MANCHESTER, NH – Goaltender Jhonas Enroth stopped all 39 shots for his second shutout of the season as the Portland Pirates handed the Manchester Monarchs their second home loss, 2-0, at the Verizon Wireless Arena on Wednesday night.
Manchester (15-7-1-2) is in first place in the Atlantic Division with 33 points. Portland (12-10-3-0) moved into a three-way tie for fourth place in the Atlantic Division with 27 points.
“We were on the perimeter a lot,” said Head Coach Mark Morris. “Our game plan was to get a lot of pucks on the net. We had an opportunity to score early in the game but didn’t capitalize. We need to find a way to get more offense, penetrate up the gut of the ice.”
The Pirates got on the board at 13:25 of the first period when center Matt Caruana tallied his second goal on the season. Defenseman Drew Schiestel took a shot from the right point that Monarchs goaltender Jonathan Bernier directed aside into the left wing corner. Caruana gathered the puck and flipped it toward the Monarchs goal. The puck slid under a sprawled Bernier and into the back of the net to put the Pirates up 1-0. Right wing Kyle Rank also gathered an assist on the goal.
Center Felix Schutz put his fifth goal of the season on the board at 14:26 of the second period to put the Pirates up 2-0. Portland controlled the puck in the Monarchs zone and sent it to the left point. Defenseman Mike Weber sent a blistering shot from the point that hit the center who was parked in front of Bernier. The puck floated into the back of the net with people crashing toward the crease to put the Pirates ahead with a 2-0 lead. Left wing Phillip Gogulla also collected an assist on the goal.
Bernier (10-6-2) took his sixth loss of the season with 28 saves on 30 shots. Enroth (7-8-0) earned his seventh win of the season with a shutout stopping all 39 shots.
Manchester went 0-for-2 on the power play. Portland was 0-for-4 with the man advantage.
Notables: Manchester outshot their opponent for only the sixth time this season…Monarchs lost at home for only the second time this season, first in a shutout…Center Gabe Gauthier had his three-game point (2-2=4) and two-game goal (two goals) scoring streak snapped...Defenseman Drew Bagnall had a two-game point (1-1=2) streak stopped by the Pirates…Center Corey Elkins’ four game point (2-2=4) also came to an end…New Hampshire native right wing Jon Rheault played his first game at home since being signed to the professional tryout agreement on December 1…Goaltender Jonathan Bernier passed netminder Jason LaBarbera (1,960) on the Monarchs all-time record for third place with 1,979 saves.