MANCHESTER – The Portland Pirates (10-10-1-4) lost to the Manchester Monarchs (20-5-1-4), the best team in the AHL with a total of 45 points, in an ugly 6-2 defeat at the Verizon Wireless Arena Friday night. This was the fourth game in the VIP Cup series, presented by VIP Parts & Service, with Manchester now up 3-1 against Portland. Mark Visentin began in goal for Portland, while Jean-Francois Berube began for Manchester.
The first period yielded four goals for the Monarchs and one for the Pirates, rendering a comeback in the next two periods for the Pirates difficult, but not yet impossible. The first goal of the game, a power play goal, went to Nick Shore of the Monarchs, and was assisted by Brandon Kozun and Andy Andreoff at 4:36. Right-winger Brian O’Neill of Manchester scored the next two goals, the first at 10:55, and assisted by Nick Shore and Andy Andreoff, and the second scored at 17:21, assisted by Nick Shore. The Pirates were able to get on the board in the last minute of the first period with a goal from Jordan Martinook at 19:04, which was assisted by Brandon McMillan and Randy Jones, but the Monarchs responded with their fourth goal of the period with a goal by Jordan Weal, assisted by Brian O’Neill and Jeff Schultz, with three seconds left. Five penalties were served throughout the period, three by Portland and two by Manchester, all two-minute minors.
The second period was fairly uneventful, and if there was a period for the Pirates to close the 4-1 gap, that would’ve been it. But, the Monarchs got the only goal of the period, and the only penalty as well. Manchester’s goal went to Andy Andreoff, and was assisted by Colin Miller and Brian O’Neill. Captain Andrew Campbell served the only penalty, a two-minute minor for holding. Louis Domingue relieved starting goaltender Mark Visentin for Portland.
Again, the Monarchs had the lead going into the third period, now up 5-1. Manchester’s final goal of the game was a power play goal scored at 1:42 by left-winger Tanner Pearson, his 11th of the season, and was assisted by Linden Vey and Ian O’Connor. The Pirates were able to get on the board one more time with a power play goal at 9:02, scored by Keven Veilleux, and assisted by Brandon Gormley and Daine Todd for a final score of 6-2. Nineteen penalties were called in the third period of play, including a mix of 2, 5, and 10-minute calls. Darian Dziurzynski of the Pirates earned himself nearly a half hour of box time (though not all served) with two 10-minute unsportsmanlike conducts and one five for fighting. All in all, it was a messy third period of play, with fights erupting and careless penalties being earned by both sides.
Stars of the Game
1. Brian O’Neill (MCH)
2. Nick Shore (MCH)
3. Andy Andreoff (MCH)
Tonight, the Pirates face the Bruins in Lewiston for their fourth and final meeting with Providence for the month of December. It’s also ugly sweater night, and the team is basically throwing tickets at anyone who shows up at a local Timmy’s in their sweater, or who brings a canned good to the game. Puck drops at 7:00p EST tonight, so if you feel like braving the predicted ice storm, you should head up to Lewiston for the division match-up.
Portland, Maine native. Bruins contributor for The Hockey Writers and Pittsburgh Penguins and AHL writer for Puck Rant. Follow me on Twitter and Instagram for more hockey-related posts! @smithwhitney