March 13, 2010

Pirates just get back to basics


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Staff Photo by Shawn Patrick Ouellette: Portland's Derek Whitmore slides to break up a pass by Manchester's Andrew Campbell during a Manchester power play in first period action Sunday November 30, 2008.

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Staff Photo by Shawn Patrick Ouellette: Pirates teammates swarm around Derek Whitmore to congratulate him after his first period goal Sunday November 30, 2008.

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Staff Writer

The Portland Pirates returned to the workmanlike style that helped them to one of the best starts in franchise history.

With the blue-collar line of Aaron Slattengren, Colton Fretter and Derek Whitmore leading the way, the Pirates snapped a five-game losing streak Sunday with a 4-0 victory against Manchester before 2,997 fans at the Cumberland County Civic Center.

Rookie goalie Jhonas Enroth made 23 saves for his second AHL shutout as Portland, which earned points in 13 of its first 14 games, won for the first time in nearly two weeks.

''Lunch pail. Blue collar. Whatever you want to call it, that's a fitting description,'' Portland Coach Kevin Dineen said. ''That's really how we have to play to get out of the muck we were in.''

The win came in the Pirates' last game at the Civic Center for nearly three weeks and they won it the old-fashioned way: They earned it.

''Everyone had a good game today,'' said Fretter, who scored twice. ''Everyone was working hard and the bounces went our way. We had a couple of tough games and we just knew we needed to turn it around.''

Whitmore gave Portland the lead less than three minutes into the game when he took a pass from behind the right side of the net from Slattengren and got his third goal of the season. It was the first of three assists for Slattengren.

''(Dineen) was rolling the lines tonight, and it worked out I got out there a little bit extra,'' Slattengren said. ''It's nice to play a little bit more, especially when you're helping the team to score goals.''

''I think we were just getting traffic to the net,'' Fretter said. ''We were getting the rebounds and crashing the net a lot more.''

Enroth did what he could to protect the lead. Four of his nine saves in the first period came during a span of 1 minute, 25 seconds when the Monarchs had a two-man advantage.

''We needed him early to make some saves for us, and we kind of took it from there,'' Slattengren said.

Fretter made it 2-0 when he sent the rebound of Slattengren's shot from the bottom of the right circle into the left side of the net 9:43 into the second period, 2 seconds after Manchester killed off a penalty.

Rookie Nathan Gerbe got his team-high 13th goal and Fretter put in his fourth of the season in the third period.

Former Lewiston Maineiacs goalie Jonathan Bernier, who has started 10 games for the Monarchs, made 22 saves in his first game at the Civic Center.

NOTES: Portland center Matt Ellis, who missed the previous three games because of a groin injury, participated in the pregame skate but did not dress for the game. Portland left wing Jimmy Bonneau is expected to miss six to eight weeks after breaking his right hand in a fight Wednesday night with Worcester defenseman Brett Westgarth. Former University of Maine right wing Teddy Purcell leads the Monarchs in scoring, with nine goals and eight assists.

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

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Additional Photos

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Staff Photo by Shawn Patrick Ouellette: Portland's Nathan Gerbe drives the puck down the ice as Manchester's Alec Martinez moves in on defense in first period action Sunday November 30, 2008.


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