March 13, 2010

Pirates fail to derail Bruins' opening run

PAUL BETIT

— By

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Doug Jones/staff photographer: Sunday, October,19, 2008: Portland Pirates' #10 Tim Kennedy defends behind his own goal vs. Providence Bruin# 23, Miko Lehtonen.

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Doug Jones/staff photographer: Sunday, October,19, 2008: Pirates# 9, Mike Card, lies proneon the ice as is teammates, #21 Mathieu Darche, and goalie, Jhonas Enroth defend an onslaught in the second that finds Bruins' #36 Brett Motherwell in the mouth of the goal.

Staff Writer

The unbeaten Providence Bruins rolled into town Sunday for their first visit of the season. They left the Cumberland County Civic Center with a solid 4-1 victory against the Portland Pirates before a crowd of 3,845.

The Bruins shut down Portland's power play to improve to 5-0. It was the first loss of the season for the Pirates, who were 5 of 16 on power plays for a league-leading 31.3 percent success rate in winning their first two games.

''Obviously, special teams was a big difference in the hockey game,'' Pirates Coach Kevin Dineen said. ''It won it for them and lost it for us.''

Providence, which killed off all of Portland's eight power plays, held a 2-1 lead at the end of the first period.

The Pirates scored first less than five minutes into the game when Paul Baier put in a shot from above the left hash mark for his first goal of the season. Baier, a rookie defenseman, had one goal while playing nine AHL games with Rochester last season.

The Bruins tied the game at 9:41 moments after killing off a penalty. Mark Bomersback scored from the top of the slot after Matt Lashoff stole the puck in the neutral zone.

Five minutes later, Brad Marchand darted across the front of the crease to tip in Matt Marquardt's shot from the top of the right circle, giving Providence the lead with his first career goal.

Marquardt made it 3-1 less than four minutes into the second period when he tipped defenseman Johnny Boychuk's blast from the right point past rookie goalie Jhonas Enroth.

Enroth, the Buffalo Sabres' second-round pick in the 2006 draft, made 26 saves in his first AHL start.

''I was very happy with our goaltending tonight,'' Dineen said. ''He obviously didn't have a chance on the second and third (goals). They were redirects.''

Less than seven minutes into the second period, the Pirates had a golden opportunity to get back into the game when they had a two-man advantage for 1 minute, 21 seconds, but they were unable to beat goalie Tukka Rask.

''I was really happy with the way we moved the puck (during that power play),'' Dineen said. ''We didn't stay within our structure, but we did create a lot of chances.''

Rask made four of his 26 saves during that power play, but he got help. Mark Mancari, who assisted on Baier's goal, twice hit posts on shots from the left circle.

''Any time in a game where you have a long five on three and you score, you gain momentum,'' Portland forward Mathieu Darche said. ''If you don't score, the other team gains momentum.

''It was a big turning point in the game, but there was plenty of game left after that.''

Martins Karsums got his third goal of the season into an empty net in the final minute.

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

pbetit@pressherald.com

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