MANCHESTER, NH – The Manchester Monarchs took a 4-0 loss against Portland Pirates in the fourth game in the VIP Cup rivalry series at the Verizon Wireless Arena Sunday afternoon.
Manchester (10-8-2-1) is tied with the St. John’s IceCaps (11-10-0-1) for second place in the Atlantic Division with 23 points each. Portland (10-9-1-1) ranks fourth in the Division with 22 points.
“We did play very well for a long stretch,” said Monarchs Head Coach Mark Morris. “They caught us with a long pass in the second period. We were poaching a little bit and they got a breakaway and scored. They took advantage of that. We just spend too much time in the penalty box and obviously that changed the whole course of the game. We played hard. We didn’t get the right bounces and when we had all the opportunities to score the power play was ineffective. I still like our energy and the competition level.”
The Pirates opened the scoring with a goal by left wing Rob Klinkhammer at 10:07 in the second period. The play started as Portland goaltender Mark Visentin went behind the net and sent the puck to the left side where defenseman Brandon Gormley received the pass. Gormley then sent a long indirect pass, off the boards, from the Pirate’s zone, to Klinkhammer at the right point in Manchester’s zone. A Monarchs defenseman came up to play the puck but Klinkhammer beat him and wristed the puck high on the stick side of Monarchs netminder Martin Jones.
The Pirates opened a 2-0 lead at 8:07 of the third period with a second goal by Klinkhammer. Defensemen Michael Stone took a slap shot from the right point. Jones made the save with the left pad and the deflecting puck went toward the end boards. Center Alexandre Bolduc grabbed the loose puck and threw a shot off of Jones from behind the net with the puck trickling free in front of the cage. Klinkhammer poked the puck in for his seventh goal of the season.
Center Ethan Werek grabbed the first of two empty net goals for Portland at 18:29 of the third period. Bolduc intercepted a Monarchs pass in the neutral zone on Portland’s blueline. Bolduc controlled the puck and then fed it to Werek on the left wing side of the neutral zone. Werek shot the puck in to the empty net for his fourth goal of the season.
With less than a second left in the third period, Portland left wing Darian Dziurzynski added the team’s second empty net goal to make the final score 4-0. Dziurzynski grabbed a loose puck and shot it in from the neutral zone in front of the scorer’s table for his first professional goal.
Jones (7-9-1) took his ninth loss of the season stopping 19-of-21 shots. Pirates goaltender Chad Johnson (7-5-0) made 11 saves on 11 shots in the first period before leaving the game. Visentin (3-5-1) recorded his third victory of the season making 21 saves on 21 shots.
Manchester went 0-for-5 on the power play. Portland was 1-for-7 with the man advantage.
Notables: The Monarchs are 2-1-1-0 against the Pirates this season…The Monarchs power play is 0-for-14 in their last four games…Right wing Tyler Toffoli had a six-game point streak (6-1=7) end this afternoon…Left wing Tanner Pearson also saw his four-game points streak (1-3=4) end in the game.
The Monarchs travel to the Dunkin’ Donuts Center to take on the Providence Bruins at 7:05 p.m. on Friday, December 7. Catch all the play-by-play action of Monarchs hockey with Ken Cail on the Monarchs Radio Network WGIR 610 AM, WGIRAM.com and at www.manchestermonarchs.com, presented by Manchester-Boston Regional Airport.