MANCHESTER, NH – Goaltender Jason LaBarbera stopped 32 shots for his fifth shutout of the season as the Manchester Monarchs topped the Portland Pirates 6-0 in front of 4,608 fans at the Cumberland County Civic Center on Wednesday night.
Manchester (24-12-6-1) is leading the Atlantic Division with 55 points. Portland (20-14-1-5) is in third place in the Atlantic Division with 46 points.
Center Matt Ryan started the scoring with his third goal of the season at 14:31 of the opening frame. Collecting the puck from defenseman Mike Weaver, Ryan blasted a slap shot from just inside the Pirates blueline that blazed past goaltender Dov Grumet-Morris. Defenseman Shay Stephenson also assisted on the first of six goals on the night.
Left wing Matt Moulson tallied a power play goal at 3:08 of the second period to give the Monarchs a 2-0 lead. Left wing Noah Clarke received a pass from defenseman T.J. Kemp and ripped a shot on net. Grumet-Morris made the pad save but Moulson was on the right doorstep to flip the rebound into the top right corner of the net.
Moulson collected his second power play goal of the night at 13:28 of the middle frame. Center Gabe Gauthier won the draw back to Clarke who redirected the pass over to Moulson for the one-timer and goal.
Center Patrick O'Sullivan collected his team leading 16th goal of the season at 1:56 of the final stanza. O'Sullivan stole the puck from Pirates center Ryan Shannon at center ice and raced into Portland's zone to beat Grumet-Morris for the unassisted tally.
The Monarchs continued registering power play goals with two more in the third period, both from right wing Tim Jackman. At 10:03, Kemp fired the puck through traffic from the center point along the blueline. Jackman was able to get wood on the shot and tipped the puck past Grumet-Morris for his eighth goal of the season. Stephenson earned his second assist of the night.
Just over two munites later, Jackman scored his ninth tally of the season at 12:14. Defenseman Joey Mormina put a shot on net that was saved by the netminder. Jackman was stationed in the crease and poked the rebound over the goal line to give the Monarchs a 6-0 lead.
Portland's goaltender Mike Wall replaced Grumet-Morris following Jackman's second goal and made two saves.
LaBarbera earned his fifth shutout of the season, 26th of his career, by stopping all 32 shots he faced. Grumet-Morris took the loss with nine saves on 15 shots.
Manchester went 4-for-8 on the power play to tie a franchise record. Portland was 0-for-4 with the man advantage.