MANCHESTER , NH - What a difference a day makes. After an all-night bus trip from Hershey Saturday night that followed a game from which he was pulled early, Manchester goalie Jason LaBarbera roared back, leading the Monarchs to a 3-0 shut-out victory over the first-place Portland Pirates Sunday afternoon in front of 6007 fans at the Verizon Wireless Arena.
Manchester (9-7-4-1) is in third place in the Atlantic Division with 23 points. Portland (11-5-1-0) remains in first place in the Atlantic Division with 28 points.
At 12:21 of the opening period, Monarchs right wing Tim Jackman gave Manchester a 1-0 lead, burying a great high-slot pass from rookie defenseman T.J. Kemp , stick-side low past Portland goalie Michael Leighton. Kemp made the pass to Jackman after swooping in to grab the puck along the boards which teammate Noah Clarke had pinched away from a Portland player. Kemp and Clarke assisted on the goal.
In the second period, the Monarchs finished off the Pirates, scoring twice within a 1:07 span. Winger Ryan Murphy received a point-to-point pass from defenseman Eric Werner, and blasted a slapshot upper right corner over the glove of Leighton on a power play at 17:51. Just a little over a minute later, Monarchs center Gabe Gauthier snuck a screened snapshot past Leighton, in off the far right post.
The win marked the first Manchester triumph over first-place Portland this season, also the first back-to-back home wins, which also happened to be shutouts.
LaBarbera stopped all 34 Pirates shots gaining his second shut-out victory of the season. Leighton stopped 32 0f 35 Manchester shots.
Manchester went 1-for-4 on the power play. Portland was 0-for-7 with the man advantage.
The Monarchs next game will be Friday, December 1 against the Springfield Falcons at the Verizon Wireless Arena at 7:35 p.m. Catch all of the play-by-play action of Monarchs hockey with Ken Cail on the Monarchs Radio Network WGIR-AM 610 and at www.monarchshockey.com
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