PORTLAND, ME – Goaltender Jhonas Enroth collected his fifth shutout of the season by stopping all 29 shots he faced as the Manchester Monarchs were blanked by the Portland Pirates, 4-0, at the Cumberland County Civic Center on Friday night.
Manchester (34-24-3-5) is tied for third place in the Atlantic Division with 76 points. Portland (36-21-5-3) is ranked second in the Atlantic Division with 80 points.
“Another sluggish start by giving up 17 shots in the first period put us back on our heels,” said Monarchs Head Coach Mark Morris. “Our main focus has been the need for more urgency and keeping our game simple.
“We played a strong second period but we couldn’t finish around the net. Generating offense, more disciplined positional play and sustaining pressure will be our emphasis as we move forward. The puck is not our friend lately and good chemistry has been elusive. We hope to turn this around soon. Our youth and inexperience is glaring. It’s time to step it up and ramp up our compete level.”
Left wing Brad Larsen scored the first of four unanswered goals for the Pirates at 18:29 of the opening frame. Skating on the power play, center Tyler Ennis dished the puck from the right face-off circle to left wing Derek Whitmore along the right wing end line. Whitmore drew the Monarchs defense to him and then passed the puck to a wide open Larsen in the slot for the one-timer and his 10th goal of the season.
Left wing Jeff Cowan began the second period just as the Pirates finished the first, with a goal. Cowan picked up the puck in the neutral zone and skated in on Monarchs goaltender Jeff Zatkoff
all alone. From the top of the left wing face-off circle, Cowan sniped a shot into the top right corner of the net, beating Zatkoff on his glove side, for his 20th goal of the season at the 23-mark of the middle stanza.
Portland picked up their second power play goal of the game at 3:21 of the second period when center Paul Byron tallied his ninth goal of the season. Defenseman T.J. Brennan shot the puck from the right point and Byron was on the right doorstep to flip in the rebound to give the Pirates a 3-0 advantage.
Ennis picked up his 20th goal of the season with less than a minute remaining in the second period. The Pirates won the face-off deep in their zone. Streaking through the neutral zone, left wing Philip Gogulla backhanded the puck to Ennis along the Monarchs blueline. On a breakaway, Ennis skated in alone on Zatkoff and ripped a shot five-hole on the netminder for a 4-0 lead. Larsen also picked up an assist on the Pirates third power play goal of the game.
Zatkoff (8-9-0) took his ninth loss of the season with 28 saves on 32 shots. Enroth (28-18-1) earned his fifth shutout of the season stopping all 29 shots he faced in the game.
Manchester went 0-for-3 on the power play. Portland was 3-for-7 with the man advantage.
Notables: The Monarchs have lost their third consecutive game, tying their longest losing streak of the season at three games…Manchester has been shutout five times this season, 34 shutouts all-time and twice by netminder Jhonas Enroth…Goaltender Jeff Zatkoff
has lost his last six consecutive start between the pipes; his last win came on January 9, 2010.