Maine Hockey Journal

Pirates Bow to Royality

Manchester, NH – The Anaheim Ducks and Los Angeles Kings don’t really get along all too well, but it can be said that their farm teams don’t have much love for each other either. In what is seriously building into a fierce rivalry among these two clubs, only 90 miles apart, is much like what has been brewing over 3,000 miles away in California.

The Manchester Monarch added two more points to their Atlantic Division lead, beating the Portland Pirates 2-1 in front of 7,835 at the Verizon Wireless Arena.

“I [didn’t] feel we were as sharp as we were in the past, you could see that in the first period,â€? said Pirates’ Assistant Bruce Crowder.

Both teams skated to scoreless first period, but not without a few fireworks to get the crowd into the game. Zenon Konopka, just named a starter to the AHL All-Star Classic, dropped the mitts in a dual with Monarchs’ forward Mike Hoffman at the 6:23 mark of the first period.

“It was a battle tonight, they’ve got a good goaltender [LaBarbera],â€? said Pirates center Zenon Konopka. “We [didn’t] play our best game, but we [maybe] played well enough to win. It’s always a defensive struggle with [Manchester] and that’s how they play, giving up one goal [can be] deadly against this team, we have to learn from our mistakes.â€?

The best scoring chance came just as the buzzer was about to sound, T.J. Kemp rang a shot off the inside of the left post from about 25 feet out.

The Monarchs would take a 1-0 lead, just after the Pirates had a chance of their own a few minutes earlier. Ryan Shannon beat Peter Harrold down the far wing boards, cutting across the crease, but couldn’t stuff the puck past Monarchs’ netminder Jason LaBarbera.
On the ensuing face-off, Mike Weaver fed the puck to Patrick O’Sullivan, skating to top of the left face-off circle, letting a semi slapshot go, beating Pirates’ goaltender Michael Wall to the inside of the right post, over his right leg pad at 5:22 of the second period.

While Portland’s defense continues to be strong, allowing the least number of goals in the AHL(96), their offense continues to sputter as the Pirates have been held to 2.2 goals per game in the last five game and only a slightly better 2.6 goals in there last 10 games.

“That’s a little bit of our team,â€? said Crowder. “For what we had last year, we were a little spoiled; we scored a lot of highlight goals. This year it’s a little bit of the mindset that we have to score ugly. If it has to go off two knees to go into the net, so be it.â€?

At 11:47 of the third period, Manchester scored the eventual game-winning goal, taking a 2-0 lead on a defensive breakdown by the Pirates. Mike Hoffman carried the puck behind the net, drawing two defenders down low, before tossing the puck to the front of the net. Monarchs’ center Matt Ryan left unattended at the top of the crease flipped the puck over Wall, who was unable to get his glove on the puck, freezing the play.

Late in the period, what seemed to be a harmless play, turned into a penalty shot for the Monarchs, setting up what would be a wild turn of events for the Portland bench. Zenon Konopka trying to defend the right face-off circle, swiped at a loose stick lying on the ice, sending it into the corner, it flew into the path of Mike Weaver knocking the puck off his stick, resulting in the penalty shot with 5:25 left in the game.

Weaver’s shot would missed wide, but Pirates head coach Kevin Dineen was certainly not happy with the call, resulting in a bench minor, giving the Monarchs a power play, further infuriating the bench boss.

“At that point for a defenseman to take a penalty shot, over [taking] a power play might have helped us,â€? said Konopka. “It might not have been the best call, but for us it was fine.â€?

The Pirates ruined Jason LaBarbera’s shutout bid with 1:09 left in the game as Colby Genoway scored his sixth of the season. With the goaltender pulled, Aaron Rome worked the puck to the point, firing a shot toward the net; Genoway grabbed a slight piece of the puck, redirecting it between the five-hole of LaBarbera, cutting the lead in half at 2-1.

Brett Skinner came close to tying it in the closing seconds, narrowly missing an open net with a back hand shot as the Monarchs prevailed.

Dineen, still visibly angry with referee Steve Kozari was assessed a gross misconduct at the end of the game, his first this season.

Michael Wall played very well despite the loss, making 30 of 32 saves, while Jason LaBarbera stopped 27 shots in the win

Plank Notes:
– The Anaheim Ducks, earlier in the day recalled left wing Curtis Glencross from the Pirates. In 30 games with the Pirates this season, he’s scored 5 goals, 10 assists for 15 points.
– This was Aaron Rome’s 100th game as Portland Pirates. During his career in a Pirates’ jersey, he’s scored 9 goals, 29 assists for 38 points.
– Ryan Shannon’s had his point-scoring streak snapped at two games.
– Tim Brent returned to the line up after his time in Davos, Switzerland playing for Team Canada in the Spengler Cup tournament and playing his first NHL game with the Anaheim Ducks.
– The Pirates look to rebound as they take on the Hartford Wolf Pack at the Cumberland County Civic Center. Game Time is 7:05pm.

Three Stars of the Game:
1. MCH – Jason LaBarbera (28SH/27SV)
2. MCH – Patrick O’Sullivan (1G, +1)
3. MCH – Matt Ryan (1G, +1, GWG)

Shots on Goal:
POR 8-11-9=28
MCH 11-12-9=32

Goals by Period:
POR 0-0-1=1
MCH 0-1-1=2

Power Play Summary:
Portland Pirates PP – 0-for-7
Manchester Monarchs PP – 0-for-5

Scoring Summary:
2. MCH O’Sullivan, (14) (Weaver), 5:22
3. MCH Ryan, (2) (Hoffman), 11:47
3. POR Genoway, (6) (Rome, Brent), 18:41

Penalty Summary:
1 – MCH Gauthier, 0:15 – Interference , 2 min (PP)
1 – POR Konopka, 6:23 – Fighting , 5 min
1 – MCH Hoffman, 6:23 – Fighting , 5 min
1 – POR Skinner, 15:40 – Holding , 2 min (PP)
2 – MCH Mormina, 6:11 – Holding , 2 min (PP)
2 – MCH Stephenson, 8:46 – Slashing , 2 min (PP)
2 – MCH Served By Kanko, 9:08 – Bench minor – Too many men , 2 min (PP)
2 – POR Wilson, 11:46 – Roughing , 2 min
2 – MCH Kemp, 11:46 – Roughing , 2 min
2 – POR Shannon, 18:41 – Hooking , 2 min (PP)
3 – MCH Nolan, 3:28 – Interference , 2 min (PP)
3 – POR Keith, 5:22 – Hooking , 2 min (PP)
3 – POR Amadio, 6:16 – Slashing , 2 min (PP)
3 – MCH Hoffman, 8:59 – Tripping , 2 min (PP)
3 – POR Ferguson, 12:31 – Roughing , 2 min
3 – MCH Jackman, 12:31 – Roughing , 2 min
3 – POR Served By Genoway, 14:35 – Bench minor – Unsportsmanlike conduct , 2 min (PP)
3 – MCH Served By Kanko, 19:41 – Bench minor – Too many men , 2 min (PP)
3 – POR Served By , 20:00 – Gross misconduct – Bench , 10 min

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