PORTLAND – Playing their third game against the Worcester Sharks in less a week, the Portland Pirates scored three third-period goals Friday night to skate to a 5-2 victory at the Cumberland County Civic Center.

“We see a lot of these teams in this division, and the problem is we’re playing them back-to-back-to-back,” said Mark Mancari, who sent his team-high 20th goal into an empty net with a minute left to complete the scoring and had two assists.

“When you do that, the rivalry comes a bit bigger, and your frustration and anger carries over.”

Things boiled over when Portland defenseman Tim Conboy knocked out Cory Quirk with a hard check in the neutral zone six minutes into the third period. Conboy, who received a five-minute major for interference, was ejected but the Pirates killed off the penalty to preserve a 3-2 lead.

“It was a big momentum swing,” Portland Coach Kevin Dineen said. “It was pretty tight checking toward the end. We got some opportunities and we put the puck in the net. It was a well-rounded win for us.”

It was the fourth win in five games for the Pirates, who have points in 10 of their last 13 games to climb within two points of the Manchester Monarchs, the Atlantic Division leader. Portland holds two games in hand.

“We kind of went through a stretch where we just weren’t really skating enough throughout the game,” said Brian Rolloff, a rookie center who scored his second AHL goal on a shot from the slot to snap a 2-2 tie less than three minutes into the third period.

“I think we’re going through a stretch now where we’ve kind of controlled the pace and pushed it for the most part.”

“Everyone’s contributing,” Mancari said. “Everyone’s a threat when they’re on the ice. I don’t think it matters who we put on the ice. Guys contributing from every line is a big difference.”

Worcester, which beat the Pirates 5-3 at home Wednesday night, holds a 4-3 edge in the season series.

“We play these guys 12 times this year and that’s a lot of hockey against each other,” Dineen said. “They have an advantage in the series right now and we’ve got to find a way to have some success in their building.”

Last Saturday night, Portland scored a season-high eight goals in a lopsided victory against the Sharks at the Civic Center. After their game tonight against Providence at the Civic Center, the Pirates will get another shot at the Sharks on Sunday in Worcester.

The score was 2-2 after the second period.

Less than five minutes into the game, Worcester left wing T.J. Trevelyan opened the scoring by putting in a shot from the bottom of the right circle for his 10th goal of the season.

Three minutes later, Derek Whitmore tied it by putting in a shot from the slot for his 16th goal after goalie Carter Hutton stopped close-in shots by Luke Adam and Mancari.

The Sharks regained the lead 28 seconds later when Fraser McLaren slid the puck into the left side of the net for his first goal.

With less than five minutes left in the second period, Dennis McCauley scored his eighth goal on a shot from just to the right of the crease to tie the score again.

After the successful third-period penalty kill, Igor Gongalsky scored his third goal in four games to make it 4-2.

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

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