Wednesday, March 12, 2014
Special to the Press Herald
WORCESTER, Mass. — A building block.
That's what Portland Pirates Coach Kevin Dineen called Wednesday night's 5-3 victory against the Worcester Sharks.
And with good reason.
When the Pirates hit the ice, they had lost nine of their 10 road games.
''It's a building block,'' Dineen said. ''There are a lot of different stats over the course of a season and this was our first come-from-behind win. That's something to build on.
''Worcester came at us extremely hard and we didn't respond very well. But it's how we kept with it and stayed with the program. Sometimes it doesn't pay off when you get behind like that. But obviously I was happy with the way we played and the outcome of the game.''
Dineen definitely was pleased about the way the Pirates played in the third period, when they scored three times and outshot Worcester, 14-4.
''I think it was very important for us to get this win, especially coming from behind,'' Nathan Gerbe of Portland said. ''We got off to a slow start but you try not to pay attention to your record. You just come into each game and play as hard as you can.
''We've come from behind and fallen short in overtime two games in a row. Like Coach said, it's hard coming from behind and it says a lot for the team.''
Mark Mancari scored while skating four-on-three late in the third period of a 3-3 game.
Tyler Ennis passed to Gerbe in the right circle and Gerbe made a perfect cross-ice pass to Mancari in the left circle. Mancari blasted a one-timer past Alex Stalock at 14:30 for his second goal of the game.
''We've been talking about working on things,'' Dineen said. ''Believe it or not, that's a play we worked on today and it paid off for us so we'll take that one.''
Portland made it 3-3 at 9:23 of the third when Derek Whitmore one-timed a pass from Phil Gogulla. Jeff Cowan added an empty-net goal with 1.3 seconds remaining.
The Pirates, who spotted Worcester a 2-0 first-period lead, sliced their deficit to 3-2 in the second.
When Stalock ventured behind his net for a loose puck on a power play, Gerbe swiped the puck and fed Ennis, who stuffed it into an open net 45 seconds after the faceoff to pull Portland within 2-1. But the Sharks regained a two-goal lead just under a minute later when Benn Ferreiro buried a rebound.
Mancari made it 3-2 when he clanged in a slap shot off the left post at 6:24.
''We've had a tough start to the season,'' Dineen said. ''We have to keep scratching away. When you do that, good things seem to follow. It was a good character win.''