MANCHESTER, N.H. – Too much Bud Holloway. Again.

And a sluggish start didn’t help, either.

Holloway, who had six goals in the first 30 games of the season, scored three Friday night to lift the Manchester Monarchs to a 4-3 win over the Portland Pirates.

Two of his goals came before the game was three minutes old, and the Pirates spent the rest of the night playing catch-up. They fell to 17-9-1-1 and saw their winning streak snapped at three.

They get a chance to avenge this one quickly, though. The teams meet again tonight at the Cumberland County Civic Center in the rubber match of a three-game midseason series.

“It’s certainly a huge game,” said Portland Coach Kevin Dineen. “We put a newfound importance on that game (tonight) … We’ve got to keep pace. We need to keep pushing.”

Portland won the opener in this three-game set, 4-2 last Sunday in Manchester.

The teams were tied atop the Atlantic Division going into Friday night’s game, and the Monarchs, now 18-11-1-1, moved two points in front with the win.

The Worcester Sharks pulled into a second-place tie with the Pirates, getting a point in an overtime loss Friday against Connecticut.

The Monarchs jumped in front quickly on two goals by Holloway. He’s the guy who scored the winning goal in four straight games last spring when Manchester swept the Pirates out of the playoffs in the first round.

Holloway smothered a pass by goalie Jhonas Enroth behind the cage and beat him to the net for the first goal, 1:23 into the game. Just over a minute later he tipped in a Cory Elkins blast from above the circle for a power-play goal.

Manchester was 1 for 3 on the power play, while Portland was only 1 for 8 and also allowed a short-handed goal in the third that turned out to be the winner.

The Pirates, who had a 16-5 edge in shots the third period and 35-26 advantage for the game, couldn’t catch a break.

They were sure the puck crossed the goal line behind Manchester goalie Jeff Zatkoff with 7:30 left in the first period, but referee Jean Hebert ruled no goal and play continued.

“We had opportunities and we didn’t bury them,” said forward Maxime Legault. “And we know we scored on that goal they denied.”

Said Dineen: “I wish we had replay in this league.”

Pirate defenseman Marc-Andre Gragnani chopped Man-chester’s lead in half at 9:16 of the second period with a shot from the left boards that got through traffic and beat Zatkoff.

But Holloway — who else? — got that one back to make it 3-1 with 5:13 left in the period.

Matt Ellis cut it to 3-2 just 28 seconds into the third period.

The Pirates went on the power play 27 seconds later, but Andrei Loktionov scored short-handed for a 4-2 lead.

“I can’t be disappointed with the effort,” Dineen said. “I can pick and beat up some of our guys for some of our mistakes, and I can be pretty excited about some of the things we did.”