|Derek Whitmore finds the back of the net in the 9th round of Shootout for the win.|
Photo Jeff Schools
On a night when the Pirates orginatztion tried to get folks in for an early start time (6:30 PM), the team on the ice didn't co-operate, going 9 rounds deep in a shootout with Manchester before Derek Whitmore put home the game winner. Whitmore sent the early arriving crowd home happy with the 3 - 2 win.
Coach Kevin Dineen said "it was a fun way to finish it..but I was running out of bodies." Dineen said "it may have been the longest one I have been part of since I've been here."
Pirates forward Derek Whimore said he ended a long run of futility with the shootout winner. "I was 0 - 5 in my pro career, so it was nice to get the first one"
This was a typical physical Manchester/Portland tilt right from the start. Defense was the name early and all the way through as both sides eliminated rebounds and didn't allow for many quality chances.
The Pirates decided to start David Leggio in net, for his 1st AHL start. Dineen said "Tough job he had..I made the decision today, so he didn't have that day in advance, but boy he put a heck of an effort in for us." Leggio said the pressure of a shootout didn't bother him "I regained my focus, it's on me to make the save(s)"
The Monarchs broke the scoring drought at the 15:32 mark of the 2nd, as Dwight Kings poked one past Leggio for the Monarchs 1 - 0 lead.
The Pirates got on the board in a way they hadn't all season, on the power play. The team mired in a 0 - 32
slump, cashed in on a Manchester Too Many Men on the Ice penalty just 56 seconds into the 3rd. Luke Adam, Pine Tree Pucks Player of the Week, netted his 5th goal of the season with the man advantage. Whitmore said it was awfully nice to break through, "If you could see the sense of relief..the weight is lifted off our chests. Then for unit 2 to come back and get a second one, that's a huge lift for us."
That second goal came 5 1/2 minutes later with the Monarchs Jordan Nolan (son of Ted Nolan) off for roughing. Colin Stuart banged home a pretty pass from the corner from Drew Schiestel to make it 2 - 1 Pirates.
As has happened in a couple games this season, the Pirates gave up the lead with less than a minute left in the game. With Mark Ellis off for tripping at the 18:59 mark, the Monarchs pulled goaltender Jeff Zatkoff to get the 6 on 4 advantage. Brandon Kozun hammered home the puck in a scramble of bodies in front of Leggio just 45 seconds later to tie the game at 2.
GAME NOTES - Corey Tropp needed 12 stitches to close a gaping cut in a tussle with Monarchs Jordan Nolan, son of Rochester Americans VP of Hockey Operations Ted Nolan. The 3 Stars of the Game were #3 Jeff Zatkoff of Manchester, #2 Derek Whitmore and #1 David Leggion. The AHL lost 2 giants this weekend, Jack Butterfield, 91, was the longtime President of the AHL. butterfield was a big influence in bringing the Maine Mariners to Portland in 1977. The other loss was former AHL All Star Craig Charron, 42. Charron lost a year-long battle with cancer.
POST GAME INTERVIEWS
Coach Kevin Dineen