Thursday, April 17, 2014
By MIKE SCANDURA Special to the Press Herald
WORCESTER, Mass. - And you wonder why coaches get gray hair?
WHO: Pirates vs. Norfolk Admirals
WHEN: 6:30 p.m. Tuesday
WHERE: Cumberland County Civic Center
Just ask Portland Pirates Coach Kevin Dineen.
Portland built a 3-0 lead after two periods Sunday against the Worcester Sharks -- only to cough up four goals in the third period.
Mark Mancari's goal with 28 seconds left in regulation not only completed his second hat trick in 24 hours but also sent the game into what was a scoreless overtime.
Portland eventually won 5-4 on shootout goals by Corey Tropp and Luke Adam, which allowed Dineen to exhale.
"The game certainly had a lot of personality to it," said Dineen, whose team finished a 3-0 weekend. "It was two hockey teams that have played each other a ton (their eighth game).
"We ran a short bench tonight. We had a couple of guys out, which made some challenges for other players. But we made some young-guy mistakes at the end that not only let them back in the game but also let them take the lead.
"You've really got to love our push back not only to score a big goal to get the tie, but to bring it home in the shootout."
Portland goalie Jhonas Enroth (32 saves) stopped three shots in the shootout, and another Worcester attempt hit the post. Meanwhile, Corey Tropp beat Alex Stalock top shelf in the first round, and Luke Adam clinched the victory with a slap shot in the fourth round.
"It's actually awesome," Mancari said of the nail-biting win. "What a lot of people didn't realize was we were playing with nine forwards. I think we had some collapses in the third period and I think that comes with being tired.
"I'm really proud of all the guys. I think everyone played extremely well this weekend. I think everyone stuck together out there very well."
The Pirates could have come unglued in the third after Worcester scored four goals in a span of 6:39, the go-ahead goal coming at 13:10 when Andrew Desjardins clanged in a shot off the left post.
But Mancari tied it from a scrum in front.
"Nobody put their head down," Mancari said. "Everyone put their working boots on, went out and skated hard and put the puck to the net, and good things happened."
Mancari now has an 11-game point streak, with 12 goals and seven assists.
"When you have that thing flowing like (a streak), I think you just keep riding it," Dineen said. "I think I'm a coach that can feel when a player has his 'A' game. That might be game to game or through a streak.
"Our players earn a lot of trust and get some quality situations. That certainly was something Mark has been demanding with his play. Every time he's been on the ice he's been a positive factor. He's always a good option to put out there."
Mancari's positive effect was evident starting at 3:07 of the first period when he deflected in Dennis McCauley's pass for a 1-0 lead.
Dennis Pearson made it 2-0 with a power-play goal at 7:36, and Mancari added a short-handed goal at 15:31 of the second.