MANCHESTER, N.H. - The first place Portland Pirates faltered in Manchester on Sunday, dropping a 5-2 decision to the Monarchs. The loss gives the Monarchs a 4-3 advantage in the VIP Cup Series.
Darian Dziurzynski got the Pirates on the board 3:26 into the game with a shot that beat Manchester starter Martin Jones. Dziurzynski's goal was his 4th of the season, with Phil Lane and Brandon Gormley adding assists. The Monarchs tied the score on their first power play of the afternoon, as Jordan Weal put the puck past Pirates goaltender Chad Johnson with 7:07 to go in the first. The Pirates responded with their first power play goal in their last 24 chances, as Brandon Gormley would beat Jones for his 4th of the year with 4:53 left in the first, and the Pirates would hit the first intermission with a 2-1 lead.
The second period belonged to the Monarchs. Andy Andreoff scored the game tying goal with 5:38 to go in the second, with Brian O'Neill picking up the assist. Just over 2 minutes later, Andreoff fed Monarchs captain Marc-Andre Cliché, who buried the one-timer to give Manchester the lead with 3:21 to go in the second.
In the third, the Monarchs again dominated. Jordan Weal got his second of the game with 10:40 left in regulation, and David Meckler scored his first of the season off a rebound just 48 seconds later, sealing the win for Manchester.
The victory gives Manchester a 4-3 advantage in the VIP Cup Series, and the Pirates their first back to back losses since November 17th and 20th. Portland is now 24-15-1-1 on the year, with the Monarchs now in 2nd place in the Atlantic Division with a 19-17-2-2 record (44 points).
The Pirates get back to action next Friday when they travel to Providence for the second Friday in a row to face the Bruins.