Game report provided by the Monarchs, LA Kings’ AHL affiliate…
LEWISTON, ME – Portland Pirates’ right wing Gilbert Brule jump started the scoring and the Manchester Monarchs could not rebound as they dropped the second VIP Cup game, 4-1, at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee on Friday night. The Monarchs and Pirates are tied, 1-1, in the VIP Cup series.
Manchester (10-3-1-2) leads the Atlantic Division with 23 points. Portland (5-5-0-1) is fourth in the Atlantic Division with 11 points.
“Tonight’s effort was a downer,” said Monarchs Head Coach Mark Morris following the game. “A poor start put us in a hole early. The first shift set the tone for the game. I think we had four giveaways right off the bat. That’s not acceptable. I attribute the 4-1 loss to poor focus and lack of execution. Our team knows better. There were too many turnovers and too many blocked shots for my liking. Those things are a recipe for a losing effort. We gave up 16 shots in the first period, 16! That tells me we weren’t prepared to play. We got better as the game progressed but we took a couple bad penalties which negated the energy we were able to muster. JF Berube was pretty good and made several big stops but (Mark) Visentin was really sharp too. We were unable to take advantage of our breaks. Poor puck management and our compete level will need to improve so we can get back on track. Press the reset button and turn the page. Chalk this one up as a sloppy effort.”
Defenseman Randy Jones doubled the Pirates lead just over two minutes after the first goal of the game with his first tally of the season. Right wing Brett Hextall kept the puck in at the right point and found Jones in the left face-off circle. Jones snapped a shot that deflected off of Monarchs goaltender Jean-Francois Berube and then a couple bodies in front of the net before crossing the goal line. Right wing Kyle Hagel also earned an assist on the goal that brought the Pirates lead to 2-0.
Brule scored his fourth goal of the season at 7:04 of the opening frame for the first of three consecutive tallies by the Pirates. Center Brendan Shinnimin broke up a pass by the Monarchs in the neutral zone and sent the puck over to Brule at Manchester’s blueline. Brule broke in all alone on Berube and fired a shot into the top, right corner of the net for the 1-0 lead. Left wing Lucas Lessio also picked up an assist on the goal.
The Pirates picked up a power play tally at 9:27 of the second period to take a 3-0 lead. Right wing Chris Brown sent the puck over to defenseman Brandon Gormley who fired a slap shot from the left point that Berube made the save on. Right wing Tobias Rieder was in the slot to tap the rebound into the back of the net for his fifth goal of the season.
Monarchs’ right wing Scott Sabourin ended Pirates netminder Mark Visentin’s shutout bid at 8:04 of the final period. Right wing Zach O’Brien stole the puck from the Pirates in Portland’s zone and broke in on Visentin with Sabourin. O’Brien pushed the puck up the ice to Sabourin who wristed a shot past Visentin’s glove for his second goal of the season.
The Pirates finished off the Monarchs with a goal off the stick of defenseman Chris Summers at 15:02 of the final frame. Center Tim Kennedy left the puck along the left wing boards for center Andy Miele who picked up the pass and carried it into the left corner of the Monarchs zone. Miele found Summers open at the left point. The defenseman rifled a slap shot into the back of the net for his first goal of the season.
Berube (1-2-0) took his second loss of the season stopping 30-of-34 shots. Visentin (6-3-1) earned his sixth win of the season making 24 saves on 25 shots.
Manchester went 0-for-6 on the power play. Portland went 1-for-3 with the man advantage.
Notables: Manchester is 5-2-0-0 in their last seven games…The Monarchs and Pirates are tied 1-1 in the VIP Cup series…Right wing Zach O’Brien collected his first American Hockey League point, an assist…Right wing Scott Sabourin picked up his second professional goal.
The Monarchs host the Norfolk Admirals for Mullets In Movember at the Verizon Wireless Arena at 7:00 p.m. on Saturday, November 16.
Follow @AndyTonge1 for more Monarchs news and notes…