AHL: Monarchs show character, Pearson helps in shootout win

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

LEWISTON, ME – The Manchester Monarchs came from being down two goals to break their two-game losing streak and beat the Portland Pirates, 4-3, in a shootout in the third VIP Cup match-up of the season at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee on Saturday night.

Manchester (16-5-1-3) leads the Atlantic Division with 36 points.  Portland (7-9-1-3) ranks fifth in the Atlantic Division with 18 points.

 “Tonight was a character builder,” said Head Coach Mark Morris.  “We battled hard after giving up a few goals early.  The guys dug in and willed their way to a shootout win.  We definitely earned this one.  It was a good bounce back performance after last night’s third period debacle.  I’m proud of the resilience we showed in a game that looked hopeless.”

Monarchs netminder J.F. Berube halted four-of-five shootout snipers as center Andy Miele was the lone Pirates shooter to find the back of the net.  Right wing Zach O’Brien and left wing Tanner Pearson scored on Pirates netminder Mark Visentin in the shootout.

Following a 45 minute delay due to ice repairs, right wing Tobias Rieder scored his seventh goal of the season at 7:41 of the first period to give the Pirates a 1-0 lead.  Right wing Gilbert Brule carried the puck into the Monarchs zone along the right wing before sending a short pass to Rieder who was streaking into the zone.  Rieder carried the puck through the right face-off circle before he cut toward the net and flipped the puck into the top left corner for his seventh tally of the season.  Center Brendan Shinnimin assisted on the first goal of the game.

Left wing Brandon McMillan doubled the Pirates lead to 2-0 at 9:24 of the opening frame.  Right wing Brett Hextall sent the puck from the right wing half wall to behind the net where McMillan was stationed.  McMillan picked up the pass and skated around the left side of the net, turned, and roofed the puck past Berube.  Left wing Jordan Martinook assisted on McMillan’s fourth goal of the season.

Just 11 seconds later, O’Brien put the Monarchs on the scoreboard with his first American Hockey League goal.  The Monarchs dumped the puck deep in the Pirates zone.  Right wing Scott Sabourin picked up the puck in the right corner and fed a pass to forward Hunter Bishop along the end red line.  Bishop sent a short pass to O’Brien in the right face-off circle for a one-timer that beat Visentin at 9:35 of the opening period.

Rieder collected his second tally of the night at 12:50 of the second period.  Defenseman Chris Summers shoved the puck from the neutral zone to Brule who was skating into the Monarchs zone.  Brule carried the puck down the right wing and centered a pass to Rieder who was skating down the slot.  Rieder ripped a one-timer past Berube for this eighth goal of the season and the 3-1 advantage.

Defenseman Andrew Bodnarchuk scored his fourth goal of the season to bring the Monarchs to within one.  Sabourin collected the puck at the right point and sent a pass over to Bodnarchuk at the left point.  Bodnarchuk teed up the puck and fired a slap shot into the top right corner of the net.  Left wing Nick Deslauriers also assisted on the goal at 12:32 of the third period.

O’Brien tied the game, 3-3, at 17:17 of the third period.  Defenseman Vincent LoVerde carried the puck up the left wing and fired it deep into the Pirates zone.  The puck caromed off the endboards as Visentin went to play the puck.  O’Brien was on the left doorstep to score into the open net for his second goal of the game.  Defenseman Andrew Campbell also assisted on the tying goal.

Berube (7-4-1) earned his seventh win of the season stopping 22-of-25 shots.  Visentin (6-8-2) took his second shootout loss of the season making 33 saves on 36 shots.

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

Notables:  The game was delayed for 45 minutes due to the ice needing some repairs… Manchester is 4-3 in shootouts this season… The Monarchs lead the VIP Cup series 2-1-0-0… Right wing Zach O’Brien scored his first two American Hockey League goals… Pirates left wing Brandon McMillan and O’Brien scored just 11 seconds apart, the fastest two goals combined this season; two seconds longer than the all-time fastest two goals combined by both teams.

The Monarchs will host the Worcester Sharks at the Verizon Wireless Arena at 3:00 p.m. on Sunday, December 8.

Follow @AndyTonge1 for more Monarchs news and notes…

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