Our hometown team takes 2-0 lead in series
MANCHESTER, NH – Five different players combined for six goals as the Monarchs took a 2-0 series lead in their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal match-up against the Portland Pirates Saturday night with a 6-2 victory at the Verizon Wireless Arena.
“We have been able all season long to utilize our depth and get guys involved and tonight was no different,” Head Coach Mike Stothers said. “Everybody has been playing good and contributing.”
The top-seeded Monarchs (2-0) look to close out the series tomorrow night against the eighth seeded Pirates (0-2).
Nick Shore had a team-high three points with three assists and Michael Mersch scored two of Manchester’s goals, the first goals of his career in the playoffs.
Mersch opened the scoring for the Monarchs, netting his first goal 20 seconds into the game. Brian O’Neill sent a pass across the goal-mouth and found Mersch parked in front for the tip in.
Jordan Weal added to the lead just 10 seconds later, netting his second of the playoffs. Weal took a stretch pass from Sean Backman and fired on goal from the goal line, beating Mike McKenna for the second time in the first 30 seconds of the game. McKenna was pulled after the goal.
Portland cut the Manchester lead in half late in the first period when Brendan Shinnimin tipped home his first of the playoffs off a shot from the point by Christian Dvorak at 19:45.
The game remained tied through the second period, with the Monarchs out shooting the Pirates 10-6 and killing off a five-minute major penalty to Andrew Crescenzi.
Backman gave the Monarchs the two-goal advantage back after scoring his first goal of the playoffs on the power play at 1:53 in the third. Backman sent a backhand tip off of a Vincent LoVerde shot from the right point past Louis Domingue.
O’Neill notched his third goal of the playoffs just 17 seconds later when he fired a slap shot from the top of the slot.
Nic Dowd added scored 22 seconds after the O’Neill goal, netting his first career playoff goal at 2:32 of the third on a breakaway. It was the Monarchs’ third goal in 39 seconds.
Philip Samuelsson scored his first goal of the playoffs on the power play at 6:40 to make it 5-2.
Mersch scored his second of the game, potting an empty net goal at 18:16 of the third.
Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals will be tomorrow at 5 p.m. at the Cross Insurance Arena.
- When Michael Mersch scored 20 seconds into the game, he tallied the earliest goal scored in Monarchs Playoff history (previous, Tim Jackman vs. Providence, 28 seconds, 2007).
- The first two goals of the game (Mersch, Weal) combined for the two quickest goals in franchise playoff history, scoring just 10 seconds apart.
- The 39 seconds between goals scored by Sean Backman, Brian O’Neill and Nic Dowd in the third period mark the fastest three goals scored in Monarchs playoff history.
- Manchester scored at least five goals in consecutive playoff games for the first time since Games 3 and 4 against Binghamton in the 2011 Atlantic Division Semifinals.
- Six Monarchs (Forbort, Backman, O’Neill, Dowd, Shore, Mersch) tallied at least two points in the game.
- AndrewCrescenzi was called for a major boarding penalty and game misconduct at 3:20 in the second period.
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