12/14/2012 10:00 PM
A change of scenery didn’t stop the Portland Pirates, who won their third straight game with a 4-2 win over the Manchester Monarchs before a sold out crowd at the Androscoggin Bank Colisée Friday night. The win also gives the Pirates their third consecutive win over the Monarchs and a 3-2 VIP Cup Series lead, presented by VIP Parts, Tires, & Service.
Pirates’ starter Chad Johnson was be tested early by the Monarchs, who would jump out to a 6-1 advantage in shots in the first three minutes of the game. Dwight King started the scoring just 1:14 into the game, as the Manchester forward put home a rebound off a Brandon Kozun breakaway for his 4th goal of the year. The Pirates had a chance to respond at 3:25 of the first. Former Lewiston Maineiac captain, Marc-Andre Cliché was sent off for boarding. The Pirates were only able to test Manchester starter Martin Jones with one shot on the power play as the Monarchs would kill the penalty. However, The Pirates evened up the game at 8:12 of the first as David Rundblad snuck in from the point and sent a blast past Jones for his sixth goal of the season.
Brett Hextall got things rolling early on in the second frame. Hextall made a nifty play through the Monarchs defense, dropping off a pass to Oliver Ekman-Larsson, and scored offthe rebound after the Ekman-Larsson’s shot for his 4th of the year at 3:46 of the second. The Monarchs stifled the Pirates power play two more times before responding with a goal of their own. Tanner Pearson took a cross ice feed from Tyler Toffoli and slide the puck under Johnson for his fifth of the year at 18:47.
Oliver Ekman-Larsson once again got in on the scoring early in the third. Ekman-Larsson’s slap shot from the blue line found a way through the pads of Jones at 3:45 of the third, giving the Pirates a 3-2 lead. The Pirates failed to capitalize on an Andy Andreoff elbowing penalty at 10:20 of the third, which capped off an 0-5 night on the power play. Johnson stood tall for the remainder of regulation, however, keeping the Monarchs from tying the game. With Jones pulled, Chris Brown picked off a pass at the Manchester blue line and sent the puck into the empty net for his tenth of the season and a 4-2 Pirates win.
The Pirates move to 13-10-1-1 as a result of their third straight win, and have won three straight games in the VIP Cup Series. The Monarchs fall to 11-11-2-1. Chad Johnson picks up another win to improve to 9-5-0-2, while Martin Jones drops to 7-11-1-3. The VIP Cup Series will be continued from Manchester as these two teams clash a week from tomorrow at the Verizon Center. For more information on the VIP Cup series, or to vote for the player of the series, visit www.vip-cup.com
The Pirates get back to action tomorrow night at the XL Center in Hartford, Connecticut as they take on the Connecticut Whale for the second time this season. Puck drops at 7 PM, with the pregame show with Jeff Mannix starting at 6:40 on WPEI 95.5 and WPII 95.9 in the Portland area, 92.7FM and 100.7 FM WOXO FM in the Lewiston/Auburn area, and online on the WLOB radio player and AHL Live.