Portland Pirates pound Monarchs, 4-1
MANCHESTER — A well-rested opponent, the third game in as many days and early penalties all added up to trouble for the Manchester Monarchs.
The Portland Pirates put 25 shots on net in the first period alone and scored twice early en route to a 4-1 win over the Monarchs in front of 3,153 fans at Verizon Wireless Arena Sunday.
Manchester fell to 5-8-1 on the season and will host Portland (4-5-1) Wednesday morning at 10:30 in the special “Education Day” game. Portland came into Sunday’s game having been off for eight days and looked fresh, jumping all over the Monarchs early.
“I don’t think we can come down with those excuses,” said Monarchs captain Marc-Andre Cliche. “Maybe the schedule was not our way this week, but we can’t come down to that and say that’s why we came out like this.”
The Pirates poured a massive amount of rubber on goalie Martin Jones in the first period, including nine shots in the first 3:00. The end result was a 2-0 Portland lead after the first frame.
Brett Hextall (son of Monarchs general manager Ron Hextall) gave Portland a 1-0 lead at 11:29. Brock Trotter carried the puck in on the left wing and sent a cross-ice feed to Hextall on the right for a one-timer to beat Jones high near-post.
Trotter then scored on the power play at 13:32 of the first to push the Pirates lead to 2-0. Nathan Oystrick sent a shot on net from the high slot that Jones sticked aside, but the rebound went right to Trotter on the left side for a quick put-back past Jones.
Manchester had to kill three penalties in the first period, setting the tempo for an uphill climb early.
“We obviously spent way too much time in the penalty box and the shot totals were off the charts,” said Monarchs head coach Mark Morris. “I guess the thing that we need to address first and foremost is, we’ve got to be more disciplined.”
The barrage of shots slowed in the second period, but Portland struck again to carry a 3-0 lead into the third period. Ethan Werek’s shot from the right side was stopped by Jones, but the puck got through and landed in the crease for an easy tap-in for Ryan Duncan at 14:09 of the second.
Portland pushed the lead to 4-0 with a Colin Long goal at 10:25 of the third period. Ryan Hollweg carried the puck up the right side and hit Long as he cut the net and Long finished with a redirection before Jones could get across.
The Monarchs got a goal from, Cliche at 13:05 to cut the lead to 4-1. Rich Clune set up the goal with a pass from behind the net and Cliche snapped off a shot from the right circle to beat Justin Pogge.
But that was all the Monarchs could muster for offense and Portland closed out the game. The Pirates outshot Manchester 47-33 and were 1-6 on the power play. The Monarchs went 0-2 on the man-advantage.
“It’s one of those things in team sports, it’s finding that way to get everyone thinking the same thoughts and playing the same systems and having structure,” Morris said. “It can be pretty elusive at times. Specifically with the group we’ve got here this year. It’s been one of those times when it tests your patience and it tests your mettle.”
“We’ll get back to trying to instill good work habits and hopefully get these guys to jell.”