MANCHESTER, NH – Left wing Scott Parse
one-timed the biscuit into the basket with less than four minutes in the game to lift the Manchester Monarchs over the Portland Pirates, 3-2, in front of 5,605 fans at the Verizon Wireless Arena on Saturday night.
Manchester (14-14-0-4, 32 points) is ranked fifth in the Atlantic Division. Portland (17-10-1-2, 37 points) is in second place in the Atlantic Division.
"After the holidays, we have come back with a good compete level and getting contributions from several different sources," said Monarchs Head Coach Mark Morris. "We had a good effort from (Brian) Boyle's line and it was the 2-on-1 rush that made the difference in the game."
Center Brian Boyle picked up the puck along the right wing boards in the neutral zone and carried it into the Pirates zone skating 2-on-1 with Parse. As Boyle neared the hash marks, he faked a snap shot on net and passed the puck over to Parse for the one-timer over goaltender Jhonas Enroth's blocker. Right wing Ryan Murphy picked up an assist on Parse's sixth goal of the season and the game winner.
Boyle put the Monarchs on the board 15 seconds into the second period with his third tally of the season. Murphy sent the puck to defenseman Joe Piskula at the left point. Piskula blasted a slap shot on Enroth and the rebound bounced free into the slot. Boyle side-stepped a defenseman and flipped a backhander over Enroth for the 1-0 lead.
Manchester doubled their lead at 5:20 of the middle frame with defenseman Alec Martinez's third goal of the season. Boyle fed the puck up the right wing boards to Martinez at the left point. Pirates defenseman Paul Baier lost his stick along the boards battling with Boyle so he dove to try to stop Martinez at the point. The Monarchs defenseman side-stepped Baier and fed the puck over to center Dusty Collins in the right face-off circle. Collins returned the pass to Martinez who pinched in from the point. In the left face-off circle, Martinez ripped a one-timer into the left side of the net for a 2-0 advantage.
With three Monarchs players sitting in the penalty box, the Pirates put a power play goal on the board at 8:15 of the second stanza. Skating on a 5-on-3 power play, Portland cycled the puck from center Felix Schutz to defenseman Marc-Andre Gragnani at the right point. Gragnani then found right wing Mark Mancari for a one-timer at the left point that beat Monarchs goaltender Jonathan Bernier on the glove-side to cut Manchester's lead in half. The Pirates first goal of the night was Mancari's 12th tally of the season.
The Pirates evened the game at 2-2 at the 5:08 mark of the final period. Center Marek Zagrapan picked up the puck along the left wing boards and carried it into the Monarchs zone. Zagrapan found Mancari skating into the right face-off circle. On a give-and-go play, Mancari returned the biscuit to Zagrapan on the left corner of the slot for the quick one-timer that beat Bernier for his seventh tally of the season.
"We had timely scoring tonight and good defensive play," said Morris.
Bernier (8-8-2) earned his eighth win of the season stopping 27-of-29 shots. Enroth (10-5-2) took his fifth loss of the season with 29 saves.
Manchester went 0-for-4 on the power play. Portland was 1-for-5 with the man advantage.