For the Portland Pirates, who are dealing with their own issues, this game couldn’t have come at a better time.
Patrick O’Sullivan scored the game-winning goal and added an assist as the Pirates defeated the Monarchs, 4-1, before 5,389 at the Verizon Wireless Arena in Manchester, New Hampshire.
The loss by the Monarchs was their sixth straight, who have yet to win a game in 2012.
Manchester also loss forward Robbie Czarnik in a scary incident less than four minutes into the third period after a hit by Pirates’ captain Dean Arsene left the Detroit native unconscious on the ice as his helmet came off and he hit his head on the ice.
Czarnik was on the ice for several minutes before being taken off the ice by stretcher. No word if he was taken to a local area hospital for observation.
Arsene, who was involved in a fight with Dwight King, was given a match penalty for a hit to the head and a game misconduct. As a result of the match penalty, Arsene is suspended pending review of play by the AHL.
The Pirates were down a man for five minutes as a result, but killed off the major penalty and seized the momentum in the game, something that’s been lacking from the Pirates lately.
With 1:19 left in the game, David Rundblad let a slap shot fly from the point for a power-play goal, beating Jeff Zatkoff. It was Rundblad’s second goal in his second AHL game since being assigned by the Coyotes on Friday.
Brett MacLean added an empty-net goal for the Pirates with 30 seconds remaining in the game, giving them four of a possible six points.
The game got off to an inauspicious start for the Pirates as they lost their starting goalie Curtis McElhinney to a lower-body injury after he overextended while making a save six minutes into the game.
Justin Pogge in relief stopped 25 of 26 shots, allowing his only goal at the 2:45 mark of the second period when Nick Deslauriers ripped a shot from the point that deflected into the net to tie the game at 1-1.
Patrick O’Sullivan scored his third goal of the season two minutes later, dragging the puck around the Monarchs defenseman, finishing off the odd-man rush as the Pirates regained the lead, 2-1.
It was the first time in six games, dating back to Dec. 31 at home against Worcester, when Pirates held a lead after forty minutes.
Brock Trotter opened the scoring for the Pirates with 4:15 left in the first period on a breakaway, sliding the puck behind Zatkoff after intercepting pass at the far blueline.
Zatkoff stopped 19 shots in the loss.