Monarchs clinch series with 5-3 win over Portland Pirates

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Advance to Eastern Conference Semifinals

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MANCHESTER, NH – Michael Mersch posted three points (2 goals, assist) to help the Monarchs to a 5-3 win over Portland on Saturday night at the Verizon Wireless Arena. They will advance to the Eastern Conference Semifinals against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton beginning on Wednesday.

It was Manchester’s (3-2) first playoff series win since the 2010 Division Finals against Worcester.

“We didn’t make things easy on ourselves,” Head Coach Mike Stothers said.  “Portland showed why they were in the playoffs.  (Portland) should be proud of their team, and I am even more-so proud of ours.”

The Monarchs outshot the Pirates (2-3) 38-27 and went 1-for-5 on the power play. Portland went 2-for-6 on the man advantage.

Mersch opened up the scoring just 1:42 into the game.  He capitalized on a rebound at the crease to score his fourth goal of the playoffs and gave the Monarchs an early 1-0 lead.

Later in the first period, Ryan Horvat scored his first professional playoff goal.  The tally came at 16:34 and doubled the Monarchs’ lead to 2-0.

Manchester added another goal at 3:44 in the second period. Jordan Weal made it 3-0 on the Monarchs’ only power-play goal of the night.

Henrik Samuelsson broke the shutout with his second goal of the playoffs.  The power-play goal came at 12:33 in the second period to bring the score to 3-1.

The Pirates scored again at 16:13 in the second when Tyler Gaudet made it 3-2 with a power-play goal.

Brendan Shinnimin then scored the game-tying goal with just one second remaining in the second period, making it 3-3. The play was originally ruled no goal, but was overturned after a replay review.

Mersch scored his second of the game to take the lead back at 1:16 in the third period.  His second goal of the game was put in the top corner.

Just 20 seconds later, Adrian Kempe scored the first goal of his professional career, giving the Monarchs a 5-3 lead at 1:36 in the third.

The Monarchs will move on to the Eastern Conference Semifinals to face the Penguins. The series begins Wednesday at 7 p.m. at the Verizon Wireless Arena.

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Notes:

  • With two goals tonight, Michael Mersch (5 goals) has the most playoff goals for a Monarchs rookie since at least the 2005 Calder Cup Playoffs.
  • Mersch (5 goals, 3 assists) also has the most points in the playoffs for a Monarchs rookie since Dwight King (2 goals, 7 assists) and Andrei Loktionov (1 goal, 8 assists) in the 2010 Calder Cup Playoffs.
  • Jordan Weal and Mersch are the first pair of Monarchs to score at least five goals in a playoff run since Bud Holloway (7), Gabe Gauthier (7) and Trevor Lewis (5) did it in 2010.
  • The Monarchs improved to 1-3 all-time in winner-take-all playoff games.
  • RyanHorvat and Adrian Kempe became the seventh and eighth different Monarchs players to score this postseason.

    The Manchester Monarchs will face Wilkes-Barre/Scranton in the best-of-seven Eastern Conference Semifinals beginning on Wednesday at 7 p.m. at the Verizon Wireless Arena.

    This will mark the first ever meeting between these two clubs in the postseason.  The Monarchs advanced after beating Portland in the first round in five games, while the Penguins swept Syracuse in their first-round series.

    The complete schedule is as follows:

    Game Date / Time Home Away
    1 May 6 / 7 p.m. Manchester Wilkes-Barre/Scranton
    2 May 7 / 7 p.m. Manchester Wilkes-Barre/Scranton
    3 May 9 / 7:05 p.m. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Manchester
    4 May 11 / 7:05 p.m. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Manchester
    5* May 12 / 7:05 p.m. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Manchester
    6* May 15 / 7 p.m. Manchester Wilkes-Barre/Scranton
    7* May 16 / 7 p.m. Manchester Wilkes-Barre/Scranton

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About Carol Robidoux 5210 Articles
Journalist and editor of ManchesterInkLink.com, a hyperlocal news and information site for Manchester, NH.