PORTLAND - The Portland Pirates snapped a three game losing streak, defeating the Manchester Monarchs 6-3 at the Cumberland County Civic Center Friday night. The win gives the Pirates a 13-12 point advantage in the VIP Cup series, presented by VIP Parts, Tires & Service, and forces a decisive game 12 in Manchester on April 5th. The Pirates used three goals in the third period, four total unanswered goals, to seal the victory.
The Pirates wasted little time getting on the board. Chris Brown tipped home a Chris Summers shot from the point, beating Monarchs' starter Martin Jones 36 seconds into the game for his team leading 25th goal of the season. Portland would strike again just1:40 later, this time on the power play. Andy Miele started a beautiful passing play, making a drop pass to Brandon Gormley who found Chris Conner for the score. Conner's 13th goal of the year doubled the Pirates lead. However, the Monarchs would storm back. After a high sticking call to Hunter Bishop at 2:43, the Pirates found themselves back on the power play. Manchester would strike on the penalty kill, with Tanner Pearson scoring the shorthanded goal, the 16th allowed by the Pirates this season. Vey returned the favor later to Pearson, as Pearson ripped a shot upstairs on Visentin from the top of the left circle with Vey picking up an assist. The teams would go to the locker room tied at two.
Vey was at it again early in the second period, with his shot from the top of the right circle taking a deflection off Summers and sailing over the shoulder of Visentin to give the Monarchs the lead at 1:26. Evan Brophey responded for the Pirates, taking a pass from Brendan Shinnimin and slipping the puck under Jones at 8:07. Jordan Martinook gave the Pirates a chance to take the lead late in the period, using his speed to draw a hooking penalty on Vincent LoVerde, but the Pirates were unable to capitalize on the chance.
The Pirates would reclaim the lead 2:51 into the third period. Conner's pass from behind the net found Nick Johnson in front, who lifted the puck over Jones for his second of the season and a 4-3 Pirates lead. The Monarch's hopes of a comeback would be dashed by three penalties in less than two minutes. Portland struck during the five on three power play, with Shinnimin burying a rebound to give the Pirates a 5-3 lead at 15:01. Brophey finished the scoring by adding an empty net goal for his second of the night and seventh of the season at 19:21.
The Pirates improve to 36-25-3-2 on the season, with Mark Visentin stopping 42 shots to improve to 13-11-1-2. The Monarchs fall to 31-29-3-4, while Martin Jones drops to 21-23-4-4. With the win, Portland picks up a point on Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, who fell 3-2 against the Providence Bruins, to stay firmly in the 5th spot in the Eastern Conference.
The Pirates get back to action tomorrow night, when they face the Albany Devils in their lone trip to the Times Union Center this season.