March 23, 2010

Minding is his business

J.P. Lamoureux steps up when the regular goalie goes down and makes key saves to right the Pirates.

By Paul Betit pbetit@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

PORTLAND - With starting goalie Jhonas Enroth out for at least three weeks with a sprained left ankle, the Portland Pirates are counting on his backup, J.P. Lamoureux, to step up.

click image to enlarge

Matt Halischuk of the Lowell Devils, left, attempts to keep control of the puck and hold off Joe DiPenta of the Portland Pirates during their game Tuesday night at the Cumberland County Civic Center. The Pirates ended a two-game slide with a 3-2 victory in a shootout.

John Patriquin /Staff Photographer

click image to enlarge

Brad Larsen of the Portland Pirates looks for a way to get the puck past Lowell goalie Mike McKenna during the Pirates’ 3-2 victory in a shootout Tuesday night at the Cumberland County Civic Center.

John Patriquin /Staff Photographer


FRIDAY: Pirates at Manchester Monarchs, 7:30 p.m.

SATURDAY: Pirates at Lowell Devils, 7 p.m.

SUNDAY: Pirates vs. Manchester Monarchs at Lewiston, 4 p.m.

Lamoureux, in his second start since Enroth went down, showed Tuesday night he's ready.

Making six of his 28 saves in overtime, then stopping all four shooters in a shootout, Lamoureux helped the Pirates snap a two-game losing streak with a 3-2 victory against the Lowell Devils before 3,904 fans at the Cumberland County Civic Center.

"That's why they brought me in," said Lamoureux, a University of North Dakota grad in his first AHL season.

"In case something happened to (Enroth), they wanted someone who was capable of playing a good string of games and get points for the team. I really want us to have a strong finish to the regular season and having us going on all cylinders going into the playoffs."

Before Tuesday night, the Pirates, the second-place team in the Atlantic Division, had lost five of their previous six games.

Portland Coach Kevin Dineen appeared pleased with Lamoureux's performance.

"He's got a good opportunity in the net, and he's doing a good job of grabbing hold of it," Dineen said.

Even though the Pirates trailed until the last five minutes of the third period, Dineen was happy with his team's effort.

"That was a good hockey game by us," he said. "It wasn't an offensive blizzard by any stretch, but I thought we played an outstanding game."

Tyler Ennis sent the game into overtime when he scored his 21st goal of the season with five minutes remaining in regulation on a shot from the slot off a centering pass from Mark Mancari.

"Our power play wasn't clicking tonight, but when you keep your composure and keep bringing the pressure, good things seem to follow," Dineen said.

The Pirates really brought the pressure in the third period, when they held a 17-4 edge in shots.

The score was 1-1 at the end of the first period.

Portland defenseman T.J. Brennan opened the scoring 9:11 into the game when he put in a blast from the left point for his fifth goal of the season.

With 4:22 left, Nick Palmieri tied it on a power play, putting in a shot from the bottom of the right circle for his 20th goal.

The Pirates held a 19-7 advantage in shots in the second period, but Lowell moved into the lead when Matt Halischuk jammed the puck inside the left post for his ninth goal after Kory Nagy threaded a pass from the right corner through three defenders.

During the shootout, Nathan Gerbe and Mancari scored as the Pirates beat the Devils for the fifth time in eight games this season.

Lowell dominated play in overtime, but Lamoureux, making his 21st appearance in 69 games, stopped everything the Devils threw at him.

With seven seconds left in overtime, he stopped center Tim Sestito on a breakaway to preserve the tie.

"Personally, I've had a lots of ups and downs on the ice, and I'm just trying to stay consistent and when I get the chance, try to get points for the team," Lamoureux said.

"Luckily for me, I have an opportunity to get on a roll and get in a groove, and I've always thrived at being the guy and carrying the load. I just want to give this team a chance to get a good seeding in the playoffs."


Staff Writer Paul Betit can be contacted at 791-6424 or at: pbetit@pressherald.com


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