Monarchs roll past Pirates, complete sweep

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Manchester put the finishing touches on its first-round round masterpiece with a convincing 7-2 win over visiting Portland on Tuesday at the Verizon Wireless Arena, giving the Monarchs a four-game sweep of the teams’ Atlantic Division semifinal.

Behind timely goal-scoring and superb goaltending, the Monarchs earned their third series victory in team history, their first sweep, and will take on either Worcester or Lowell in the Atlantic Division Finals, their first appearance in the second round since 2007. Worcester currently leads its series against the Devils by a 3-1 count.

Manchester scored four times in the second period and added three more in the third to put away the Pirates.

Trevor Lewis notched a pair of goals for the Monarchs, scoring his second and third markers of the playoffs. Oscar Moller and defensemen Andrew Campbell and Joe Piskula each posted a goal and a helper, and Piskula finished plus-5 on the evening.

Kevin Westgarth and Bud Holloway rounded out Manchester’s scoring, and Holloway ended up with the game-winning goal for the fourth consecutive game this series after totaling five game-winners in 75 regular-season outings.

Rookie Andrei Loktionov picked up three assists for his first career playoff points, and goaltender Jonathan Bernier turned in another stellar performance with 44 saves on 46 shots.

The Pirates, who were swept out of the Calder Cup Playoffs for the first time since 2001, received their goals from Mark Mancari (1-1-2) and Nathan Gerbe, both of whom are candidates to join parent-club Buffalo for their ongoing Stanley Cup Playoff series against Boston.

Portland, which dropped the final four games of its 2009 first-round series to Providence, is now 0-8 in its last eight postseason contests.