PORTLAND, ME ? Two tallies from center Brian Boyle, center Trevor Lewis
and right wing Teddy Purcell powered the Manchester Monarchs past the Portland Pirates 7-3 in front of 5,677 fans at the Cumberland County Civic Center on Saturday night.
Manchester (31-29-5-4) is in fifth place in the Atlantic Division with 71 points. Portland (42-23-2-4) is in third place in the Atlantic Division with 90 points.
Manchester responded quickly following Lewis' middle period goal with Boyle's second of the night and 26th goal of the season at 12:58 of the middle stanza. Bodies began to pile up around McKenna's crease when center Scott Parse tossed the puck in front of the net for an open man. Boyle, skating from the left corner, got his stick on the puck and managed to get off a backhand shot as defenseman Joe Callahan dragged him down from behind. As Boyle hit the ice, the puck hit the back of the net for a 4-3 Monarchs advantage. Right wing Lauri Tukonen also earned his second assist of the night.
With referee Mark Lemelin signaling a delayed penalty on the Pirates and Monarchs goaltender Daniel Taylor on the bench for the extra attacker, Lewis chipped in a rebound for his ninth tally of the season and the early lead for Manchester at 2:16 of the first period. Defenseman P.J. Atherton fed the puck behind the Pirates net for Purcell to control. Purcell found left wing Matt Moulson on the left face-off dot for the initial shot. Portland goaltender Mike McKenna made the blocker save and the rebound fell in the slot and to the feet of Lewis. The rookie gingerly flipped the puck into the net past McKenna on the stick side.
At 5:47 of the opening frame, Monarchs defenseman Drew Bagnall squared off with Pirates right wing Darryl Bootland. Following some clutching and grabbing, both Bagnall and Bootland got off some right hand jabs and the fisticuffs ended as Bagnall brought Bootland to his knees near the penalty boxes.
Boyle doubled the Monarchs lead at 13:20 of the first period with his 25th goal of the season. Tukonen broke up a pass from the Portland defense and carried the puck into the Pirates zone along the right wing. With two Pirates defending their zone, Tukonen sent a pass to Boyle on his left who snapped a wrist shot between the defenders to beat McKenna on his glove side for the 2-0 lead in the first period.
The Pirates cut the Monarchs lead in half with a power play goal by center Tyler Bouck at 18:15 of the first stanza. Portland shuffled the puck along the right wing between Bouck, center Geoff Platt and defenseman Jay Leach at the point. Bouck collected the puck in the right corner and tried to center a pass to the front of the net. The puck traveled off of Bouck's stick and bounced off of Monarchs defenseman Troy Milam's stick who was trying to deny the pass. The puck inadvertently popped off of Milam's stick and cruised into the corner of the Monarchs net above goaltender Daniel Taylor's left shoulder to bring the score to 2-1.
Not to head into the locker with one team ahead of the other, center Jason King evened the game at 2-2. On the power play with Monarchs defenseman Jeff Likens in the penalty box for interference, King skated in on a 2-on-1 with center Andrew Ebbett. King wristed a shot that snuck past Taylor's toes and barely snuck inside the right post for his 28 goal of the season at 19:57 of the first period. Defenseman Brian Salcido earned an assist on the late period goal.
Salcido started off the second period by giving the Pirates a 3-2 at 6:15 of the frame. Portland skated into the Monarchs zone with the puck on the stick of Salcido skating down the left wing. As Taylor skated in his crease from his left to right, he hit some bad ice and tripped over his own skates on the side of the crease leaving a wide open net for Salcido to pocket his 10th goal of the season. Center Stephen Dixon and King assisted on the first goal of the middle frame.
The Monarchs evened things up with a shorthanded goal by No. 11 (Lewis) at 11:11 of the second period. Following a breakaway attempt by Monarchs center Matt Ryan and was stopped by McKenna, Lewis collected the puck at neutral ice and fed a pass to center Marc-Andre Cliche who carried the puck into the Pirates zone. With the pressure on Cliche on the right wing, the rookie center passed the puck to Lewis who was wide open at the top of the left face-off circle. Lewis blasted a slap shot from the top of the circle that beat McKenna on the glove side for his second of the night to tie the game at 3-3.
Milam advanced the Monarchs lead to two goals with his 12th goal of the season at 3:19 of the third period. The Monarchs had the puck stolen from them in the Pirates zone but Milam deprived them of the clearing pass at the right point. Controlling the puck, Milam carried the puck to the center point and snapped a shot through the legs of the McKenna for an unassisted goal and the 5-3 Monarchs lead.
Purcell put the icing on the cake with his 19th tally of the season at 5:06 of the final frame by banking the puck off McKenna and into the net. Tukonen handed the puck off to Boyle as the Monarchs skated into the offensive zone. With both Tukonen and Purcell open as they skated down the center of the zone to the left of Boyle, the rookie centerman flipped a pass to Purcell on his far left. The first year right wing's initial shot barely missed the net on the left side but Purcell picked up his own rebound and backhanded a shot from behind the net that banked off McKenna for the Monarchs sixth goal of the night.
The Pirates pulled McKenna from between the pipes following Purcell's goal and replaced him with netminder Gerald Coleman for the remainder of the third period.
The No. 1 power play in the league went to work late in the third period as Purcell scored his second of the night and 20th goal of the season at 17:03 of the third frame. Traffic blocked the view of Coleman as bodies piled up in the crease. The puck squirted out into the crease for Purcell to rip into the top right corner of the net. Moulson and Boyle collected assists on the final goal of the game.
Taylor earned the victory with 22 saves. McKenna took the loss by stopping 18-of-24 shots before being replaced by Coleman in the third period who made five saves.
Manchester went 1-for-3 on the power play. Portland was 2-for-6 on the man advantage.