Manchester loses franchise record sixth consecutive game
Manchester (21-18-0-2) dropped to third place in the Atlantic Division with 44 points. Portland (18-16-2-3) is in fourth place in the Atlantic Division with 41 points.
“We had our chances to score,” said Monarchs Head Coach Mark Morris. “They are a good team. They are big. They are physical and they have a lot of veterans. We got caught chasing our tail toward the tail end but we had our moments where we had glorious chances and we just didn’t capitalize.”
Right wing Patrick O’Sullivan gave Portland a 2-1 lead at 4:43 of the second period, just 1:58 after the Monarchs tied the game. Right wing Matt Watkins found O’Sullivan just inside the right wing face-off circle. Playing against his former team, O’Sullivan skated the puck toward the goal, deked right to left and fired a wrist shot half way up on the far side of goaltender Jeff Zatkoff for his third goal of the season, the eventual game-winning tally.
Center Brock Trotter opened the scoring for Portland on a breakaway goal at 15:45 of the first period. Right wing Jordan Szwarz received the puck from left wing Ryan Hollweg in his own zone. Szwarz then found Trotter in the neutral zone to start the center out on the breakaway. Trotter skated in all alone on Zatkoff slipping the puck past the netminder’s left pad for his 11th goal of the season.
Deslauriers tied the game at 1-1 on the power play 2:45 into the second period. Cycling the puck, defenseman Thomas Hickey passed the puck from the left point to center Robbie Czarnik along the left wing half-wall. Spotting Deslauriers open at the right point, Czarnik found the rookie defenseman for a one-timer that beat Pirates netminder Justin Pogge five-hole. It was Deslauriers’ first professional goal.
Defenseman David Rundblad increased Portland’s lead to 3-1 after scoring his second goal of the season at 18:41 of the third period on the power play. O’Sullivan passed the puck from the right point to Trotter in the left corner. Trotter found Rundblad at the top of the left wing face-off circle where he fired a shot that tickled the twine in the top right corner of the net.
Right wing Brett MacLean added an empty net goal at 19:30 of the third period. MacLean received a pass from Hollweg in the Pirates zone and skated up the center of the ice before wristing a shot into the empty net for his 15th goal of the season.
Zatkoff (10-7-1) took his seventh loss of the season stopping 19-of-22 shots. Netminder Curtis McElhinney made three saves on all three shots faced before he left the game with a lower body injury at 5:36 of the first period. Pogge (6-5-3) earned his sixth win of the season making 25 saves on 26 shots.
Manchester went 1-for-4 on the power play. Portland was 1-for-3 with the man advantage.
Notables: The Monarchs current six-game losing streak is a franchise record…Left wing Dwight King had his three-game point streak snapped ending with a goal and three assists for four points…Right wing Brandon Kozun also had his three-game point streak snapped ending with two goals and one assist…Center Robbie Czarnik was taken out on a stretcher in the third period after defenseman Dean Arsene delivered a hit to the head.