04/05/2013 10:00 PM
The Portland Pirates overcame the Manchester Monarchs to win the inaugural VIP Cup, presented by VIP Parts, Tires and Service, by defeating the Monarchs 4-2 on Friday night. The win gives Portland 15 points to the Monarchs’ 12 in the season series, clinching the VIP Cup and allowing the Pirates to remain in 5th place in the Eastern Conference.
Justin Feser, who signed an Amateur Tryout Contract on Tuesday, hit the ice for the first time in his professional career, and picked up a boarding call on his very first shift. After the Pirates killed the Feser penalty, Boris Valabik and Chris Huxley dropped the gloves with 10:37 left in the first, and the Monarchs carried the momentum. Just 26 seconds after the fight, Hunter Bishop put Manchester on the board on the Monarchs first shot of the game. The goal, which was reviewed after Mike Lee’s net came off its moorings, was Bishop’s second of the year.
The Pirates stormed back in the second. Brett Hextall tied the game off a Jordan Martinook centering pass with 16:58 left in the 2nd. Darian Dziurzynski also picked up an assist on Hextall’s 8th goal of the season. The game remained tied for 15 minutes, until Phil Lane got the go ahead tally for Portland, scoring on the rebound with 1:24 left in the second. Lane’s goal, his 9th of the year, was assisted by Jordan Szwarz and Mathieu Brodeur, and gave the Pirates a 2-1 advantage into the second intermission,
Manchester would tie the game with less than 5 minutes passed in the third. Jordan Weal got the equalizer for Manchester with 15:50 left in regulation. The Pirates came roaring back, with Darian Dziurzynski give the pirates the lead back with 13:18 left in regulation. Phil Lane took the doubt away and sealed a Pirates victory with his empty net tally, his second of the night, with just 1:08 remaining, and the Pirates would clinch the VIP Cup.
Portland improves to 38-25-3-2 on the year, eclipsing the 80 point plateau, with Mike Lee winning his 9th game of the year after stopping 24 of 26 shots. Portland remains in 5th in the Eastern Conference.
The Pirates get back to action Sunday afternoon when they host the Springfield Falcons in a potential first round playoff matchup at the Cumberland County Civic Center. Puck drop is set for 4 PM on Salty Pete’s Birthday, presented by the Portland Press Herald.
The game can be heard on 95.5 and 95.9 WPEI in the Portland area, 92.7 and 100.7 FM WOXO FM in the Lewiston/Auburn area, and online on portlandpiratesradio.com and AHL Live, with the pregame show starting with 3:40 with Jeff Mannix.
Tickets are still available by calling (207) 828-4665 ext. 350 or online at ticketmaster.com