Manchester (31-17-1-5, 68 points) received their 17th loss of the season and hold on to first place in the Atlantic Division with 68 points. Portland (31-15-4-1, 67 points) trails the Monarchs by one point to take second place in the Atlantic Division with 67 points.
“We need to stretch the net or get soccer nets,” joked Monarchs Head Coach Mark Morris following Friday night’s defeat. “We have trouble putting it in the net. Credit (goaltender Jhonas) Enroth with a strong effort.”
“From the look of the replays, we had a yawning net – that would have been a huge momentum shift,” said Morris in reference to the goal that was waved off during the middle of the third period. “We ultimately worked hard, but we just weren’t smart about things.
“It’s a disheartening loss, but we’ve got a lot of hockey to play.”
Defenseman T.J.Brennan scored his seventh goal of the season, the game-winning goal, at 16:40 of the second period. Right wing Corey Tropp passed the puck from the left circle dasher board to defenseman Marc-Andre Gragani, positioned near the right point. Gragani dangled the puck and then wristed a shot on goal. The puck caught the stick of a Monarchs defenseman and deflected over to Brennan in the slot who flipped a backhanded shot on goal, beating Monarchs goaltender Martin Jones
Right wing Mark Mancari scored his 29th goal of the season at 8:24 of the first period. From within the zone, right wing Mark Parrish shuffled the puck back to the blueline to Brennan. Collecting the feed, Brennan sent a backhanded saucer pass forward, splitting between two Monarchs at the Manchester blueline. An accelerating Mancari rushed into the offensive zone on a breakaway. The right wing deked to his right and then backhanded the puck past Jones for the first goal of the game for either side.
Center Jordan Nolan
scored his fourth goal of the season at 11:10 of the second period, tying the game at one apiece. With play firmly entrenched in the Pirates zone, defenseman Patrick Mullen
shot the puck from the point where it was tipped by Nolan, who was camped out in the slot. Nolan deflected the shot over Portland goaltender Jhonas Enroth for the game-tying goal in the second period.
Center Luke Adam scored Portland’s third goal of the night, his 13th of the season, at 11:43 of the third period. Brennan sent a pass out of the Portland defensive zone off of the side boards. Adam came streaking through the neutral zone and received the puck while crossing the center red line. With a full head of steam, Adam beat center Marc-Andre Cliche
to the net from the right side. Adam took a wrist shot in front of the net that deflected off of a Monarchs defender, sneaking past Jones’ left shoulder.
Jones (18-6-1) suffered his sixth loss of the season, stopping 20-of-23 shots on goal. Enroth (17-14-1) collected his 17th win of the season, halting 35-of-36 shots on goal.
Manchester was 1-for-9 on the power play. Portland was 1-for-3 with the man advantage.
Manchester’s consecutive games collecting a point streak was snapped at seven games, their longest of the season, with the loss against Portland…The Monarchs have only allowed three power play goals in their last 23 penalty kill situations...Manchester has lost two consecutive games on home ice…Center Jordan Nolan
scored his first goal since December 29 in Adirondack…