MANCHESTER, NH – Justin Auger’s first career multi-goal game gave the Monarchs their third straight win, a 3-1 victory over Portland Sunday at the Verizon Wireless Arena.
The Monarchs (41-15-6-2) earned their sixth win over Portland Pirates (35-23-6-2) in the ninth VIP Cup meeting between the two teams this season, clinching at least a split on March 22.
“It was a good weekend for us,” Auger said. “We are really proud of our effort. [We] gave up 24 [shots] in Providence and 17 last night, so that’s a good sign going forward in what we hope is a deep playoff run.”
J.F. Berube made 22 saves on 23 shots to earn his AHL-best 31st win this season (31-8-4-0). It marks the most wins in a single season by a Manchester goalie since Jason LaBarbera had 39 wins in 2006-07.
Sean Backman gave Manchester a 1-0 lead when he scored his 16th goal of the season on a slapshot from the slot, with Colin Miller picking up an assist at 17:03.
The Monarchs doubled their lead at 18:55 on Auger’s tenth tally of the year.
The Pirates broke the shutout with Jordan Martinook getting a deflected shot past Berube. The goal came at 10:34 in the third period, cutting the Manchester lead to 2-1.
Auger scored again with 1:00 remaining in the game to bring the score to 3-1. Brian O’Neill fed him the puck in the slot where Auger turned and fired for the goal, his 11th of the season and second of the night.
The Monarchs will play their next six straight games on the road before returning home April 10 to face the Pirates in another VIP Cup game. Click here for tickets.
- The win also brought J.F. Berube to second all-time in Monarchs history with 61 career wins, tying him with Adam Hauser (2003-06).
- Justin Auger recorded the first multi-goal game of his career, and his fourth multi-point game.
- Jordan Weal (assist) moved into sole possession of sixth place on the Monarchs’ all-time points list with 165 (55 goals, 110 assists).
- Manchester is 20-1-0-0 at home this season when leading after the first period.
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