LEWISTON — Tobias Rieder kept scoring, Mark Visentin kept stopping pucks and the Portland Pirates kept on winning.

Rieder was one of four Pirates to find the net Friday, Visentin stopped 24 of 25 shots and the team played arguably its most complete home game of the season in a 4-1 victory over the Eastern Conference-leading Manchester Monarchs in front of a sold-out crowd of 3,743 at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee.

“Through the first 40, it could have been one of our most complete 40 minutes we played all year,” Pirates head coach Ray Edwards said. “They’ve lost some pretty key guys out of their lineup this week. They played hard, but the lineup they put on the ice against the lineup we put on the ice, we should have won that game. They have four pretty good players in the NHL right now.”

Rieder, who now has five goals in four games played this season, defensemen Randy Jones and Chris Summers and Gilbert Brulé scored for the Pirates (5-5-0-1), who have now won three consecutive games, including two at home.

“This a step in the right direction,” Edwards said. “To be able to win a third game in a row at home, and the way we played the first 40 minutes, I was really happy. The execution was really good. Our work ethic was good.”

After a slower start to the season, the Pirates are starting to find a rhythm in their play. Part of that stems from an ability to maintain a mostly stable lineup, as the team’s NHL parent club, the Phoenix Coyotes, has minimized its call-ups in the past couple of weeks.


Friday saw a return to action for Brulé. Signed to a PTO by the Pirates, the former NHL first-round pick was a scratch due to injury in the team’s road game in Worcester last weekend. He made his presence known with a goal Friday.

“I’ve been in and out of the lineup a bit here with a couple of injuries, but it felt pretty good tonight, and hopefully on this three-in-three, bu body will hold up here,” Brulé said.

“He’s been really good for us,” Edwards said. “Not only has he been good production-wise, but he’s been really good with our young players. We didn’t know what to expect with him. We had to get to know him and he had to get to know us.”

Jones, a veteran defenseman playing in his fourth contest for the Pirates, started to feel a bit more comfortable, as well. His goal came on a defensive deflection.

The Pirates flew out of the gate Friday. They won the battles along the boards, dominated possession and kept the puck in the Monarchs’ end for nearly all of the first 10 minutes.

“If we play like that, it’s going to be hard for us to not put pucks in the net,” Brulé said. “We were all over them.We were putting lots of pucks deep and putting pressure. We were playing a North-South game, and not turning the puck over. It was good.”


They had two goals to show for their efforts, too.

Brulé got things rolling for the Pirates at 7:04 of the first, the beneficiary of a good play at center by Brendan Shinnimin. As Manchester tried to break through the middle, Shinnimin picked off a pass and fed Brulé at the Monarchs’ blue line. In on a partial breakaway, he rooked the puck over Manchester keeper Jean-Francois Berube’s glove hand for a 1-0 lead.

It took less than three minutes for the Pirates to add to that lead as they continued to pour on the pressure. Defenseman Randy Jones took a cross-ice feed from Brett Hextall and led a rush into the zone. Jones reached the left circle and tried to find Jordan Martinook at right post, where he was waiting all alone. Instead, the puck banked off a Manchester defender’s stick and beat Berube along the ice for a 2-0 lead.

Rieder collected his goal in the second frame, converting on a Portland power play at 9:27 after a point-to-point passing play between Brandon Gormley and Daine Todd.

Zach O’Brien, playing in his first game for Manchester, set up Scott Sabourin for a goal 8:04 into the third to help the Monarchs close their deficit to two goals, spoiling Visentin’s bid for a shutout.

But just after a power play expired for Portland, the Pirates ran their lead back to three goals when Summers fired a wrister through traffic from the left point and beat Berube high blocker.

NOTE: The Coyotes recalled rookie defenseman Connor Murphy on Friday, making the announcement less than an hour before the Pirates were set to face off against Manchester.

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