PORTLAND, ME ? Goaltender Jhonas Enroth stopped all 23 shots as the Manchester Monarchs were blanked by the Portland Pirates, 4-0, in front of 2,997 fans at the Cumberland County Civic Center on Sunday evening.
"I guess looking at the big picture, we have to be pleased with the overall performance of our guys throughout the recent stretch of the season but things weren't going our way tonight," said Monarchs Head Coach Mark Morris. "Our energy was low and we didn't get a whole lot of breaks. With the injury bug, it put our backs against the wall. Our guys competed hard but there wasn't much to give."
Manchester (9-8-0-3) is tied for fourth place in the Atlantic Division with 21 points. Portland (14-7-1-0) is ranked first in the Atlantic Division with 29 points.
Left wing Derek Whitmore put the Pirates on the board at 2:51 of the first period for the early 1-0 lead. Left wing Aaron Slattengren collected the puck on the half wall along the right wing. Slattengren put the puck on Whitmore's stick for the redirection in front of Monarchs goaltender Jonathan Bernier for the first goal of the game.
Center Colton Fretter doubled the Pirates lead at 9:43 of the second frame with his third tally of the season. Defenseman Michael Funk fed the puck to Slattengren along the right wing boards. Slattengren fired a shot on net that Bernier saved but the puck popped free behind him in the crease. With several Monarchs and Pirates players in the crease, Fretter was able to get his stick on the puck for the goal.
Portland added to the scoreboard with center Nathan Gerbe's 13th goal of the season at 11:55 of the final stanza. Center Tyler Bouck sprung center Felix Schutz and Gerbe for a 2-on-1 breakaway. With only defenseman Viatcheslave Voynov back, Schutz carried the puck into the Monarchs zone with Gerbe skating on his left side. Schutz passed the puck and Gerbe blasted the one-timer that beat Bernier high on his blocker side for a 3-0 advantage.
Fretter finished off the Monarchs with his fourth goal of the season and second tally of the game at 16:58 of the third period. As Slattengren was being pushed into the right side of the Monarchs net, he passed the puck to Fretter in the slot for the quick one-timer that found the back of the net. Center Marek Zagrapan assisted on the goal that brought the game to 4-0.
The Monarchs lost left wing Matt Moulson and center Justin Azevedo to injury during Sunday's game.
Bernier (5-3-2) took the loss with 22 saves on 26 shots. Enroth (7-2-1) earned his sixth win and second shutout of the season with 23 saves.
Manchester went 0-for-3 on the power play. Portland was 0-for-7 with the man advantage.