Holloway Sweeps Pirates
|Bud Holloway scored all four game-winning goals in the Monarchs sweep.
“It was a hard fought series,” said Head Coach Mark Morris. “It may have been four wins but three of those games were nip and tuck. Portland gave us all they had and they were playing without their goalie (Jhonas Enroth) and (Tyler) Ennis.
“We made the most of our opportunities. We had strong goaltending, our penalty kill was strong. We were able to get another early lead and then role with the momentum.”
Holloway netted his fourth goal of the playoffs and the fourth consecutive game-winning goal at 12:52 of the second period. Center Justin Azevedo sent a swift pass from the left wing boards that found left wing Dwight King cross ice just outside the crease. King deked to the right which sent Pirates netminder Todd Ford diving onto the ice. King shoved the puck under Ford and Holloway came streaking in from the left wing to jam home the third goal of the game.
The Monarchs struck early in the second period as right wing Trevor Lewis netted his second goal of the playoffs at the 31-second mark. Carrying the puck behind the cage, Lewis fired a wrist shot from an odd angle along the end red line that surprised Ford on the short side to put the Monarchs up 1-0. Center Andrei Loktionov and defenseman Joe Piskula earned assists on the first goal of the game.
Lewis extended the Monarchs lead to 2-0 at the 12:10 mark of the second period. On the power play, center Oscar Moller collected a pass from Loktionov and brought it behind the net. With Lewis in the slot, Moller centered the puck for a one-timer from the right wing. The puck beat Ford glove side to double Manchester’s lead.
Right wing Kevin Westgarth recorded his first goal of the playoffs at 15:39 of the second period extending the Monarchs lead to 4-0. Defenseman Andrew Campbell sent Westgarth on a two-on-one down the left wing boards with Holloway to his right. Westgarth tried to feed a puck over to Holloway but his pass was blocked by a diving Pirates’ defenseman. The puck came back to Westgarth who flipped a wrist shot over Ford and into the back of the net.
After Westgarth’s goal, the Pirates replaced Ford with netminder J.P. Lamoureux.
At 18:47 of the second period, left wing Nathan Gerbe would strike back for the Pirates with his first goal of the playoffs to end Bernier’s shutout bid. After two penalty calls were assessed to the Monarchs, Portland found itself on a 5-on-3 advantage. Right wing Mark Mancari controlled the puck just above the right wing circle and faked a shot on the net that sent a Monarchs defender sliding in front. Mancari then sent a pass to Gerbe below the right wing face-off circle. Gerbe fired a one-timer that beat Bernier who slid over in an attempt to stop the puck. Defenseman Marc-Andre Gragnani also recorded an assist on the goal.
The Pirates would cut the Monarchs lead in half at 12:10 of the final frame with Mancari’s first goal of the playoffs. Left wing Derek Whitmore pick-pocketed one of the Monarchs defenders in the left wing corner and sent a pass into the slot. Mancari one-timed the puck past Bernier for the final Pirates goal of the playoff season. Left wing Luke Adam recorded an assist on the goal.
Moller would get on the board for the Monarchs with his first tally of the playoffs at 16:52 of the third period. Loktionov sent a wrist shot in on Lamoureux which bounced off the netminder’s chest and lay in the crease. Moller broke through the Pirates defenders and jammed the loose puck by Lamoureux who tried to dive on the puck. Defenseman Drew Bagnall collected his first point of the playoffs by assisting on the goal.
Campbell picked up an empty net goal for his first tally of the playoffs at 17:04 of the final frame. Right wing John Zeiler won the face-off at the left circle in the Monarchs zone. Campbell received the puck and launched a floater down the ice that found its way into the empty net.
Piskula finished off the Pirates with his first goal of the playoffs to bring the score to 7-2. Center Corey Elkins sent a swift pass to Piskula streaking up the right wing boards. The defenseman held off a defender as he made his way around the boards and toward the Pirates’ net. Cutting in at a bad angle, Piskula lifted the puck over Lamoureux’s shoulder.
Bernier (4-0) earned his fourth playoff victory stopping 44-of-46 shots. Ford (0-1) took his first playoff loss of the season with 17 saves before being pulled in the second period. Lamoureux (0-3) made five saves on the night.
Manchester went 1-for-5 on the power play. Portland was 1-for-6 with the man advantage.
NOTABLES: The Monarchs swept a playoff series for the first time in franchise history…Manchester’s advancement to the division finals is the second time in team history that they made it past the first round of the playoffs…Left wing Bud Holloway (4-0=4) collected his fourth consecutive game-winning goal of the playoffs, which also lead the AHL…Center Corey Elkins (1-3=4) and center Justin Azevedo (0-4=4) are on four-game point streaks...Defenseman Andrew Campbell (1-3=4) is tied with Holloway, Elkins and Azevedo for the Monarchs scoring lead…Goaltender Jonathan Bernier stopped 125-of-130 shots through four games for a 1.24 goals-against-average and a .962 save percentage.