PORTLAND – Picking up where they left off Friday night, the Manchester Monarchs took a 2-0 lead in their best-of-seven AHL playoff series with a 3-1 win over the Portland Pirates on Saturday night.

The Monarchs, who lost seven of 10 games against the Pirates during the regular season, scored all their goals in the first period and earned their second straight victory at the Cumberland County Civic Center.

Manchester scored two third-period goals to eke out a 2-1 win in the opener. Saturday night, the Monarchs didn’t waste any time, as they took control from the outset.

“Our first period was as strong as we’ve been all year,” Manchester Coach Mark Morris said. “We came out with a big push, and it paid off.”

The Monarchs outshot Portland 21-5 in the first period.

“To think they could roll over us in the first five minutes, I thought things would change,” Portland Coach Kevin Dineen said. “Not only did the ball start rolling, but it rolled down hill and they rolled all over us in the first period.

“It was, frankly, quite embarrassing that we played that way in front of our home fans, in front of ourselves. We have a lot higher expectations than we showed in that first period.”

Corey Elkins opened the scoring 7:26 into the game when he finished off a breakaway, sliding a backhander under the pads of J.P. Lamoureux.

Bud Holloway made it 2-0 at 13:11. Using defenseman Marc-Andre Gragnani to create a screen, Holloway popped his second playoff goal inside the left post.

At the 17-minute mark, Trevor Lewis deflected defenseman Jacob Muzzin’s blast from the left point for a 3-0 lead.

It could have been much worse for the Pirates.

Lamoureux, making just his second playoff start, stopped three breakaways. He finished with 34 saves.

“We’re trying to bring it,” Morris said. “In our zone, we didn’t give them a lot of quality shots even though we spent a lot of time in our own end. We did a good job of getting our sticks on pucks from the point.”

The Pirates tried to climb back into the game during a more evenly played second period.

Derek Whitmore, who scored Portland’s goal Friday night, struck again midway through the period on a power play.

Manchester goalie Jonathan Bernier made 22 saves for the second straight game.

 

NOTES: Portland captain Brad Larsen returned to the lineup. Larsen missed the final 17 minutes of Friday night’s game after stopping a shot with his left leg. With left wing Phillip Gogulla out of the lineup because of an undisclosed injury, rookie forward Luke Adam played his first AHL game for the Pirates.

 

Staff Writer Paul Betit can be contacted at 791-6424 or at:

pbetit@pressherald.com