With Alexandre Bolduc called up to Arizona, Jordan Martinook not yet back from the NHL and speedy Lucas Lessio and scrappy Tyler Gaudet out with injuries, Portland’s young forwards had a chance to make an impression on Coach Ray Edwards.

They did, in Friday night’s 3-1 loss to the visiting Manchester Monarchs, and it wasn’t a particularly good one.

“Our forward group was not very good tonight,” Edwards said after the Pirates allowed a pair of third-period goals to the top team in the Atlantic Division. “We didn’t give up a lot, but we didn’t generate anything. That’s disappointing.”

A crowd of 2,064 at Cross Insurance Arena saw the Pirates take a 1-0 lead late in the first period but fail to put another puck past Monarchs goalie Jean-Francois Berube, who finished with 24 saves. The Pirates (14-11) have lost two in a row after winning their previous six.

Manchester is 16-5-1-1.

“There was opportunity there for guys to get more minutes and to play in different situations and they didn’t take advantage of it,” Edwards said. “We didn’t have nearly enough good players.”

The Pirates jumped ahead on a power-play goal by defenseman Dylan Reese, his second of the season. Brendan Shinnimin and Evan Oberg assisted on Reese’s blast from left point, which set off a shower of stuffed animals in the annual Teddy Bear Toss.

All 620 of the donated teddy bears were collected. On Tuesday the Pirates will begin personally delivering them to patients at the Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital.

Because little more than a minute remained in the period, officials sent both teams to the dressing rooms during the bear-and-ice cleaning.

Upon the players’ return, they played the final 1:17 of the first period before switching ends for the start of the second. Although goalie Mike McKenna (23 saves) kept them close, the Pirates lacked the zip and verve with which they started the game.

“I think we got a little cocky with the 1-0 lead,” Reese said. “We thought it was going to be an easy game.”

Instead, Manchester got the equalizer from Nick Shore after crisp passing on the power play, with assists from Colin Miller and Derek Forbort.

The Monarchs added two more in the third. Josh Gratton tipped in a shot by Miller and then set up Zach O’Brien on a 2-on-1 break.

“It was really the work ethic that was bothersome to me,” Reese said. “Turnovers are going to happen, but I saw a lot of straight legs out there, guys not really giving it all they had, or staying out there for too long a shift, and it came back to haunt us.”

The second straight three-game weekend continues for the Pirates Saturday night in Providence and ends with a Sunday matinee in Worcester. They return to Portland Wednesday against, once more, Manchester.

NOTES: Earlier Friday, Arizona called up Bolduc, the team captain, whose nine goals and 20 points both lead the team.

Martinook and defenseman Andrew Campbell each spent less than a week with the Coyotes. Campbell returned to Portland after one NHL game, against the Bruins. Martinook lasted six days before being sent back. He is due back in time for the game in Providence.

Friday also marked the Portland debut of center Greg Miller, signed to a professional tryout contract from the ECHL Orlando Solar Bears on Tuesday. An undrafted free agent who played four seasons at Cornell University, Miller (13 goals, 14 assists in 23 ECHL games this season) saw AHL action last winter with Bridgeport (nine games) and Oklahoma City (four).

Friday, Miller broke in alone on Berube with a little more than a minute left but shot wide. Earlier, he nearly set up a Henrik Samuelsson goal.

Injury-plagued goalie Mike Lee was reassigned to Gwinnett.

Glenn Jordan can be contacted at 791-6425 or

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