MANCHESTER, NH – Goaltender Jani Hurme collected his first shutout of the season as the Portland Pirates blanked the Manchester Monarchs, 3-0, at the Verizon Wireless Arena in front of 6,703 fans on Wednesday night.
Manchester (39-27-2-4, 84 points) is in third place in the Atlantic Division. Portland (45-18-5-3, 98 points) sits atop the Atlantic Division.
Right wing Pierre Parenteau collected his 19th goal of the season at 17:56 of the first period. On the power play, the Pirates put pressure on Monarchs goaltender Barry Brust. Defenseman Kent Huskins shot the puck from the left face-off circle that Brust stopped, but the rebound bounced to center Geoff Peters positioned at the edge of the crease. Peters pounced on the rebound and Brust stopped the shot again. On the third rebound, Parenteau connected with the back of the net to give the Pirates a 1-0 edge.
Portland took a 2-0 lead when center J.B. Bittner chipped at a rebound from right wing Simon Ferguson's initial shot. Bittner's shot fluttered over a sprawling Brust and squeaked inside the far post for his third goal of the season.
Center Zenon Konopka scored his 16th goal of the season and the Pirates third goal of the game at 3:03 of the final stanza. Right wing Dustin Penner
scooped up the puck behind the Monarchs net and slipped a pass under Manchester defenseman Doug Nolan and onto the wide open stick of Konopka who soared a wrist shot blocker side on Brust. Center Ryan Shannon also assisted on the goal.
Brust (17-13-1) took the loss with 43 saves. Hurme (8-8-0) earned his eighth win of the season and first shutout by stopping all 28 shots that came his way.
Manchester went 0-for-6 on the power play. Portland was 1-for-8 with the man advantage.