November 25, 2012

Pirates finally call the shots

David Rundblad's OT score avenges two losses to the Manchester Monarchs in recent weeks.

By ALLEN LESSELS Special to the Press Herald

MANCHESTER, N.H. -- They got one back.

The Portland Pirates survived a late goal by the Manchester Monarchs, killed off a late penalty and then got a bit of revenge on a pretty score by defenseman David Rundblad to knock off the home team, 3-2 in overtime, on Sunday at the Verizon Wireless Arena.

Manchester had beaten the Pirates twice this season, most recently 5-1 Tuesday at the Cumberland County Civic Center.

"We played really bad the last time and they killed us," Rundblad said. "It's a great feeling to bounce back from that game. We play them like 12 times so it's important to keep winning against them and let them know we're here to win."

The Monarchs won the first meeting between the teams this season here on Oct. 20, 6-4.

"They've had our number this year," said Portland Coach Ray Edwards. "It was a big win in the division and we've got to start winning in the division and beating some of these rivals."

Manchester goalie Martin Jones made 42 saves in the 5-1 win on Tuesday and the plan was to get a bunch of shots on him again on Sunday.

The Pirates did that with 50 shots total, 20 of them in the third period.

Portland's Chad Johnson made 37 saves for the win.

The Pirates batted back a few times in the game.

The teams traded goals from defensemen in the first period.

Jake Muzzin's first goal of the year put the Monarchs on top at 9:54 of the period.

Oliver Ekman-Larsson answered for the Pirates on the power play with 3:39 left in the first. The puck popped out to Ekman-Larsson and he fired it back through traffic and past Jones. Jordan Martinook and Rundblad had assists.

Ekman-Larsson, who scored the game-winner in overtime against Springfield on Friday night, has five goals and seven assists in 11 games.

After a scoreless second period, Manchester went on top, 2-1, on a Tyler Toffoli goal with 7:38 left in the third period.

"We kind of kept the same mindset," said Pirate forward Chris Brown. "We wanted to keep shooting the puck. We preached shots today."

The Pirates had dominated play at the start of the third period and kept the pressure on after Manchester scored. They had the puck deep in the Monarchs' end when Brown came up with it and slid a shot that beat Jones with 5:29 left in regulation.

"I kind of just turned and shot it and it had eyes and found its way in," Brown said

Ron Klinkhammer was called for holding with just 1:25 left in regulation and the Pirates had to kill the penalty through regulation and into OT.

Then Andy Miele got the puck to Rundblad around the Portland blueline. The defenseman did the rest.

"I'm an offensive guy and I like to get the puck moving and shooting," Rundblad said. "I saw the 'D' was kind of standing still on the blueline and I figured I could go around them."

So he did and moved in on Jones and beat him to the glove side with the game-winner 1:37 into OT.

"That was a heckuva move by David," Edwards said. "He's obviously got some one-on-one skills."

Rundblad has two goals and 10 assists in his 16 games.

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