AHL: Monarchs falter in third, lose to Pirates

One quick note before getting to Thursday’s report from the ice. Prior to the game, the Monarchs announced the release of goaltender Aaron Dell, while recalling Mathias Niederberger from the Ontario Reign (ECHL). Also, Linden Vey was a healthy scratch for Thursday’s game, see additional article on MayorsManor for more information.

Game report provided by the Monarchs, LA Kings’ AHL affiliate…

MANCHESTER, NH – Goaltender Louis Domingue stopped 34-of-35 shots to shut down the Manchester Monarchs in route to a 4-1 Portland Pirates VIP Cup victory at the Verizon Wireless Arena on Thursday evening.

Manchester (21-6-1-4) leads the Atlantic Division with 47 points.  Portland (12-10-1-4) is ranked fourth in the Atlantic Division with 29 points.

“I thought we dominated for long periods of time,” said Monarchs Head Coach Mark Morris.  “We had one stint, I think we were in their zone for three or four minutes.  A lot of credit goes to their goalie, he came up huge.  We didn’t get the saves we needed when we weren’t 100%.  The bad penalties we took certainly took a lot of juice out of our step and nullified what a great effort it was early on in the game.

Left wing Lucas Lessio scored his second power play goal of the night at 12:42 of the third to give the Pirates a 2-1 lead.  Domingue started the rush on a pass to defenseman Randy Jones.  The defenseman then fired a two-line pass to Lessio who got behind the defense.  Lessio skated in all alone on Berube and scored glove side.

Forward Hunter Bishop scored the opening goal of the game at 3:31 of the first period.  Right wing A.J. Gale took the initial pass from left wing Maxim Kitsyn into the corner where he shoveled a pass behind the net to Bishop.  The forward grabbed control of the puck and threw it toward the crease for a screening Kitsyn.  The puck hit off a Portland defender’s skate and beat the Domingue to put the Monarchs on top early.  The goal was Hunter’s second tally of the season.

Portland answered back at 17:22 of the first period with a power play goal from Lessio to tie the game at one apiece.  Monarchs left wing Andy Andreoff fell down battling for the puck near the blueline in the defensive zone.  Jones pushed the puck to the lower right circle near the boards.  Lessio took possession of the puck as he skated toward net.  Lessio deked right, then put a backhander on net that deflected off of Monarchs goaltender J.F. Berube to tie the game.

Center Brendan Shinnimin added an insurance goal at 14:46 of the third to give the Pirates the 3-1 lead.  Shinnimin skated in from the left wing and backhanded a shot over Berube.  Lessio picked up his third point of the night with an assist.

Center Andy Miele sealed the victory for Portland with an empty net goal at 18:27 of the third period.

Berube (12-5-2) took his fifth loss of the season stopping 16-of-19 shots.  Domingue (3-0-1) earned his third win of the season stopping 34-of-35 shots.

Manchester was 0-for-1 on the power play.  Portland went 2-for-4 with the man advantage.

Notables:  The Monarchs have only lost two games in regulation on home ice this season…Manchester was held to one goal, the lowest they have scored on home ice this season…The Monarchs lead the Pirates in the VIP Cup series, 3-2…Goaltender J.F. Berube is one game away from tying a franchise record for consecutive games played; he currently has 18 consecutive starts.

The Monarchs host the St. John’s IceCaps at the Verizon Wireless Arena at 7:00 p.m. on Saturday, December 28.

Line combinations and defensive pairings on Thursday were as follows:

FORWARDS

Nick Deslauriers – Jordan Weal – Brandon Kozun

Brian O’Neill – Nick Shore – Tanner Pearson

Andy Andreoff – Ian O’Connor – Scott Sabourin

Hunter Bishop – AJ Gale – Max Kitsyn

DEFENSEMAN

Derek Forbort – Andrew Campbell

Jeff Schultz – Colin Miller

Andrew Bodnarchuk – Vincent LoVerde

GOALTENDERS

JF Berube

Mathias Niederberger

Follow @AndyTonge1 for more Monarchs news and notes.

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