By ALLEN LESSELS Special to the Telegram
MANCHESTER, N.H. - Tyler Toffoli's second hat trick of the season against the Portland Pirates lifted the Manchester Monarchs to a 5-3 win over the visitors on Saturday night at the Verizon Wireless Arena.
The loss brought a pair of Portland winning streaks to an end. The Pirates had won six straight games overall and three straight over the Monarchs.
"We've been playing pretty well, so I don't want to hammer us too hard," said Pirate Coach Ray Edwards. "We showed a little bit of life in the third period, but we didn't deserve to win that game."
Portland fell to 16-11-1-1 and quickly looked ahead to a Thursday night showdown at the Cumberland County Civic Center against Providence. The Pirates held on to first place in the Atlantic Division. Providence beat Connecticut 3-1 on Saturday to climb over idle Worcester and into second place in the division, two points behind Portland.
The Monarchs scored three power-play goals -- two by Toffoli, one short-handed.
"They took advantage of their power plays and we didn't," said Portland forward Andy Miele. "The game nowadays is a lot of special teams. Good job by them."
Toffoli gave the Monarchs a 4-2 lead with 2:43 left in the third period and Miele made it a one-goal game 34 seconds later.
Edwards pulled goalie Chad Johnson (31 saves) with a little over a minute to play for an extra attacker and Toffoli sealed things with his third goal with 13 seconds to play.
Peter Mannino, who played 15 games for Portland last year, made 27 saves for the win.
The Monarchs grabbed a 2-1 first-period lead.
The three goals were scored within a four-minute span and all came on special teams.
First, the teams traded short-handed goals. Manchester's Dwight King took a pass from Marc-Andre Clich?nd blasted a shot from the top of the left faceoff circle under the crossbar for 1-0 at 4:52 of the period.
Portland's Rob Klinkhammer shot around defenseman Nick Deslauriers to answer that one with a shortie at 8:03.
Just 33 seconds later, Toffoli, after first fanning on a shot, regrouped and beat Johnson on the power play.
The teams matched goals in the second period, this time on the power play.
Linden Vey upped Manchester's lead to 3-1 at 7:05. Portland's Ethan Werek got it back with just 1.3 seconds left in the period.
The Pirates, despite a 17-9 edge in shots in the third period, could never quite catch up.
"We finally stuck to our game in the third period and we took it to them," Miele said. "But you have to give credit to them. They had a good game. ... When you beat a team three times in a row, you're going to get their best game."
NOTES: The Pirates scored on one of their six power-play chances. Manchester had three goals in six power plays.Tweet