LEWISTON — It took the Portland Pirates nearly 13 minutes to realize shooting the puck would be not only advisable but quite fruitful Saturday night.

Tim Kennedy scored on Portland’s first shot at 12:41 of the first period, opening a deluge of five unanswered goals as the Pirates rallied from an early 2-0 deficit to defeat the Manchester Monarchs, 7-5, on a night the Pirates inducted Lewiston native Tom Caron into their Hall of Fame (see related story).

Kennedy and Jordan Martinook finished with a pair of goals each while Andy Miele added a goal and three assists for the Pirates. Manchester outshot Portland, 28-22, but the Pirates were 4-for-8 on the power play. Chris Rawlings made 23 saves to pick up his first win in his first AHL start before 2,589 at Androscoggin Bank Colisee.

One night after falling behind Providence, 5-1, in the first period, Portland found itself in another early hole when Jordan Weal (power play) and Brian O’Neill gave the Monarchs a 2-0 cushion 5:38 into the game. 

“The first period wasn’t good,” Portland coach Ray Edwards said. “I thought Chris held us in there in the first. We had a decent second half to the first period to get the game tied up.”

Kennedy’s ice-breaker took a fortuitous hop over the leg pad of Manchester’s Jean-Francois Berube, a sign the goaltender was in for a short night between the pipes.

Kennedy tied it at 18:42 on Portland’s third power play of the night. 

Forty-one seconds into the Pirates’ first power play of the second  period, Miele collected a pass Tobias Rieder in the left circle and slapped it past Berube to put Portland in front, 3-2.

“We’ve got some guys that can execute (on the power play),” Edward said. “Last night, we only had two. The execution wasn’t great. But tonight, obviously, the opportunities we had, we put them in the net.”

Randy Jones’ even-strength goal made it 4-2 at 14:00, then Martinook chased Berube (13 shots, 8 saves) with Portland’s third power-play goal at 16:39.

Patrik Bartosak relieved Berube and quickly found himself in the same quandary as his predecessor as Manchester drew a too many men on the ice penalty. But Andy Andreoff scored short-handed to pull the Monarchs back within 5-3 at 17:21 of the second.

Martinook potted the Pirates’ fourth power-play goal at 9:02 of the third. The Monarchs made the crowd nervous with goals from Sean Backman and O’Neill to close back to within one with 1:40 left. Brandon Yip allayed any fears of a winless week at home with an empty-netter with 11 seconds remaining.

With the win and Scranton/Wilkes-Barre’s loss, Portland staved off elimination from playoff contention one more night.

“We have a lot of pride, so it’s trying to play for jobs next year, trying to earn to play for Phoenix this year, and (playing) for the name on the front of the jersey, if you will,” Edwards said.

Portland travels to Worcester on Tuesday, then returns to host Hershey on Wednesday.


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