with 16:48 left in the second period with a goal from Portland right wing Brett Hextall. Pirates center Jordan Martinook brought the puck down the right wing boards and into the corner before passing to Dziurzynski at the doorstep of Jones. Dziurzynski fired the puck across the top of the crease to Hextall at the left doorstep. Hextall punched the puck to the back of the net for his eighth goal of the season.
The Pirates took a 2-1 lead with a goal from right wing Phil Lane’s ninth goal of the season with 1:24 remaining in the second period. After defenseman Mathieu Brodeur kept the puck in the Monarchs zone after a failed clearing attempt by Manchester, he passed the puck to Szwarz just inside the center point. Jones made a pad save on Szwarz’s slap shot but Lane collected the puck in the slot. Lane then skated to the left doorstep before shooting a backhand past Jones for the goal.
The Monarchs tied the game at 2-2 with a goal from center Jordan Weal at 4:07 of the third period. Manchester right wing Brandon Kozun took a feed from left wing Colton Yellow Horn at the bottom of the left wing face-off circle. Kozun skated out in between the top of the face-off circles before playing the puck back to Weal at the bottom of the left wing face-off circle. Weal took the puck and went top shelf from the left doorstep scoring his 12th goal of the season.
Lane capped off the scoring with an empty net goal at 1:08 of the third period. Lane scored his second goal of the night after collecting the puck in the neutral zone, skating around two defenders and firing a shot from the top of the left wing face-off circle. Portland center Andy Miele was credited with an assist on Lane’s 10th goal of the season.
Jones (21-24-4) took his 24th loss of the season making 22 saves on 25 shots. Lee (8-4-0) earned his eighth victory of the season making saves on 24-of-26 shots.
Manchester went 0-for-5 on the power play. Portland was 0-for-2 with the man advantage.
Notables: The Pirates won the inaugural VIP Cup 7-5…Monarchs left wing Colton Yellow Horn has five points (2-3=5) in his last five games…Monarchs goaltender Martin Jones has started 21 of the last 22 games.
The Monarchs return to the ice to take on the Providence Bruins at the Verizon Wireless Arena for their final match-up of the season on Saturday, April 6 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.