PORTLAND – Center Mark Voakes made Portland Coach Kevin Dineen look like a genius Sunday afternoon.

While making his American Hockey League debut, Voakes scored a goal and had an assist to spark the Pirates to a 6-1 win against the Springfield Falcons before 4,034 people at the Cumberland County Civic Center.

“(Dineen) is doing such a nice job of finding guys who are willing to come in and work hard and play a fast-paced game,” said veteran forward Mark Parrish, who had two goals and two assists to help Portland record its third consecutive win. “It’s just great to see the depth we’ve been able to pull together when we lose guys. He’s finding guys who are ready to come with the confidence and the work ethic to just step right in.”

Voakes, who spent a week at the Pirates’ training camp in 2009, was called up Sunday from the ECHL’s Greenville Road Warriors after Mark Mancari, Portland’s leading scorer, was called up to the NHL Saturday by the Buffalo Sabres.

“I tried to call him up early last season, but he had hurt his knee,” Dineen said. “He hasn’t done it the easy way, and he earned his call -up and the ice time he got (here).”

Voakes, a 2009 graduate of at Wilfred Laurier University in Ontario, figured prominently as the Pirates took a 3-0 lead during the first period.

On a his very first AHL shift, Voakes put in a blast from the top of the slot after rookie Luke Adam intercepted a pass just outside the blue line to start a quick counterattack.

“I think I just came off the bench, and I was third guy high, and I just tried to find some dead ice,” Voakes said.

“Honestly, I don’t know who passed it to me. I don’t know his name, to be honest with you. I just camped out in the slot, and I just tried to get it on net.”

During the final six minutes of the first period, Maxime Legault and Jacob Lagace, who recently returned after spending a month with Greenville, each scored goals for the Pirates.

The victory, coupled with Manchester’s 3-2 loss to Charlotte, enabled the Pirates to move within two points of the Atlantic Division-leading Monarchs. Manchester has played four more games than Portland.

The Pirates have outscored their last three opponents by a 20-6 margin.

“When it’s going (well), you just want to ride that wave,” Parrish said.

“Ninety-nine percent of it is just doing it and not letting your brain get in the way.”

Parrish, who has seven assists in his last three games, scored his 10th goal late in the second period and his 11th early in the third for a 5-0 lead.

Former University of Maine center Ben Guite spoiled goalie David Leggio’s bid for a third shutout when he popped in a shot from the right circle for his 13th goal four minutes into the third period.

Igor Gongalsky capped the scoring by finishing off a rush with 18 seconds left.

NOTES: In 60 games with the Road Warriors, Voakes had 17 goals, 38 assists. … Former UMaine forward Greg Moore, who came in a trade from the Flyers, skated regular shifts for the Falcons.

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

[email protected]


Facebook comments