February 25, 2010

Pirates find a way to go 3-0 at home


— By

Staff Writer

PORTLAND — The Portland Pirates remained unbeaten at the Cumberland County Civic Center, but needed overtime to do it.

Mark Mancari scored a power-play goal with 24 seconds left in overtime to lift the Pirates to a 3-2 win against Lowell Friday night before a crowd of 3,409.

The Pirates are 3-0 at home, 1-7 on the road.

''We found a way to win,'' Portland Coach Kevin Dineen said. ''At the end of the day, you don't critique wins.''

Still, it wasn't a pretty victory as the Pirates had to fend off the Devils during the final two periods after taking a 2-0 lead.

''We know we've got a lot of work to do,'' Dineen said. ''We know our (defensemen) are under siege, right now. They've seen a lot of (teams) come extremely hard at them, and it's hard to help them. They're going to have to go back there and man up and start making plays under pressure.''

Lowell held a 21-7 edge in shots in the second and third periods, and some outstanding work by goalie Jhonas Enroth, who made all his 36 saves during regulation, kept the Pirates in the game.

''Tonight, we took the brunt of it and Jhonas played fantastic,'' Portland defenseman Mike Weber said. ''That's exactly the way every team's playing us, and the way we want to play.''

Mancari's winning goal came on a shot from the bottom of the left circle off rookie center Tyler Ennis' feed from the slot.

Lowell right wing Stephen Gionta sent the game into overtime when he scored from the bottom of the right circle with 1:05 left in the third period.

''We weren't very good in our own end,'' Mancari said. ''We made too many little mistakes that put them back in the game.''

The Pirates led 2-1 at the end of the first.

Derek Whitmore opened the scoring 13:19 into the game, tipping Travis Turnbull's blast from the left point past Lowell goalie Jeff Frazee for his first goal of the season.

Less than two minutes later, Kyle Wanvig swept in with the puck from the bottom of the left circle for his second goal since joining the Pirates last weekend. A pass from Ennis set up that goal, too.

With 2:28 left, Louis Robitaille, who spent his first AHL season with the Pirates in 2004-05, scored his first goal of the season after intercepting a Wanvig clearing pass in the right circle.

NOTES: With rookie center Paul Byron out of the Portland lineup because of an upper-body contusion, the Pirates signed Hans Benson, an extremely physical right wing who played last season in the AHL with Springfield and the previous two AHL seasons with Peoria An undisclosed injury also kept Marc-Andre Gragnani, who led Portland's defensemen in scoring last season, out of the lineup Tonight's game against the Bridgeport Sound Tigers can be viewed on Time Warner Channels 9, 12 or 21.

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


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