Francis Wathier scored with 2.9 seconds remaining in regulation to break a 2-2 tie and keep the Portland Pirates alive in their Eastern Conference quarterfinals series with the Manchester Monarchs. His first of the postseaon made it 3-2 for Portland in Game 3 at the Cross Insurance Arena on Sunday evening.
The Pirates opened the scoring for the first time in the series, with Phil Lane deflecting a shot in front at 14:32 of the first. Manchester would strike twice – Michael Mersch at 19:34 of the first, Jordan Weal at 5:28 of the second – to take a quick 2-1 lead, but a successful rebound attempt from Eric Selleck at 12:50 of the second period beat Pirates netminder Louis Domingue and knotted the game at two.
Wathier’s game-winner at 19:57 of the third period gave the Pirates their first win in the series, and prevented Manchester from clinching a series win and moving on to the conference semifinals.
The Monarchs outshot the Pirates 33-23, with Domingue stopping 31-of-33 and his Manchester counterpart, J.F. Berube, turning aside 20-of-23.
Game 4 will be played at 7 PM on Thursday, Apr. 30 in Portland.
Eastern Conference Quarterfinals – Series “A” (best-of-5)
1-Manchester Monarchs vs. 8-Portland Pirates
Game 1 – Thu., Apr. 23 – MANCHESTER 5, Portland 2
Game 2 – Sat., Apr. 25 – MANCHESTER 6, Portland 2
Game 3 – Sun., Apr. 26 – PORTLAND 3, Manchester 2
Game 4 – Thu., Apr. 30 – Manchester at Portland, 7:00
*Game 5 – Sat., May 2 – Portland at Manchester, 7:00
*if necessary… All times Eastern