PORTLAND – An undermanned Portland Pirates hockey team will leave Maine this afternoon for a three-game swing through Connecticut and upstate New York.

The Pirates returned to practice at the Portland Ice Arena on Wednesday after a two-day break, which followed a stretch of eight games in 10 days. Topping the list of missing players was forward Tyler Ennis, Portland’s leading scorer and the AHL’s rookie of the month for February.

“Ennis is out with a concussion, and we’ll have to evaluate him in both the short and the long term,” Portland Coach Kevin Dineen said. “He’s going to be out this weekend, and we will go from there.”

Ennis, a 165-pound forward with 19 goals and a team-high 40 assists, suffered the injury when he was cross-checked by Jay Harrison, a 215-pound defenseman for Albany, during the final minute of the Pirates’ 4-2 win Sunday at the Cumberland County Civic Center.

Veteran forwards Brad Larsen and Jeff Cowan also didn’t practice Wednesday for the Pirates, who went 5-2-1 during their busy stretch to move past the Worcester Sharks into first place in the AHL’s Atlantic Division.

Dineen listed both players as questionable for this weekend’s games.

“Brad just got worn down because of the amount I played him,” Dineen said. “I shouldn’t be playing him as much as I did. But when he’s been such a big part of our special teams and centering our top line over the last two months, you tend to keep going there. Unfortunately for him, I used him a little too much, and he’s feeling the effects of that this week.”

Forward Kyle Wanvig, who missed the last six games with a concussion, did return to practice on Wednesday.

“We’re cautiously optimistic he’ll be able to play for us this weekend,” Dineen said. “It will depend on how he responds today. He had good skate by himself (Tuesday). I got good feedback from that, and I’m optimistic he’ll be able to make it back into the lineup this weekend.”

Rookie forward Travis Turnbull and defenseman Matt Generous will be unable to play against Bridgeport on Friday and against Syracuse on Saturday. Each is serving a two-game suspension for their involvement in a fight following Sunday’s game.

Dineen is unsure whether he’ll make moves to fill the temporary roster vacancies.

“We’ll evaluate where we are (today),” he said.

 

Staff Writer Paul Betit can be contacted at 791-6424 or at:

[email protected]