PORTLAND – Stefan Legein scored on a breakaway 2:52 into overtime to lift the Manchester Monarchs to an improbable 4-3 win Friday night against the Portland Pirates.
The Monarchs pulled out their sixth win in their last seven games by rallying from a 3-0 deficit in an AHL game played before 3,969 at the Cumberland County Civic Center.
“Give Manchester a lot of credit because they had a lot of guys out of the lineup, and we really had a very good first 25 or 30 minutes,” Portland Coach Ray Edwards said. “We looked pretty good, and then we just stopped. It was that simple. We stopped playing, stopped working, stop skating, stopped defending, and they didn’t.”
The Pirates appeared to be command after taking a 3-0 lead in the first 12 minutes.
“They have a belief system over there that they can come back, and they outcompeted us for the last half of the hockey game,” Edwards said. “We just kind of laid down a little bit and thought the game was over.”
The Pirates held a 15-9 edge in shots in the first period, but they were outshot 21-13 in the final two periods.
A little more than a minute into the game, rookie right wing Chris Brown slid in a rebound for his 20th goal of the season. It came eight seconds into a power play.
Brown shares the team lead for goals with Alexandre Bolduc, who got the first of his two assists on Brown’s goal.
Darian Dziurzynski, a rookie left wing who signed to a new contract with the parent Phoenix Coyotes earlier in the day, made it 2-0 by scoring on a breakaway at 8:55.
The lead grew to 3-0 at 12:43 when Jordan Szwarz tipped in rookie defenseman Brandon Gormley’s blast from the left point for his eighth goal.
Manchester cut into its deficit eight minutes into the second period when defenseman Andrew Bodnarchuk put in a shot from the far side of the left circle for his seventh goal.
The Monarchs then scored twice in a span of 48 seconds early in the third to forge a 3-3 tie, getting goals from Brandon Kozun and rookie sensation Tyler Toffoli.
After Kozun swept a rebound into right side for his 21st goal, Toffoli scored his team-high 28th goal on a short-handed breakaway, just seven seconds after the Pirates went on a power play. It was the league-high 14th short-handed goal allowed by Portland.
Toffoli has 10 goals in 10 games against the Pirates.
“Hopefully, we learned from (this),” Edwards said. “You don’t want to have those learning lessons this time of year, but sometimes it happens. We just have to be better.”
NOTES: Before the game, the parent Coyotes recalled left wing Rob Klinkhammer from the Pirates for the second time in eight days and sent Swedish defenseman David Rundblad back to the Pirates. Rundblad wasn’t available to play. … The Pirates are now three points behind Atlantic Division leader Providence, which won 2-0 against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. … The Coyotes signed Dziurzynski, the younger brother of Ottawa Senators forward David Dziurzynski, to a two-year entry-level contract. In 41 games with the Pirates, Dziurzynski has six goals and three assists.
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