Monarchs Out-Whit-ed By Portland
MANCHESTER, NH – Left wing Derek Whitmore scored two goals for the Portland Pirates as they defeated the Manchester Monarchs by a 4-2 score at the Verizon Wireless Arena on Sunday afternoon.
Manchester (17-11-1-1) lost their 11th game of the season, falling to a tie for first place in the Atlantic Division with Portland (17-8-1-1) who won their 17th game of the season. Each team has 36 points on the season.
“We played pretty much one period of hockey at the pace of play we need to be successful,” explained Monarchs Head Coach Mark Morris following Sunday’s defeat. “I need to find a way to instill a sense of urgency.”
“It boils down to being more consistent. We haven’t learned that lesson yet – it’s a hard lesson to learn,” concluded Morris.
Along the goal line to the left of the goaltender, left wing Colin Stuart scored the game-winning goal at 14:58 of the second period. Center Paul Byron slapped a shot from the right point that was deflected on goal by right wing Corey Tropp. The rebound spilled out to Stuart, who’s first shot was stopped by the left pad of goaltender Martin Jones. Stuart gathered the deflection and wristed a shot between the legs of a defenseless Jones.
Left wing Derek Whitmore scored his ninth goal of the season, a power play goal, at 5:04 of the first period. Stationed behind the left post, left wing Jacob Lagace wrestled the puck away from defenseman Andrew Campbell, who failed at the attempt to clear the puck out of the defensive zone. Lagace slid the puck behind the net to center Matt Ellis who found Whitmore streaking down the right circle. The center capitalized on his chance, beating Jones to put Portland on the scoreboard first.
Center Maxime Legault forced home the loose puck in the crease to score his fourth goal of the season only 3:08 into the second period to give the Pirates a 2-0 lead. Receiving the puck from defenseman Dennis Persson, left wing Igor Gongalsky was uncontested behind the net and tried a wrap-around shot when trying to score. Jones stopped the initial shot by Gongalsky, but could not corral the puck. Legault crashed the lip of the crease and forced the puck home for the Pirates’ second goal of the contest.
Only 34 seconds into the third period, defenseman Thomas Hickey fired the puck past Portland goaltender David Leggio for the Monarchs first goal of the game. Left wing Dwight King passed the puck over to defenseman Viatcheslav Voynov, positioned at the left point. Voynov slid the puck along the blueline to Hickey, who fired a shot past Leggio for his third goal of the season. Following the goal, nearly 1,400 teddy bears showered the ice, as fans were encouraged to bring a teddy bear to the game and throw it on the ice for charity with the annual Teddy Bear Toss.
Whitmore scored his 10th goal of the season at 3:44 of the third period to give the Pirates a 4-1 advantage. After receiving the puck against the right wing half-wall from center Brian Roloff at the high point, right wing Mark Mancari snapped the puck on goal. Whitmore collected the rebound off of Jones’s pad and slid the puck into the empty net while falling to the ice. The power play goal was Whitmore’s second goal of the afternoon.
Center Corey Elkins scored his ninth goal of the season, a power play goal, at 5:04 in the third period. Center Jordan Nolan, positioned in the right corner, slid the puck through the slot to Hickey, positioned at the left point. Hickey let go a low slap shot that was deflected by Elkins into the top of the net to beat Leggio stick side to give Manchester their second goal of the afternoon.
Jones (7-2-0) received his second loss of the season, making 39 saves on 43 shots on goal. Leggio (9-2-0) won his ninth game of the season, halting 25-of-27 shots on goal.
Manchester went 1-for-9 on the power play. Portland was 1-for-4 with the man advantage.
Notables: Left wing Dwight King played in his 100th professional game today, both ECHL and AHL…Defenseman Viatcheslav Voynov has six points (0-6=6) in his last six games…With his third period goal in tonight’s contest, center Corey Elkins has recorded three goals in his last three games (3-0=3)…Defenseman Thomas Hickey is currently riding a three-game point streak (1-3=4).
The Monarchs return to action on Friday, December 17 when they host the Portland Pirates at the Verizon Wireless Arena in a 7:00 p.m. contest. Catch all of the play-by-play action of Monarchs hockey with Ken Cail on the Monarchs Radio Network WGAM 900/1250 AM and at www.manchestermonarchs.com.