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MONARCHS FALL TO PORTLAND, 5-3

by Staff Writer / Los Angeles Kings
MANCHESTER, NH – Three power play goals on nine attempts brought the Portland Pirates to a 5-3 win over the Manchester Monarchs in front of 5,806 fans at the Verizon Wireless Arena on Friday night.

Manchester (5-7-1-1) is ranked seventh in Atlantic Division with 12 points. Portland (8-5-1-1) is in fourth place in the Atlantic Division with 18 points.

Portland's lead was cemented as former Monarchs right wing Mike Hoffman earned his second goal of the season off of a one-timer. Skating through the left face-off circle, center Tyler Bouck added his second point of the night passing the biscuit through the crease for a waiting Hoffman to bring the score to 4-2 at 9:32 of the final frame and the eventual game-winner. Defenseman Brett Festerling also earned his second point of the night on the play with an assist on Hoffman's goal.

The first goal of the game came at the Monarchs expense, as Pirates center Geoff Platt knocked one home at 4:14 of the second period on the power play. A botched shot by defenseman Brian Salcido made its way through traffic, resting in front of the Monarchs net. Surrounded by Monarchs defenders, a shot by Portland center Andrew Ebbett went airborne, as Platt knocked the puck down and into the net.

Just over two minutes later, Manchester center Gabe Gauthier sent a wrist shot to the back of the net at 6:29 of the middle frame, also on a power play. Right wing Teddy Purcell shoveled a pass to Gauthier at the top of the right face-off circle. Gauthier was alone for the quick wrister that turned the game into a 1-1 tie. Right wing Lauri Tukonen also was credited with an assist, his fourth of the year.

An eventful third period got under way as Pirates center Jason King put one past Monarchs goaltender Dan Cloutier at the 4:08 mark of the final stanza. Ebbett carried the puck in on Cloutier and got a point-blank shot off but the netminder redirected the puck behind the net. Ebbett picked up his own rebound and set up King as he was streaking to the net for the one-timer. Salcido earned his second assist of the night on the goal that brought the game to 2-1 Portland.

Within minutes, Manchester again evened the score with a goal by defenseman Brian Boyle at 5:50 of the third period. With Boyle man-on-man with Pirates goaltender Mike McKenna, his first shot was deflected at point blank range. Gathering the puck, he pushed it to the back of the net before McKenna could recover. A shot by Manchester defenseman Peter Harrold at the center point set up Boyle's goal. Purcell also added an assist.

A back and forth battle continued at 7:17 of the third period when Festerling unloaded a laser following the face-off. The only assist on the play was awarded to Bouck who won the face-off. Bouck drew the puck back from the initial face-off to Festerling at the left point. Festerling blasted the shot past Cloutier and into the back of the net for the go-ahead goal and a 3-2 game.

Soon after Hoffman's second tally of the season to bring the game to 4-2, Gauthier added his second power play goal of the night. Gauthier's team leading seventh tally of the season soared just under Portland's crossbar to bring the Monarchs within one goal. The threesome of Gauthier, Purcell and Harrold cycled the puck at the points until the center found the shooting lane at the top of left face-off circle.

Following an altercation involving Cloutier, Monarchs goaltender Erik Ersberg played the remaining 4:42 between the pipes for Manchester.

The final goal of the game came at 18:47 of the third period when Portland defenseman Andy Schneider recorded his first goal of the year. Portland's fifth goal of the game came as Ebbett garnered his third assist of the night by passing the puck to the right side of Manchester's net. Schneider gathered the puck at the hash marks and with nothing between himself and the net, he planted his shot above Ersberg's shoulder. Right wing Brendan Segal also contributed an assist on the goal.

Cloutier took the loss stopping 27-of-31 shots he faced. Esrberg stopped 3-of-4 shots. McKenna earned the win with 32 saves.

Manchester went 3-for-7 on the power play. Portland was 3-for-9 with the man advantage.

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