Maine Hockey Journal

Pirates have their backs against the wall

Manchester, NH – The Portland Pirates are playing for tomorrow, literally, with their backs against the wall.

Bud Holloway scored two minutes into overtime, giving the Manchester Monarchs a 2-1 victory before 2,130 at the Verizon Wireless Arena in Game 3 of the Atlantic Division semifinal.

It was Holloway’s third game-winning goal of the series as the Monarchs now have a commanding 3-0 lead with Game 4 in Manchester on Tuesday night.

“It’s one game at time,” said Jeff Cowan. “We win tomorrow and take it back home where we’ve had some decent success.”

Holloway was the recipient of a breakdown by the Pirates’ defense in the right corner, which led to Dwight King feed to Holloway in front of the net where he snapped a shot by JP Lamoureux.

“There was a defensive breakdown, a youthful mistake and it looked like it cost us,” said Pirates’ head coach Kevin Dineen.

The Pirates will try to avoid being swept, something that has only happened once in franchise history dating back to 2001 when they lost a best-of-five series against the Saint John Flames, 3-0. Since last season, the Pirates have lost their last seven playoff games, winning only one game since the Buffalo Sabres moved their affiliation to Portland.

Portland played well enough to win the game, but Jonathan Bernier made several key saves as part of his 37 save performance.

“He’s made some real quality saves like he has all series,” said Dineen. “He’s done some maturing and shown some growth.”

Manchester scored first only 35 seconds into the first period when former Maineiac Marc-Andre Cliché drilled a snap shot from the slot by Lamoureux.

The Pirates hadn’t scored a regulation goal in 147:43 before Mike Weber finally beat Bernier with a slap shot in the slot after picking up Luke Adam’s rebound at the far post in the second period. It was Adam’s first professional point as he was credited with an assist on the play.

The Pirates had their chances in the game outshooting the Monarchs 38-25 and now they’re playing to stay alive in a series they were expecting to win.

“That doesn’t count too much right now,” said Dineen. “We found a formula that worked, and it’s really what’s worked for us all year. There are really no surprises that if we played to our capabilities we can compete with most teams in this league.”

NOTES: Philip Gogulla returned to the lineup after missing the last game with an undisclosed injury. Felix Schutz, Jacob Lagace, and Dennis Persson were all healthy scratches.

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