10/09/2013 8:47 PM
LEWISTON, ME – Defenseman Derek Forbort scored his first professional goal, picked up an assist and fought right wing Kyle Hagel to complete the Gordie Howe Hat Trick in the Manchester Monarchs’ 3-2 shootout victory over the Portland Pirates and to take game one of the VIP Cup at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee on Wednesday night.
Manchester (1-0-0-1) is tied for first place with the St. John’s IceCaps (1-0-1-0) in the Atlantic Division with three points each. Portland (0-0-0-1) is ranked fourth in the Atlantic Division with one point.
“After a sluggish start, we had a stronger second period,” said Monarchs Head Coach Mark Morris. “In the first (period), there were too many neutral zone turnovers which caused us some unnecessary time in our defensive end. Fortunately, we found our legs and started to skate. We managed the puck more intelligently; we back-checked better and we played with more grit. There were some great chances for us to win it in regulation but we missed the net and hit a post on a deflection in the final seconds. Martin Jones came up big for us throughout the game. He looked solid handling some point blank shots and a breakaway. We have plenty of work to do defensively to clean up some rough spots.
“Derek Forbort had his best game as a Monarch and Tyler Toffoli is picking up where he left off before his call-up last season. Brandon Kozun has been one of our most consistent performers in the first two games. It feels good to come away with two points on the road. We’ll need to learn from this game so we can be better on the weekend.”
Monarchs’ right wings Tyler Toffoli and Brandon Kozun found the back of the net in the shootout. Pirates netminder Mark Visentin stopped center Jordan Weal, left wing Andy Andreoff and center Linden Vey. Monarchs’ goaltender Martin Jones halted shootout shots from right wing Tobias Rieder, center Andy Miele, right wing Chris Brown and left wing Lucas Lessio. The lone sniper to beat Jones in the shootout was right wing Jordan Szwarz.
Rieder gave the Pirates a 1-0 lead with his first tally of the season at 13:08 of the first period. Skating on the power play as Monarchs defenseman Andrew Bodnarchuk was in the penalty box for high sticking, defenseman Brandon Gormley sent the puck from the left point to the left wing half-wall where Miele was stationed. Miele looked around for the open lane before he found Rieder just inside the hash marks of the left face-off circle. Rieder picked up the pass and fired a shot top shelf on Jones.
The Monarchs evened the score at 4:28 of the second period with Forbort’s first goal of the season. The Pirates attempted to clear the puck from the left corner of their zone. The pass was deflected by Vey and traveled to between the hash marks for the rookie defenseman. Forbort ripped a one-timer from down on one knee to tie the game at 1-1.
Vey and Forbort connected again at 19:08 of the middle frame to give the Monarchs a 2-1 advantage. Vey won the face-off in the Monarchs zone and Toffoli took control of the puck. The right wing sent a pass across the Monarchs zone to Forbort who began to carry the puck up the left wing. Forbort found Vey breaking through the neutral zone and connected with him at the Pirates blueline. Vey collected the pass, split the defense and broke in all alone on Visentin. Once Vey reached the hash marks, he picked the top right corner of the net for his shot and his first tally of the season.
Rieder picked up his second power play goal of the game at 12:24 of the third period to tie the game at 2-2. Brown chipped the puck from the left corner of the Monarchs zone to Miele who was behind the net. As Miele got jammed up along the end boards, Rieder walked in, picked up the puck and flipped it over Jones’ pads to tie the game.
Jones (1-0-1) earned his first shootout win of the season stopping 25-of-27 shots through regulation and overtime, and 4-of-5 shooters in the shootout. Visentin (0-0-1) took his first shootout loss of the season making 37 saves on 39 shots and stopping 3-of-5 shootout snipers.
Manchester was 0-for-3 on the power play. Portland went 2-for-5 with the man advantage.
Notables: The Monarchs won their first game of the 2013-14 season…Manchester has pushed a shootout in both games thus far into the season…The Monarchs are undefeated in regulation…Portland won the VIP Cup last season; Manchester leads the series, 1-0…Defenseman Derek Forbort scored his first professional goal, recorded his first multi-point (1-1=2) game, and collected his first Gordie Howe Hat Trick…Right wing Tyler Toffoli has a point in each game this season…Defenseman Andrew Campbell leads the Monarchs with a plus-4 rating.
The Monarchs travel to the Dunkin’ Donuts Center for their third-of-five road games to open the 2013-14 season as they take on the Providence Bruins at 7:05 p.m. on Friday, October 11. Catch all of the play-by-play action of Monarchs hockey with Ken Cail on the Monarchs Radio Network WGIRAM.com and at www.manchestermonarchs.com, presented by Manchester-Boston Regional Airport.