Goalkeepers J.P. Lamoureux and Todd Ford of the Portland Pirates are trying to make the best of a bad situation.

Since starting goalie Jhonas Enroth was sidelined March 13 with an injury to his left ankle, Lamoureux and Ford have helped the Pirates earn points in each of their last eight games.

“It’s really not about me,” said Lamoureux, a 2008 University of North Dakota graduate who spent last season in the ECHL with the Alaska Aces. “It’s about getting this team into the playoffs and getting a good seeding.”

The two have helped the Pirates firm up their hold of second place in the Atlantic Division, which could send as many as five teams to the playoffs.

Lamoureux, who served primarily as a backup, has a 4-0-1-1 record since Enroth went down. In those six starts, he has a 2.17 goals-against average and a .906 saves percentage, which is better than his season average for both statistics.

Ford has allowed three goals and compiled a .955 saves percentage while winning both of his starts since his call-up last month from the ECHL’s Carolina Stingrays to serve as the new backup.

“It’s great to come into a situation where the team works well in front of you and there’s a great defensive corps to make your job a little bit easier,” Ford said. “It’s a good atmosphere to be here right now.”

Lamoureux, who has appeared in 26 of the Pirates’ 74 games, said the heavier workload has helped improve his performance.

“For me, I think it’s kind of getting into a groove,” he said. “When you get into a nice groove, game in or game out, there’s a lot of consistency there. I’m really comfortable with carrying the load, and I think over my career I’ve proven that if I play a lot of games I put up good numbers.”

Ford, who has split his six pro seasons between seven teams in the ECHL and AHL, is used to starting or being the backup.

“You just have to be flexible and be able to adapt, is the main thing, coming from a different league and a different team,” he said. “It’s a lot of communication with your (defensemen) and with your forwards. It’s these guys taking me in and accepting me like I’ve been here all year. I appreciate that, and it means a lot.”

While trying to make up for Enroth’s absence, both goalies have had a chance to showcase their talents.

“When called upon this year, I’ve had to step in and try and get wins for the team,” Lamoureux said. “Now I have the ability to play a streak of games, play on a more regular basis. I think I’ve been able to prove when I get the load in front of me I can play really well and be a good goalie in this league.”

“Hopefully by having a good year this year and showing that I can play, it could set me up for a more solid place in the AHL,” Ford said.

 

NOTES: Forward Mark Mancari, the team’s leading scorer, practiced Thursday with the Pirates at the MHG Ice Centre in Saco after returning from a one-game call-up with the NHL parent Buffalo Sabres. A family matter is expected to keep veteran forward Brad Cowan out of the Portland lineup for the second consecutive weekend.

 

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

[email protected]