Portland Pirates rookie left wing Luke Adam seems ready to follow in the footsteps of Nathan Gerbe and Tyler Ennis.

Gerbe and Ennis are now skating regular shifts in the NHL with the parent Buffalo Sabres. Both were named AHL rookie of the year after spending their first professional season with the Pirates.

After the first weekend of the season, Adam looks like he is a serious contender for the award.

“Obviously, as a rookie in any league, I think that’s everyone’s goal,” said Adam, who was named the AHL’s player of the week after scoring two goals and had two assists in an opening 6-5 win against Manchester last Saturday night. “It would be pretty neat to do that, but I don’t want to get ahead of myself.

“We’re only two games into the season, and I’m just trying to focus on putting together one game at a time.”

Adam, selected by the Sabres in the second round of the 2008 NHL draft, is a different kind of player than Gerbe and Ennis, two small forwards who rely on their speed and guile to outwit much bigger defenders.

Adam possesses a lot of speed and skill, too, but, at 6-foot-2, 203 pounds, he has a physical dimension his two predecessors don’t have.

Adam, who grew up in St. John’s, Newfoundland, is starting his first full professional season, but he didn’t make his professional debut last weekend.

Last spring, after his season ended with the QMJHL’s Cape Breton Screaming Eagles, he played three games for the Pirates against the Monarchs in the first round of the playoffs. Manchester swept the four-game series, but Adam got to see for himself what it was like to play in the AHL.

“I got in here, and I got to see exactly what it was like to play in the American Hockey League,” he said. “I got in here at a good time with the playoffs. Of course, it didn’t work out the way we wanted it to work out, but in those three games I played I think I learned a lot.”

 

FORMER UMAINE defenseman Matt Duffy won’t be in the lineup Friday night when the Kalamazoo Wings open their ECHL season against the Toledo Walleye.

Before he was assigned to the Wings, Duffy, a Windham native who divided his first two pro seasons between the AHL’s Rochester Americans and the ECHL’s Florida Everblades, suffered an upper-body injury during the Bridgeport Sound Tigers’ training camp.

“I don’t know how long he will be with us,” Kalamazoo Coach Nick Bootland said. “As soon as he gets healthy, I’m sure he’ll get another look up there.”

 

THE AHL has begun phasing in the use of two-referee officiating.

The new officiating development agreement with the National Hockey League establishes a plan for introducing the two-referee system in the AHL.

“The two-man system has significantly enhanced the NHL game and we look forward to work with the AHL in developing quality young officials,” said Terry Gregson, NHL director of officiating, in a statement recently issued by the AHL.

The two-man referee system could be used in as many as 25 percent of the regular-season games and all the Calder Cup games.

Until this season, one referee and two linesmen were assigned to all AHL games.

One referee was used in the Portland Pirates’ first two games of the season.

 

TWO-TIME Olympic gold medalist snowboarder Seth Wescott of Farmington will sign autographs from 6-7 p.m. and during the first intermission Friday night at the Pirates’ game against Bridgeport at the Cumberland County Civic Center.

 

Staff Writer Paul Betit can be contacted at 791-6424 or at: [email protected]