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Portland Pirates Look to Even Playoff Series

by Dave Vest / Arizona Coyotes

GLENDALE – The Portland Pirates will attempt to even their first-round, best-of-five Calder Cup Playoffs series against the Manchester Monarchs on Thursday night on home ice.

Portland, which is in its fourth and final season as the Coyotes’ top affiliate in the American Hockey League, avoided elimination with a dramatic 3-2 win over Manchester in Game 3 on Sunday. Forward Francis Wathier scored the decisive goal with just three seconds left in regulation.

Photo by Portland Pirates

"When you win a game like that you obviously feel better about your team and the situation, so I think our mindset for Game 4 is the same as it was going into Sunday’s game," Pirates General Manager/Head Coach Ray Edwards said. "We’ve just got to find a way to win one game and go from there. They way we played Game 3 was conducive to having success in the series. Taking five penalties in the first period was not a recipe for success and we realize that has to change, but I thought we managed the rest of that game pretty well."

Like Game 3 on Sunday, Game 4 will be played in Portland on Thursday. Game 5, if necessary, would be played Saturday at Manchester, which is the top affiliate for the LA Kings.

The Pirates entered the series minus injured forwards Jordan Martinook and Justin Hodgman. Both will remain sidelined. Portland also will play Game 4 without forward/captain Alex Bolduc, who suffered a lower-body injury in Game 2 and missed Game 3.

Perlini

Those injuries have created opportunities for high-profile prospects Laurent Dauphin, Christian Dvorak and Brendan Perlini.

Dauphin and Dvorak – second-round draft picks in 2013 and 2014, respectively – have played in all three playoff games after reporting to Portland following their junior hockey seasons. Each has notched one assist in the series.

"It’s been fun to get them in there and watch them adjust to this level and the intensity of professional playoffs," Edwards said. "For the most part, they’ve done a good job. It’s been good to watch them have some success as young players competing against men."

Perlini, whom the Coyotes selected with the 12th overall pick in the 2014 Draft, has played in the last two games after his junior season ended. He has taken one shot on goal and is minus-2.

"The nice thing about Perlini is he feels that he can have more of an impact than he had in the first two games and he wants to have more of an impact. Those are things that you like to hear from young players," Edwards said.

Photo by Portland Pirates

The Pirates have notched seven goals in the series with each goal being scored by a different player. Forward Brendan Shinnimin, who played 12 games for the Coyotes this past season, is leading the Pirates with four points (one goal, three assists). Defenseman Philip Samuelsson, who played four games for the Coyotes this season, has three points (one goal, two assists) in the series.

Goalie Louis Domingue has stopped 62 of 67 shots in the first three games vs. Manchester; he relieved Mike McKenna in Games 1 and 2 and then started Game 3.

Edwards is hoping the Pirates can begin Game 4 with energy so they don’t have to chase the top-seeded Monarchs as they did in Games 1 and 2.

"We have to start well and get the game moving along," Edwards said. "We can’t spot this team two or three goals. We also have to be much more disciplined than we’ve been. Those are both big keys for us if we want to push this series to a fifth game."

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