Sunday, April 20, 2014
By Paul Betit firstname.lastname@example.org
PORTLAND - The Portland Pirates got ready for a stretch of road games by playing a road-style game at home Saturday night.
The Pirates didn't give up much against the Albany Devils, keeping it simple on the way to a 2-0 win before 6,001 at the Cumberland County Civic Center.
"This is the game we have to play every night," said center Ethan Werek, who had a goal and an assist to lead the Pirates to their third consecutive win. "Our team is hungry. We're good defensively. Structurally, we're sticking to our systems."
The Pirates, who don't play another game in Portland for three weeks, are getting good goaltending.
Rookie Mark Visentin, back in net after two games as the backup, made 22 saves to post his second shutout.
Visentin got the start after Mike Lee, another rookie, allowed a total of three goals in two games. Portland's other goalie, Chad Johnson, allowed a total of two goals in two starts for the parent Phoenix Coyotes this past week.
"We've proven we've got some good goalies in this organization, and there's going to be competition for years to come in this organization from all of these guys," Pirates Coach Ray Edwards said. "It's just nice to know you can put a guy in there every night and have a chance to win with him."
Werek's role has expanded since the NHL lockout ended, with several teammates getting promoted to Phoenix, and he's taking advantage of it.
"I've been really focusing on playing one shift at a time and not worrying about things I can't control," said Werek, in his second pro season. "Every time I'm out there, I'm just working as hard as I can to just control what I can control."
Werek has posted points in five of his last six games, with three goals and three assists.
"Now that I'm getting more of an opportunity, I want to take advantage of it and show my skill and stay in this role," he said.
Portland took the lead early in the second period. Werek forced a turnover behind the Albany goal and got the puck out to the left circle to Chris Conner, who sent a shot inside the far post for his ninth goal of the season.
Werek completed the scoring with 12:35 remaining, finishing off a rush with a shot from the top of the left circle for his ninth goal.
NOTES: The Pirates play six of their next seven games on the road. They will host the St. John's IceCaps on Feb. 17 at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee in Lewiston. They aren't scheduled to play another game at the Civic Center until Feb. 24, when they will host the Manchester Monarchs. Albany played without leading scorer Bobby Butler, who was called up by the New Jersey Devils. A lower-body injury kept rookie defenseman Brandon Gormley out of the Portland lineup.
Staff Writer Paul Betit can be contacted at 791-6424 or at: