Sunday, March 9, 2014
By MIKE SCANDURA Special to the Press Herald
PROVIDENCE, R.I. - When Portland Coach Kevin Dineen held a meeting after Saturday's embarrassing 6-1 loss to Manchester, he didn't do it to hear his own voice.
The same was true Sunday morning, when Mark Mancari, captain Tim Ellis and Tim Conboy held a players' meeting.
The purpose of each meeting was to prevent the season from getting out of hand even though they stepped on the ice Sunday for what was only their 21st game.
But when you've lost three in a row and have been outscored 11-5 in that stretch, it's not like the Pirates were going to be saved with some magic formula popping out of nowhere.
The words delivered in those meetings rang home loud and clear as the Pirates spotted the Providence Bruins a 1-0 lead and then countered with five unanswered goals for a 5-1 victory.
Mancari posted his third career hat trick and chipped in an assist for good measure.
"The coach sat us down and had a good talk with as after the game because the way we played (Saturday night) was unacceptable," Mancari said. "There are a lot of things that need to be said and addressed immediately. And there are a lot of things that you have to wait on because there's so much emotion in the room.
"With our captain Matt Ellis, myself and Tim Conboy, we came into the rink and had a really good meeting this morning. Everything kind of turned around and everybody was focused."
Providence's David Ling scored a power-play goal at 9:54 of the first period and then goalie Jhonas Enroth slammed the door.
Enroth finished with 33 saves in arguably his best performance of the season.
"He's looking really, really confident in the net," Mancari said. "He's more vocal, which is good. He's (a Swede) so speaking English at the start was hard for him. But he picked that up quick last year.
"He's being really smart with his goalie calls. He's so confident ... his positioning is so good. We love to have him here but we like to see him (in the NHL with Buffalo), too."
Mancari had a stick in Portland's first goal when he passed to Drew Schiestel inside the blue line and Schiestel gunned a shot past a screened Nolan Schaefer at 11:02 of the opening period.
Mancari gave Portland a 2-1 lead with a power-play goal -- a mere six seconds before the period ended. Then he increased Portland's lead to 3-1 at 4:32 of the second with a wrist shot that clanged in off the crossbar.
After that, the Pirates were bolstered by Corey Tropp's goal late in the second and Mancari's third goal with 36 seconds left.