02/02/2014 3:17 PM
Manchester leads VIP Cup Series 5-2
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Lewiston, ME— The Manchester Monarchs took a 5-2 lead in the VIP Cup Series, presented by VIP Tires & Service, with a 7-4 win over the Portland Pirates Sunday afternoon at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee.
The Monarchs fought back from a three-goal deficit to score six unanswered goals and stun the Pirates for their third loss in a three-in-three at home. Zach O’Brien had two of the Manchester goals and Jean-Francois Berube, in relief of Mathias Niederberger, made 17 saves on 18 shots to earn the win.
For the second time in three games, the Pirates jumped out to an early lead, scoring just 1:25 into the first period. Chris Brown notched his ninth goal of the year on a one-timer from just above the hash marks after Andy Miele found him patiently waiting. The Pirates extended their lead at 14:19 of the first on a nice play from the Lane-McMillan-Dziurzynski line. Phil Lane started the breakout with a feed to McMillan who chipped the puck deep into the Manchester end from the neutral zone. Dziurzynski raced in after the loose puck, feeding a behind the back pass right to the stick of McMillan who beat Niederberger.
The Monarchs cut the lead to 2-1 shortly after with Sean Backman scoring on Domingue, but Miele recaptured the two-goal lead when he scored on the power play from the top of the left circle with traffic in front of Niederberger.
In the second, Tobias Rieder made it 4-1 Pirates with the team’s second power play goal of the game. After Yip received the puck, he threw a pass into the middle to Daine Todd who left a short drop pass to Miele, who in turn fed Rieder on the doorstep for an easy tap-in.
But the tides turned and the Monarchs took control from there, scoring the games’ final six goals. Tanner Pearson scored on the power play at 10:55 of the second and Ian O’Connor scored at 16:23 to cut the Pirates lead to one.
In the third, Colin Miller, O’Brien and Hunter Bishop scored within the first six minutes of the period to take the 6-4 lead with O’Brien scoring the final goal at 12:01, sealing the victory for the Monarchs. The win gives Manchester a 5-2 advantage in the VIP Cup Series, presented by VIP Tires & Service. For more information about the VIP Cup, or to vote for the VIP Player of the Series, visit www.vip-cup.com.
A bright spot for the Pirates was the play of Any Miele, who continued to ascend the Pirates’ career record books. Miele’s first assist gave him sole possession of 12th all-time in career points passing former Pirates captain Graham Mink. Miele’s goal gives him 54 for his career, one behind former Pirate and current Hershey Bears forward Derek Whitmore for 14th all-time in Pirates history. With his 3 point night, Miele now sits four points behind Marc-Andre Gragnani for 11th in career points with 150.
The Pirates will open a 4 game road trip, one of the season’s longest, at Binghamton on Wednesday night. Puck drop is set for 7:05 PM and the game can be heard on the Pirates flagship stations WPEI 95.5/95.9 FM as well as WEZR AM 1240 in the Lewiston/Auburn area and WTME AM 780/1450 in Oxford County. The game can also be heard online at portlandpirates.com by clicking “Listen Live” and can be seen live on AHL Live atahllive.com. The pregame show starts at 6:45 with Jeff Mannix. Follow all the action on the Pirates official Facebook page and Twitter account (@PortlandPirates) with the hashtag #PiratesAway.