MANCHESTER, NH – Center Gabe Gauthier, in dramatic fashion, scored the knockout blow in overtime to raise the Manchester Monarchs over the Portland Pirates, 3-2, in front of 6,012 fans at the Verizon Wireless Arena on Saturday night.
Manchester (3-3-1-1) is tied for 7th place in the Atlantic Division with eight points. Portland (4-4-1-0) is tied for 5th place in the Atlantic Division with nine points.
With two minutes and 37 seconds remaining on the clock in overtime and the Monarchs on the power play, Gauthier beat Portland's goaltender Jonas Hiller stick side for the 3-2 overtime win. Defenseman Peter Harrold moved the puck up the ice to defenseman Brian Boyle while Gauthier swooped into the zone with the man advantage. Boyle fed the puck to Gauthier for the blistering slap shot that ended a physical game. The game-winning tally was his fourth goal of the year and 12th point in eight games.
The Monarchs struck first with a power play goal at 11:38 in the first frame. Center Brady Murray won the face-off for the Monarchs and scooted the puck to center Trevor Lewis at the top of the right face-off circle. Lewis cradled the pass and moved the rubber disk to defenseman Troy Milam. With momentum carrying Milam toward the center of the ice, he fired a rocket on Hiller. Milam lit the torch for his second goal of the season giving the Monarchs an early 1-0 lead.
Portland matched the Monarchs with a goal of their own at 2:13 of the second period. Center Matt Christie won the puck behind the Monarchs goal and passed it to center Tyler Bouck who was positioned to the right of Monarchs goaltender Erik Ersberg. Bouck sent the puck hovering over the crease and center Matt Keith batted it out of mid air beating Ersberg as he slid from his right-to-left to bring the score card to one apiece.
At 16:17 of the second period, right wing Bobby Ryan gave Portland the 2-1 lead. The puck bounced off the backboards to the right of Ersberg and settled by left wing Brian Salcido. Center Andrew Ebbett was standing to the right of the crease and took a pass from Salcido. The puck was quickly relayed to Ryan and with a flick of the wrist the right wing was able to beat Ersberg stick side.
After a physical second period with fisticuffs between right wing Kevin Westgarth and right wing Simon Ferguson, Westgarth and former Monarchs right wing Mike Hoffman and then Boyle and Ferguson, Boyle continued to aggravate Portland with his second goal of the season. Right wing Teddy Purcell carried the puck into Pirates' zone as Boyle skated with him and split the defense. Boyle collected the puck from Purcell and flipped the shot over Hiller's glove side for the tying goal. Left wing Matt Moulson collected an assist on the tally.
Gauthier was the eighth player for the Monarchs to get a point during the Monarchs 3-2 victory over Portland.
Esrberg was awarded the win stopping 24-of-26 shots. Hiller stopped 34-of-37 shots for the loss.
Manchester was 2-for-4 on the power play. Portland was 1-for-4 with the man advantage.