Wednesday, December 11, 2013
The Portland Pirates pulled out a one-goal victory for the second straight night Saturday.
Friday night, the Pirates rallied twice from two-goal deficits to beat Bridgeport, 4-3.
Saturday night, after carrying a 4-1 lead into the third period, Portland held off the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins for a 5-4 win before 4,630 at the Cumberland County Civic Center.
''Friday night, they owned us in the first period. We weren't even out there,'' said Mike Mancari, who had three assists Saturday night. ''Tonight it was kind of the opposite. We started pretty well and we tailed off a bit there. It's something we have to work on.''
The Pirates skated the last two periods without center Dylan Hunter, who hurt his left foot near the end of the first period, and Jimmy Bonneau, who spent the third period on the bench after fighting twice in the second.
''There are no excuses,'' Mancari said. ''We've just got to keep it simple and not make it too complex.''
While taking just five shots on goal, the Pirates built a 3-0 lead in the first 14 minutes.
At 2:18, Colton Fretter finished off a two-on-one break with defenseman Marc-Andre Gragnani for his second goal of the season. Rookie center Felix Schutz had an assist, his first AHL point.
At 9:37, Marek Zagrapan finished off a two-on-one break for his first goal of the season.
At 13:40, rookie center Nathan Gerbe turned Mancari's feed from the left post into his first even-strength goal of the year.
''I just wanted to get the puck on net,'' Gerbe said. ''That's all I was looking for. Sometimes you get the bounce and it goes in.''
Less than nine minutes into the second period, Dave Gove made it 3-1 when he stole the puck and went end-to-end to finish off a three-on-one break with a short-handed goal.
With four minutes left in the second, Gerbe scored from the bottom of the right circle for his team-high fourth power-play goal of the season. Tim Kennedy, a rookie left wing, was awarded an assist to run his points streak to six games.
The Penguins, who beat the Pirates in the seven-game Eastern Conference finals last May, held a 15-4 edge in shots in the third period.
Jeff Taffe and Chris Minard scored goals to pull the Penguins within a goal with more than seven minutes left.
With 51 seconds left, Zagrapan scored an empty-net goal for a 5-3 lead.
With 15 seconds left, Taffe scored his sixth goal of the year.
Jhonas Enroth, in his second AHL start, made 16 of his 33 saves in the first period for the Pirates.
''I was happy with the way he played,'' Portland Coach Kevin Dineen said. ''I was sorry to see him scored on at the finish. We got outchanced 3-1 in the first period and he was the difference maker.''
NOTES: An auction of the pink jerseys worn by the Pirates on Saturday night to honor Breast Cancer Awareness Month starts Monday at portlandpiratesstore.com to benefit the American Cancer Society USA Hockey and the Buffalo Sabres, the Pirates' parent team, are expected to announce Monday that Buffalo will host the 2010 world junior tournament Anaheim Ducks General Manager Brian Burke attended the game The Pirates' next home game will be Nov. 7 against Springfield.
Staff Writer Paul Betit can be contacted at 791-6424 or at: