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Portland goalie steals win from Monarchs


MANCHESTER — Lucas Lessio was more than enough for the Portland Pirates on Thursday night.

Lessio scored two goals and assisted on a third in a 4-1 Portland win over the Manchester Monarchs in front of 3,972 fans at Verizon Wireless Arena. The Pirates improved to 12-10-5. The AHL leader, Manchester dropped to 21-6-5 and had its five-game winning streak snapped. Manchester hosts St. John's Saturday at 7 p.m.

Monarchs head coach Mark Morris felt his team dominated the game, but big saves from Portland goalie Louis Domingue (34 saves) and bad penalties from Manchester allowed the Pirates to plunder the two points.

"I thought we dominated for long periods of time. We had one stint where I think we were in their zone for three or four minutes. A lot of credit goes to their goalie. He came up huge," Morris said. "The bad penalties we took certainly took a lot of juice out of our step and nullified what a great effort it was early in the game."

Lessio gave the Pirates a 2-1 lead at 12:42 of the third period. Randy Jones sent Lessio away with a pass from his own end that connected with Lessio at the blue line. Lessio moved in on J.F. Berube and had his shot stopped by Berube's stick on the ice. But Lessio was being hooked from behind by Manchester defenseman Jeff Schultz and Lessio's skate pushed the puck into the net as he fell to the ice. The goal was reviewed and allowed to stand.

Brendan Shinnimin gave Portland a 3-1 lead at 14:46. Lessio fed Shinnimin in the slot and Shinnimin sent a quick shot on goal that Berube got a piece of with his blocker, but the puck went in anyway. Portland's Andy Miele added an empty net goal with 1:33 remaining to ice the game.

"We made just some horrendous plays turning pucks over and bad clears and (Portland) executed," Morris said. "They hung around and we were sleepy at some key times."

The Monarchs opened the scoring at 3:31 of the first period. Hunter Bishop threw the puck toward the slot from behind the net and it hit a Portland defender and deflected into the net for a 1-0 Manchester lead.

The Pirates tied the game at 17:22 of the first with a power-play goal from Lessio. A Manchester clearing attempt was poked away by Jones at the blue line and Lessio collected the puck and skated through the left circle, cutting to the net and putting a backhand shot off Berube's gear and into the net.

The teams skated a scoreless second period, mostly thanks to Domingue. With 4:05 remaining, Domingue made a sparkling glove save on a Nick Shore shot from the right circle. Less than two minutes later, Domingue slid across the crease to deny a Brandon Kozun redirection at the right post.

Domingue's best was yet to come. In the third period with the game still tied 1-1, Domingue made three huge saves in succession. Tanner Pearson broke in alone and Domingue stuffed him with the pads, then turned away a Brian O'Neill rebound chance and finally a Nick Shore bid.Notes: Goalie Mathias Niederberger returned from injury and assumed the backup role for the Monarchs. Manchester released goalie Aaron Dell to make room…Forward Linden Vey was a healthy scratch for the Monarchs…Goalie J.F. Berube is one start away from tying the franchise record for consecutive starts. That mark is 19 and is shared by Jason LaBarbera and Travis Scott. with Lessio at the blue line. Lessio moved in on J.F. Berube and had his shot stopped by Berube's stick on the ice. But Lessio was being hooked from behind by Manchester defenseman Jeff Schultz and Lessio's skate pushed the puck into the net as he fell to the ice. The goal was reviewed and allowed to stand.

Brendan Shinnimin gave Portland a 3-1 lead at 14:46. Lessio fed Shinnimin in the slot and Shinnimin sent a quick shot on goal that Berube got a piece of with his blocker, but the puck went in anyway. Portland's Andy Miele added an empty net goal with 1:33 remaining to ice the game.

"We made just some horrendous plays turning pucks over and bad clears and (Portland) executed," Morris said. "They hung around and we were sleepy at some key times."

The Monarchs opened the scoring at 3:31 of the first period. Hunter Bishop threw the puck toward the slot from behind the net and it hit a Portland defender and deflected into the net for a 1-0 Manchester lead.

The Pirates tied the game at 17:22 of the first with a power-play goal from Lessio. A Manchester clearing attempt was poked away by Jones at the blue line and Lessio collected the puck and skated through the left circle, cutting to the net and putting a backhand shot off Berube's gear and into the net.

The teams skated a scoreless second period, mostly thanks to Domingue. With 4:05 remaining, Domingue made a sparkling glove save on a Nick Shore shot from the right circle. Less than two minutes later, Domingue slid across the crease to deny a Brandon Kozun redirection at the right post.

Domingue's best was yet to come. In the third period with the game still tied 1-1, Domingue made three huge saves in succession. Tanner Pearson broke in alone and Domingue stuffed him with the pads, then turned away a Brian O'Neill rebound chance and finally a Nick Shore bid.Notes: Goalie Mathias Niederberger returned from injury and assumed the backup role for the Monarchs. Manchester released goalie Aaron Dell to make room…Forward Linden Vey was a healthy scratch for the Monarchs…Goalie J.F. Berube is one start away from tying the franchise record for consecutive starts. That mark is 19 and is shared by Jason LaBarbera and Travis Scott.

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