” title=”Monarchs – Toffoli” width=”150″ height=”99″ class=”size-thumbnail wp-image-14029″ /> Monarchs’ rookie Tyler Toffoli recorded a hat trick against the Portland Pirates Tuesday night. Manchester would go onto win, 5-1. (PHOTO: Rosina Vacchiano)
Toffoli scored three times and Martin Jones made 42 saves to lead the Monarchs past the Pirates, 5-1, before an intimate Tuesday night crowd of 2,746 at the Cumberland County Civic Center.
The line combination of Toffoli, rookie Tanner Pearson and second-year forward Linden Vey has given the Pirates trouble when they’ve been on the ice this season. In the only other previous meeting back on Oct. 20, Toffoli, Vey and Pearson combined to record six points (4g, 2a) as the Pirates lost 6-4 at the Verizon Wireless Arena.
Tuesday night, the trio combined for eight points (3g, 5a) in the win.
“They’re young guys that have scored at every level,” said Monarchs’ coach Mark Morris. “They’ve got good chemistry on the ice and right now we’re trying to teach them how to be 200-foot players.”
It wasn’t as if the Pirates didn’t have a chance to score goals. They just failed to capitalize on those chances when they had them.
Portland’s power-play has struggled over the last six games, going 0-for-32 which dates back to a third period power-play goal on Nov. 10 in Wilkes-Barre, PA. They’d finish the night 0-for-10 with the man advantage.
“We’ve got to keep working,” said Portland coach Ray Edwards who was clearly frustrated about the team’s power play woes.
The Pirates outshot the Monarchs in the first period, 19-6, but trailed where it counted most on the scoreboard, 2-0.
“Usually, when you get that many chances a couple will go in,” Edwards said. “We’ve got to find out a way to put it in.
Toffoli, who was selected by the Los Angeles Kings in the second round of the 2010 Entry Draft, started the scoring at the 10:33 mark of the period when his shot from the right faceoff circle deflected off a defenseman in front of Pirates’ goalie Chad Johnson, who finished the night with 20 saves, to give the Monarchs a 1-0 lead.
At 16:14, Toffoli made it 2-0 for Manchester when he intercepted a pass in the Monarchs’ offensive zone and skated into the slot, snapping a shot by Johnson.
“The game can change so easily if we just find a goal in the first or second period,” Edwards said. “It’s such a frustrating game because we had chances, but we don’t score. We give up a chance and it ends up in our net.”
Manchester extended its lead, 3-0, when Toffoli won the battle in front of Johnson, flipping the rebound over his shoulder from the top of the crease at the 11:12 mark of the second period to complete the hat trick.
It didn’t get any better for Portland in the third period.
Stefan Legein scored at 10:52, followed by Slava Voynov’s power-play goal with 2:18 left in the game put the Monarchs’ in a commanding position, 5-0, snapping a three-game losing streak.
“It’s been a tough stretch,” said Morris. “We’re down three regular defensemen and forward Jordan Nolan has been out a long time. I give a lot of credit for the kids stepping up. We seem to have a series of games where we were finding a way to lose instead of battling through. We made a lot of mistakes during that stretch, but this was a good win for us.”
The Pirates snapped Jones’ shutout bid with only 33 seconds left in the game as Evan Brophey scored his second goal of the season.
NOTES: The American Hockey League announced on Tuesday the league’s Board of Governors approved the continued testing of Rule 82 (hybrid icing) until play resumes in the National Hockey League, at which time the Board of Governors will reexamine whether to make it permanent…. The Pirates will debut its black 20th Anniversary jersey’s this Friday when they play the Springfield Falcons…The game will also mark the beginning of the team’s yearly toy drive. Anyone who brings in an un-opened toy beginning Friday until their final home before Christmas on Dec. 19th will receive two tickets to a future Pirates home game…. Pirates’ forward Chris Conner missed his third straight game with an upper-body injury and is currently listed day-to-day…. Monarchs’ captain Marc-Andre Cliché has appeared in all 15 games for the Monarchs this season. He’s currently fifth on the team in scoring with two goals, four assists. Cliché was a member of the Lewiston Maineiacs during the 2006-’07 season.