Based on his performance of the past two weeks, Portland Pirates goalkeeper David Leggio got a lot out of spending last season playing in the Finnish Elite League.

Signed last summer as the backup to goalie Jhonas Enroth, in his third season as the AHL team’s starting goalie, Leggio has played well while appearing in seven of Portland’s last nine games, compiling a respectable 2.82 goals-against average and .913 saves percentage.

With Enroth up in the NHL with the parent Buffalo Sabres for the past eight days, Leggio has been especially valuable.

“That’s the job of a backup,” Portland Coach Kevin Dineen said. “Not only to be ready when I tell him in the morning he’s going to play that night, but to be ready during the game, be ready when he’s tapped.

“Being a guy in that position, he’s always has to be ready.”

A 2008 graduate of Clarkson University in Potsdam, N.Y., Leggio served as the Golden Knights’ starting goalie for three seasons. He played one season in the ECHL for the Florida Everblades before heading to Finland to lead TPS Turko to a league championship.

“I liked the idea David had played professional hockey in North America and what was important to me was he’d gone over and won a championship in Finland last year,” Dineen said. “You can win a championship as a goalie and not play, but he was a guy who was in the lineup.”

Leggio, 26, said he went to Finland to continue his development.

“The biggest reason I went over there was to get some good coaching,” he said.

TPS Turko’s Urpo Ylonen is considered to be one of top goalie coaches in the world. The Finnish League’s most valuable goalie award bears his name.

“He’s an older guy, but he did a great job with me, teaching me new concepts I never learned, mostly with my gloves and how to position them and how to move them efficiently,” Leggio said. “He didn’t speak English, but we worked well with the translator.”

That willingness to learn also impressed Dineen.

“I like the idea that he’s still an up-and-comer, that he wants to prove himself,” Dineen said. “It still looks like he has a tremendous learning curve. Some of the things I felt he needed to work on, he’s really shown improvement on.”

 

TIME WARNER CABLE will telecast Saturday night’s Providence Bruins-Portland Pirates game at the Cumberland County Civic Center live throughout Maine and New Hampshire on channels 9, 19 or 21.

Mark Jeanneret, the radio voice of the Pirates, will provide the play-by-play coverage, while former Maine Mariner Paul Evans will serve as the color commentator.

PIRATES CENTER Luke Adam continues to lead AHL rookies in scoring with 17 points.

Adam has scored 10 goals to share the AHL lead with Linus Omark of the Oklahoma City Barons.

 

NOTES: Colin Stuart, a veteran left wing for Portland, has 10 assists to rank among the AHL’s top 10 in that category. …

With a rating of plus-13, defenseman Drew Schiestel has the highest plus-minus rating in the league. …

Left wing Derek Whitmore leads the AHL with two shootout-winning goals. …

With two goals and two assists, defenseman Dennis Persson takes a team-best four-game points streak into tonight’s game at Springfield.

 

Staff Writer Paul Betit can be contacted at 791-6424 or at:

[email protected]