SPRINGFIELD, Mass – Every inch of ice came with a price.

And the Portland Pirates paid it gladly Wednesday.

In a grinding road game against a difficult opponent, the Pirates took away a gritty 4-2 triumph from the Springfield Falcons before 2,498 at the MassMutual Center.

Goals by Mark Mancari and Luke Adam in the second period gave the Pirates the lead, and goals in the third by Jacob Lagace and Travis Turnbull — into an empty net — allowed them to cling to it.

David Leggio made 32 stops, 16 in the third period, to earn his seventh win in eight appearances for Portland.

“It was a hard-fought game,” said Pirates Coach Kevin Dineen.

“At the end of the day, to walk out with two points is really satisfying.”

The game turned on Portland’s special-teams effectiveness.

Portland’s penalty killers were given a pair of stiff workouts, once on an extended two-man shortage in the scoreless first period, the other a four-minute five-on-four to begin the second.

They killed off both threats without allowing a shot.

“When you get a lot of special teams in the game,” said Mancari, “that ends up winning the game. I think every guy on the ice that had to play penalty kill did a tremendous job. When you’re killing off penalties that are that long, if you can kill those off, the momentum’s on your side.”

They lost traction briefly, when Ben Guite of Springfield scored at 6:08 of the second to take a 1-0 lead.

But the Pirates soon replied with goals by Mancari (his eighth) and Adam to take a 2-1 lead.

Mancari’s came at 7:38 on a blast from the high slot while the Pirates were enjoying a five-on-three advantage.

Less than five minutes later, Adam scored his league-leading 11th goal when he polished off a feed from Mancari.

Tempers flared at 15:40 after Portland winger Maxime Legault caught Matt Calvert of the Falcons with an after-whistle elbow to the head.

Legault was given a game misconduct and likely will face further discipline by the league.

Portland took a 3-1 lead at 6:29 of the third on Lagace’s first professional goal.

It came on a nifty backhander after a set-up from fellow rookie Alex Biega.

“It’s a relief,” said Lagace, referring to his first goal. “The pressure goes down. I like going to my backhand. I hope to get more chances to shoot the puck.”

NOTES: Guite, a former star at UMaine, was named Springfield’s team captain Wednesday.

As developments go, this one was no surprise.

In fact, it could have been seen from here to Orono, where Guite played from 1997-2000.

“You have to name somebody,” said Guite.

“You look around the locker room, you have a lot of character guys. I think (most) of them could wear the ‘C.’ “

Even more meaningful was the birth Monday of his first child, son Patrick.

“I’m on Cloud Nine right now,” he said. “It feels awesome. I still haven’t really grasped what’s going on.”


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