Picking up where they left off in the regular season, Brian O’Neill and Jordan Weal scored two goals each and Manchester blitzed Portland, 5-2, in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference quarterfinal series at the Verizon Wireless Arena on Thursday night.
Game 2 of the best-of-five set is Saturday.
O’Neill, the AHL MVP and scoring champion in 2014-15, and Weal, a Second Team AHL All-Star who finished third in the league in scoring, combined for four of Manchester’s five goals and 13 of their 23 shots in the contest. Vincent LoVerde added a goal and two assists, and Jean-Francois Berube made 14 saves to earn the win.
Henrik Samuelsson and Jordan Szwarz scored for the Pirates, who had earned the eighth and final spot in the Eastern Conference playoffs with a last-minute victory in their final regular-season contest on Sunday.
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 – Portland at Manchester, 7:00
Game 3 – Sun., Apr. 26 – Manchester at Portland, 5:00
*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