LEWISTON — With veteran center Gilbert Brule providing the spark, the Portland Pirates cruised to a 4-1 win against the Manchester Monarchs before a sellout crowd at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee Friday night.
The Pirates opened the game with perhaps their best first 40 minutes of the AHL season to run their winning streak to three games.
“Tonight was a step in the right direction,” Portland Coach Ray Edwards said.
“To win at home, and with the way we played during the first 40 minutes, I was happy. This was really good. Our work ethic was good.”
“If we keep playing like that, we’re going to be tough,” said Brule, a veteran of seven NHL seasons who put in his fourth goal of the season on a breakaway to open the scoring seven minutes into the game. “We kept putting pucks on the net and we were all over them.”
The Pirates took advantage of an undermanned Manchester squad to run their record to 5-5-0-1. Earlier this week, four of the Monarchs were called up to the NHL by the parent Los Angeles Kings
The Pirates held a 2-0 lead at the end of the first period.
A little less than three minutes after Brule’s goal, defense- man Randy Jones, another NHL veteran, put in a shot from the bottom of the left circle during a two-on-one break for his first goal since joining the Pirates from their NHL parent Phoenix two weeks ago.
Tobias Rieder, a rookie forward from Germany, made it 3-0 less than 10 minutes into the second period by jamming in his third power-play goal.
Rieder, who had missed seven games with a broken foot, has scored five goals in four games.
The Monarchs had a chance to close the gap when they were awarded a four-minute power play after Darian Dziurzynski drew blood with a high stick. Scott Sabourin erased two minutes of the power play with an interference call, but the Pirates allowed just three shots on goal during the penalty.
Sabourin spoiled goaltender Mark Visentin’s bid for his first shutout of the season when he came down the slot and scored his second goal of the season eight minutes into the third period after rookie Zach O’Brien won a faceoff just outside the blue line. Visenti, making his seventh consecutive start, stopped 24 shots to run his record to a 4-4-0-1.
Portland defenseman Chris Summers completed the scoring with less than five minutes left when he capped a power play by putting in a shot from the left point for his first goal of the season.
NOTES: The parent Phoenix Coyotes called up rookie defenseman Connor Murphy, who was expected to join the team for a home game Saturday night against the Tampa Bay Lightning. … A standing-room-only crowd of nearly 4,000 attended the game. It was the Pirates’ second sellout in the seven games they’ve played at the Colisee this season.
Paul Betit can be contacted at 791-6424 or at: