Winners of five straight, the Pirates were also the lone unbeaten team at home. 

Both of those streaks came to a screeching halt against the visiting Manchester Monarchs, who handed Portland a 4-0 loss in front of 1,519 fans at Cross Insurance Arena. It was Portland’s first shutout loss of the season.

“That’s a good little reality check,” Portland coach Ray Edwards said. “We’ve had a good run and you’re not going to win them all. Our guys are pretty disappointed. They knew they weren’t very good tonight.”

The Pirates (7-6) were undone by their inefficiency on special teams. They finished 0-for-7 on the power play, with the Monarchs giving them plenty of chances with the extra skater. Manchester was whistled for four penalties in the first period, four more in the second and two in the third.

“We just got outworked,” Portland center Alex Bolduc said. “It starts from the older guys down and the older guys weren’t good enough, I wasn’t good enough and we’ll come back Friday.”

Portland was among the league’s best on the power play entering Tuesday, operating at a 19.6 percent success rate — ninth in the AHL. But Manchester’s penalty kill unit — ranking fifth in the AHL at 87.8 percent — won the battle of the special teams.


“Our execution was poor and we didn’t win enough pucks, didn’t win enough faceoffs,” Edwards said. “When you’re on the power play, if you don’t win the faceoff it’s tough to get momentum.”

Despite spending nearly half the first period in the penalty box, the Monarchs found the back of the net. Sean Backman gave Manchester a 1-0 lead at 5:55 of the opening frame, beating Portland goaltender Louis Domingue five-hole with a shot from the right circle. 

David Van der Gulik and Nic Dowd earned assists. 

The Monarchs (7-5) doubled their advantage at 3:11 of the second period following heavy pressure in Portland’s defensive zone. Nick Shore and Nick Ebert fired shots on goal that were blocked aside by Domingue, but Justin Auger crashed the net and buried Ebert’s rebound.

“We just got away from our game,” Bolduc said. “They outplayed us, outworked us, simple as that.”

Any chance of preserving their streak was thwarted in the first couple of minutes of the third period. The Monarchs scored twice in the opening 2:24 of the frame.

Colin Miler blasted a one-timer from the right circle over Dominque’s stick-side shoulder after receiving a cross-ice pass from Brian O’Neill at 1:14. Jordan Weal scored on the power play 1:10 later.

“They just kept skating,” Edwards said of Manchester. “They were the faster team tonight. You have to give them a lot of credit. They won more races, they won more pucks, they won more battles, all that stuff. All the stuff we had been doing really good, we got away from that tonight. We can’t be successful if we do that.”

Manchester goaltender Jean-Francois Berube finished with 19 saves in the shutout win. Domingue made 21 stops in a losing effort

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