February 25, 2010

Mancari is the hero for Pirates

PAUL BETIT

— By

Staff Writer

PORTLAND — By the slimmest of margins Friday night, the Portland Pirates took the opening round of a two-game weekend series against the Bridgeport Sound Tigers.

Mark Mancari, who sent the game into overtime when he scored with one second left in regulation, scored the lone goal in a shootout to lift the Pirates to 3-2 win before a crowd of 3,313 at the Cumberland County Civic Center.

''People got their money's worth, and a little bonus there,'' Portland Coach Kevin Dineen said. ''We had to take it right to the end to score in regulation.''

The two teams, battling for fifth place in the AHL's eight-team Atlantic Division, play again tonight at the Civic Center.

To pull out the win, the Pirates had to overcome a 44-save performance by Bridgeport goalie Scott Munroe.

''He's a great goalie, and he did a great job,'' Mancari said. ''But you have to give their (defensemen) a lot of credit, too. They cleared the pucks. He made the first stop, sometimes the second, and they were there to help him out.''

Portland goalie Jhonas Enroth, who stopped 4 of 5 shots to lead the Pirates to a 2-1 shootout win against Manchester on Tuesday night, stopped all five shooters during Friday night's shootout.

''The shootout is good for the audience and good for the sport, so I don't mind it,'' said Enroth, who made 23 saves as the Pirates recorded their fourth win in five games. ''I get a chance to shine and show what I got, so I really like it.''

Mancari forged a 2-2 tie when he put in a rocket from center point for his team-high 19th goal with a second left in regulation after Portland, which was on the power play, had pulled Enroth.

''I just wanted to get it through,'' he said. ''We have some players who are very good in front of the net.''

The Sound Tigers, who had won three of their first four games against the Pirates, took a 2-1 lead with 3:53 left in the third period. Defenseman Mark Flood scored his fifth goal on a shot from center point on their third power play of the game.

The score was tied 1-1 at the end of the first period.

The Sound Tigers scored at 12:24 when former UMaine center Greg Moore poked a rebound into the right side for a short-handed goal, his 11th of the season.

The Pirates, however, remained on the power play, and Brad Larsen stuck his sixth goal inside the right post at 13:54 to tie the score.

Despite holding an 11-4 edge in shots, Portland was unable to get the puck past Munroe during the second period.

At 1:05, Munroe used his left pad to stop a penalty shot by Tyler Ennis, who was hauled down during breakaway. At 9:30, he made a sensational save when Mancari swooped in uncontested from the right side.

NOTES: A groin injury kept Nathan Gerbe out of the Portland lineup for the fourth straight game. Injuries to center Cody McCormick, defensemen Drew Schiestel and Dennis Persson forced the Pirates to play with 17 skaters, one fewer than permitted.

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

pbetit@pressherald.com

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