Weal Kicks Tires In VIP Cup Victory
MANCHESTER, NH – Center Jordan Weal tallied two goals to lead the Manchester Monarchs to victory over the Portland Pirates, 5-2, in game seven of the VIP Cup, presented by VIP Parts, Tires & Service, at the Verizon Wireless Arena on Sunday afternoon. The Monarchs lead the rivalry series 4-3.
Manchester (20-17-2-2) ranks second in the Atlantic Division with 44 points. Portland (24-15-1-1) ranks first in the Atlantic Division with 50 points.
“Portland is a great team and I thought we came ready to play,” said Monarchs Head Coach Mark Morris. “The guys looked prepared and my message to the team before the game was to play with a lot of detail in our game and make sure we have a lot of structure. A lot of the goals we scored were because we executed what we practiced. It’s nice to see us get a lead and guide the ship in the way it’s supposed to happen. Although we had a couple of glitches, I thought that it was a pretty solid effort by us.”
The Monarchs took their first lead of the game at 16:39 of the second period with a goal by left wing Marc-Andre Cliche to make the score 3-2. Center Andy Andreoff gained the Pirates zone along the left boards. Andreoff skated to the left wing half wall before passing the puck to right wing Brian O’Neill at the bottom of the left wing face-off circle. O’Neill quickly backhanded a pass to Cliche on the back door to knock in the eventual game-winning goal and his seventh tally of the season.
The Pirates opened the scoring at 3:26 of the first period with a goal by left wing Darien Dziurzynski. Right wing Phil Lane took a wrist shot at the right wing half wall that was deflected by Dziurzyski in front of the net that snuck past Monarchs goaltender Martin Jones. Dziurzyski’s fourth goal of the season was also assisted by defenseman Brandon Gormley.
Weal tied the game at 1-1 with a power play goal at 12:53 in the opening period. Right wing Brandon Kozun gained the Pirates zone along the right wing boards before passing the puck to Weal who was entering the zone at the right point. Weal then skated between two Pirates defensemen and wristed the puck just over Pirates goaltender Chad Johnson’s right pad.
The Pirates regained their lead at 2-1 with a power play goal by Gormley at 15:07 of the first period. Center Ethan Werek played the puck from the end boards out to Gormley at the top of the left wing face-off circle. Gormley took a slap shot that beat Jones low to the glove side.
The Monarchs rebounded and tied the game at 2-2 with a goal by Andreoff at 14:22 of the second period. O’Neill passed the puck out from behind the net to Andreoff at the left post. Andreoff took the puck from his forehand, crossed over to his backhand and netted his sixth goal of the season just inside the right post.
Weal added his second goal of the night to put the Monarchs up 4-2 at 9:18 of the third period. Weal stripped the puck off a Pirates defender at the top of the left wing circle putting Weal one-on-one against Johnson. Weal fired the puck five-hole on Johnson for his sixth goal of the season.
The Monarchs added to their lead with a goal by left wing David Meckler at 10:08 in the third period making the score 5-2. Center Andrei Loktionov sent a pass to defenseman David Kolomatis at the center point. Kolomatis took a slap shot producing a rebound in front of the net. Meckler grabbed the rebound and shot a backhander that trickled into the back of the net.
Jones (10-13-2) earned his 10th victory of the season stopping 29-of-31 shots. Johnson (14-8-0) took his eighth loss of the season making 25 saves on 30 shots.
Manchester went 1-for-4 on the power play. Portland was 1-for-6 with the man advantage.
Notables: The Monarchs lead the Pirates, 4-3, in the VIP Cup series…Monarchs center Jordan Weal has five goals in his last seven games…Monarchs left wing David Meckler’s goal was his 75th career Monarchs goal ranking second all-time in franchise history.
The Monarchs host the Providence Bruins at the Verizon Wireless Arena at 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday, January 23. 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-Bosotn Regional Airport.