MANCHESTER, N.H. — Different goalie, same result, with a feisty twist.
This time Manchester’s J.F. Berube was in net, and he stopped 23 shots to lead the Monarchs to a 4-0 fight-filled win Saturday night at Verizon Wireless Arena.
Manchester goalie Patrik Bartosak made 29 saves in a 5-0 win over Portland in Lewiston on Wednesday.
“It wasn’t even close tonight,” said Portland Coach Ray Edwards. “They were by far the better team. We were slow. They were fast. We were chasing them all night, taking penalties. We weren’t close tonight.”
The Monarchs scored three power-play goals on seven chances and improved to 47-19-2-6 to clinch first place in the American Hockey League’s Atlantic Division. The Pirates lost their seventh straight, fell to 24-38-3-8, and lost to Manchester for the fourth time since March 29 and the third time in a week.
“We’ve been struggling, and where we’re at in the standings and you’re coming down to the last few games and things don’t go your way, it’s a lot of frustration that boils over,” said Brett Hextall, one of several Pirates who fought.
“Not to mention it’s a team we’ve played 12 times (this season) and three times in the last week. You play a team that much and you find a way to hate each other.”
The Pirates were called for 68 minutes in penalties, Manchester for 67. Portland’s Darian Dziurzynski fought three times, twice with Scott Sabourin.
Linden Vey scored a pair of power-play goals for the Monarchs and defenseman Vincent LoVerde assisted on his team’s first three goals.
The Monarchs took advantage of a five-on-three power play and a fortunate bounce to score the only goal of the first period.
Vey took a shot from out front, and the puck deflected off a Portland defender, popped into the air and dropped behind goalie Louis Domingue into the net 7:22 into the game.
The Pirates were down two skaters after Mark Louis went off for tripping and Brandon Yip was called for slashing 20 seconds later. Vey scored his second power-play goal at 9:11 of the second period for a 2-0 lead.
Jordan Weal continued to haunt the Pirates, scoring off a pass from LoVerde to make it 3-0 with 3:19 left in the middle period. Weal had a hat trick last Saturday against the Pirates. Two of those goals came in the final two minutes of regulation after the Monarchs pulled their goalie for an extra attacker. Manchester won in overtime, 4-3.
The Monarchs ran it to 4-0 on Brayden McNabb’s power-play goal with 6:26 left.
Domingue finished with 35 saves.
The Pirates play Norfolk at 4 p.m. Sunday in Lewiston and close out the season with home games Tuesday against Albany and Saturday against St. John’s.
The Monarchs are concerned about the status of Brian O’Neill, who injured his leg during a third-period fight with Hextall. O’Neill has 26 goals and 21 assists for 47 points, tied for second on the team in scoring.