PORTLAND, ME ? Right wing Mark Mancari collected five points on six goals as the Manchester Monarchs fell to the Portland Pirates, 6-3, in front of 5,136 fans at the Cumberland County Civic Center in both teams' season opener on Saturday night.
Manchester (0-1-0-0) is tied for fifth in the Atlantic Division with zero points. Portland (1-0-0-0) is tied for first place in the Atlantic Division with two points.
Center Tyler Bouck scored two goals for the Pirates in a span of 22-seconds. The first goal came at 17:08 of the middle stanza when there was a pile-up in the Monarchs crease. While bodies were falling, Bouck was able to poke the puck into the net for the eventual game-winning goal. Center Nathan Gerbe and Mancari assisted on the goal. Goaltender Jonathan Quick pleaded his case of goaltender interference with the referee but the goal stood.
Mancari scored the first goal of the 2008-09 season for both teams at the 59-second mark of the opening period. Picking up the puck from Gerbe, Mancari snapped a shot from the left face-off circle that beat Quick for a 1-0 lead. Left wing Tim Kennedy assisted on Mancari's first goal of the season.
With a two-man advantage, the Monarchs tied the game at 1-1 at 4:10 of the first period. With two seconds remaining on the power play with Bouck and defenseman Mike Weber in the penalty box for the Pirates, defenseman Josh Kidd got the puck at the point and ripped a shot past Portland's goaltender Adam Dennis. Center Trevor Lewis picked up the lone assist on the Monarchs first goal of the season.
Center Gabe Gauthier gave the Monarchs their only lead of the game with his first of the season at 13:59 of the opening frame. Lewis fed the puck to Gauthier who got a shot on Dennis but the goaltender made the initial save. Picking up his own rebound, Gauthier slipped the puck over the goal line for a 2-1 lead.
At 16:17 of the first period, Mancari tallied his second goal of the night on a 5-on-3 power play. Defenseman Marc-Andre Gragnani's shot on goal was saved by Quick but Mancari was on the doorstep to lift the puck into the open net to tie the game at 2-2. Defenseman Chris Butler earned an assist on the tying goal.
Kennedy picked up his first of the season at 13:52 of the middle frame, the first of three unanswered second period goals. As the Monarchs attempted to clear the puck, Kennedy kept it alive and wristed a shot from the bottom of the right face-off circle, beating Quick for a 3-2 lead. Bouck and Mancari collected assists on the goal.
At 17:30 of the second period and with Weber in the penalty box for holding, Bouck picked up a shorthanded goal. Left wings Dylan Hunter and Derek Whitmore assisted on Bouck's second of the night for the 4-2 lead.
Mancari finished off his five-point performance on the evening with his third goal of the night at 5:09 of the final stanza. Quick made the initial save on a shot by Kennedy but Mancari was again positioned on the doorstep for the rebound. Butler picked up his second assist of the night.
In the weaning minutes of the game, Monarchs rookie center Bud Holloway found the netting behind Dennis for his first professional goal. There was a scramble in front of Portland's net and Holloway got the final say when he chipped the puck into the net. Right wing Kevin Westgarth and rookie defenseman Viatcheslav Voynov earned assists on the final goal of the game.
Quick (0-1) stopped 27-of-33 shots in the loss. Dennis (1-0) earned the win with 28 saves.