PORTLAND - The Portland Pirates only needed seven seconds of overtime to secure a 4-3 win over the Manchester Monarchs at the Cumberland County Civic Center Sunday. Chris Conner net the game winner to give the Pirates a 5-4 lead in the VIP Cup series against the Monarchs, presented by VIP Parts, Tires & Service.
Pirates' starter Mike Lee kept the Pirates in the game early, stopping Anthony Stewart on a breakaway chance. Both teams would fail to capitalize on their power play opportunities in the opening frame. Brandon Kozun would open the scoring for Manchester, snapping a shot over the shoulder of Lee his 19th goal of the season at 14:06, giving the Monarchs a 1-0 advantage that they carried into the first intermission.
The Pirates wasted little time in the second period before evening up the game. Andy Miele set up Phil Lane for the equalizer, Lane's sixth of the year, just 1:28 into the period. The Pirates would strike again when Maxim Goncharov sent home a blast from the blue line for his first of the year at 16:21 to make it 2-1 just after the end of a Matt Case penalty.
Manchester responded early in the third period, with Colton Yellow Horn doing the damage. Yellow Horn recorded his ninth point in eight games with the Monarchs, scoring his 3rd goal of the season at 2:10 of the period. Phil Lane then struck again for the Pirates, taking a feed from Rob Klinkhammer and sending it home for his second of the night at 5:47 to give the Pirates a 3-2 lead. Manchester evened the score at the 8:04 mark as Anthony Stewart got his 3rd of the year, and the game remained tied for the rest of regulation.
It took the Pirates only 7 seconds to score in the extra frame, as Chris Conner tallied his 10th goal of the year to send the fans home happy. The Pirates improve to 4-1 in overtime this season, and 7-2 overall in extra time. Portland improves to 31-19-1-1 on the year, while Manchester falls to 24-24-3-3, with Mike Lee winning his 6th game for the Pirates in 6 starts. Portland also picks up their 18th home win of the season, good for 1st in the Eastern Conference and a tie with the Abbotsford Heat for 1st in the AHL.
The Pirates get back to action Tuesday night as they face the first place Providence Bruins in a pivotal divisional matchup. Puck drop is set for 7 PM at the Cumberland County Civic Center.