April 23, 2018
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Portland Pirates pick off win in shootout


ORONO, Maine — Former University of Maine star Michel Leveille said he hoped returning to the Alfond Arena would lead to his first goal of the season for the Manchester Monarchs in their American Hockey League game against the Portland Pirates Tuesday night.

It did.

But even with his go-ahead goal and a weird 120-footer by teammate Marty Murray which staked the Monarchs to a 3-1 lead after two periods, the Pirates came storming back in the third period to tie it 3-3 on goals by Aaron Slattengren and Colton Fretter.

The teams went to a shootout and Portland won 2-1 to pick up the extra point as Tim Kennedy and Mark Mancari scored for the Pirates with Vladimir Dravecky being the only scorer for Manchester.

The AHL uses five shooters apiece, unlike the NHL, which uses three before going to sudden death.

Leveille, a two-time All-American, and former University of Maine linemate Teddy Purcell had chances in the shootout, but Leveille hit the right post and Adam Dennis got his glove on Purcell’s shot.

Slattengren sliced the lead to 3-2 at the 5:17 mark of the final period when he poked the puck home from just outside the crease. Fretter drew the Pirates even 7:02 later with a backhander from between the faceoff dots that glanced in off the arm of Manchester goalie Jon Quick.

Leveille broke a 1-1 tie early in the second period when Murray purposely fired the puck wide and Leveille beat Portland’s Chris Butler to the puck, cut across the crease and slid a backhander past Portland goalie Jhonas Enroth’s left leg and the post.

Murray’s bouncer eluded the left pad of Portland Pirates goalie Enroth to give the Monarchs their only two-goal lead with one second remaining in the middle period.

Manchester’s Andrew Campbell and Portland’s Colin Murphy swapped late first-period goals before Leveille broke the tie 2:39 into the second period and Murray extended the lead with his fluke shorthanded goal.

Scoring chances were few and far between in the opening 10 minutes, but the pace picked up and each team scored in the last 4:13.

Campbell opened the scoring when former Denver University star Gabe Gauthier stickhandled cleverly from right to left across the high slot and sent a chest-high wrist shot toward the net that Campbell redirected into the net.

It was a well-deserved goal for the Monarchs, who had carried play up until that point.

It was Gauthier’s goal in the 2004 NCAA championship game that gave Denver a 1-0 win over Maine in the Bears’ last title game appearance.

Former UMass defenseman Mike Kostka set up Murphy’s breakaway equalizer 2:24 later with a pinpoint pass up the middle of the ice from the extended goal line to the far blue line.

Murphy had snuck behind the defense and he converted by directing a backhander along the ice through the five-hole of former UMass goalie Quick.

Portland goalie Adam Dennis and Manchester’s Quick each made important saves in the waning minutes of the third period and the five-minute overtime.

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