02/22/2014 9:28 AM
Pirates (19-22-2-7, 47 pts.) at Monarchs (34-14-2-6, 76 pts.), 7PM
Manchester leads VIP Cup Series, presented by VIP Tires & Service 5-2
Manchester, NH – The Portland Pirates head to Manchester to face the Monarchs Saturday night. Puck drops at 7 PM from the Verizon Wireless Arena as Portland and Manchester face of for the 8th game of the VIP Cup Series, presented by VIP Tires & Service. The Monarchs lead the VIP Cup Series 5 games to 2 and have a 10-5 point advantage.
The Pirates dropped a 7-5 decision to the St. John’s IceCaps on Tuesday in their last matchup. The Pirates allowed 6 goals in the second period, a franchise record, but rallied in the third period to close the gap. Lucas Lessio scored twice, with Brett Hextall, Andy Miele, and Rostislav Klesla scoring the Pirates goals. Louis Domingue was solid in relief of Mark Visentin, stopping all 12 shots he faced in the third period.
Manchester hosted the Springfield Falcons last night in a battle of the Eastern Conference’s top two teams, with the Falcons defeating the Monarchs 4-3 in a shootout. Martin Jones made 20 saves for the Monarchs while Nick Shore, Colin Miller, Jordan Weal scored for Manchester. The Monarchs’ loss snapped a 4 game win streak, but gives them points in their last 5 games.
This is game 8 of the VIP Cup Series, with Manchester holding a 5-2 advantage this season. The Pirates are 2-2-1-2 so far this season. The last game between the Pirates and Monarchs was February 2nd, a 7-4 win for Manchester. The Pirates jumped out to a 4-1 lead, but allowed 6 straight goals to the Monarchs in the second and third period. The Monarchs have won the last two VIP Cup meetings, presented by VIP Tires & Service and have a 10-5 advantage in head to head points. For more information about the VIP Cup, visit www.vip-cup.com.
Kyle Hagel will serve the second game of his suspension stemming from last Sunday’s game against Adirondack tonight but the Pirates lineup will get a boost from the return of David Rundblad, who was assigned to the Pirates yesterday on a conditioning assignment. Rundblad played 50 games for the Pirates last season, and was 8th in the AHL in scoring among defensemen with 39 points. He has appeared in 12 games with the Phoenix Coyotes this season, registering an assist.
KeyBank Key to the Game
VIP Treatment: The Pirates need a win tonight to prevent Manchester from taking an almost insurmountable lead in the VIP Cup Series, presented by VIP Tires & Service. However, the Pirates’ familiarity with the Monarchs will prove key in tonight’s game, especially goaltender Martin Jones. An early goal for the Pirates will give Portland an advantage that they can press for the remainder of the game.
Tonight’s game can be heard on the Pirates flagship stations WPEI 95.5/95.9 FM as well as WEZR FM 105.5/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 at ahllive.com. The pregame show starts at 6:40 with Jeff Mannix Follow all the action on the Pirates official Facebook page and Twitter account (@PortlandPirates) with the hashtag #PiratesAway.
Season tickets for the 2014-15 season are now on sale as the Pirates return to the Cumberland County Civic Center! Choose the 5 on the Fly, Salty’s 16, or Captain’s Full Plan, all with great benefits! For more information on season ticket plans, visit www.portlandpirates.com/tickets/season or call 207-828-4665.