BINGHAMTON, N.Y. – Mark Mancari turned some of the most difficult situations the Portland Pirates faced into some of the team’s best chances Saturday night.

Mancari’s tireless work led the penalty killing against Binghamton’s league-leading power play.

And when Mancari and linemate Luke Adam should have been exhausted from trying to create chances from behind the Senators’ net in the final six minutes, they stayed on the ice just a little longer.

Their combined work drew the attention of three Senators, freed the puck from the boards and led to the tying goal.

Derek Whitmore scored the tying goal with 5:09 remaining, setting the stage for Tim Conboy’s winner with 12.5 seconds left in the Pirates’ 3-2 victory.

“Offense starts from the defensive side and Mark was a big difference maker for us,” Pirates Coach Kevin Dineen said after Portland cut Binghamton’s series lead to 2-1.

Mancari’s penalty-killing work helped stop a five-on-three Binghamton advantage in the second period, and helped lead to a tying goal in the third period.

As Mancari came out from behind the net and headed for the bench at the end of a long shift later in the period, defenseman Brian O’Hanley got the puck up the left side to Adam. Mancari circled back to help.

“It was definitely the end of a long shift,” Adam said.

Mancari’s pressure forced the puck back to Adam in a crowd of Senators and Adam sent the puck toward the slot where Whitmore, the first to make it onto the ice from the next line, quickly fired in the tying goal.

“I heard him coming the whole way and just tried to get the puck toward the center of the ice,” Adam said.

Both Adam and Mancari, who had a game-high six shots on goal, earned assists on the play.

Mancari helped the Pirates kill five of the six penalties on a night when they only had two power-play chances.

“They have a lot of firepower,” Mancari said. “You have to try to force them to make mistakes sometimes.


BIG CROWD: The Pirates made the comeback while playing in front of a packed house of 4,637 at the Broome County Arena.

“It’s an excellent environment,” Dineen said. “It reminds me of the Boston Garden in its day. The fans are right on top of you.”

The Pirates had two chances to get used to the arena, which has an ice surface three feet shorter than regulation, after visiting Binghamton just once in the regular season for a 3-2 win March 18.

Following a long bus ride, the team had a full workout Friday. The Pirates all returned to the rink early Saturday, but only about half took part in the morning skate while many of the regulars had other forms of workouts.

“Today’s a day to recharge,” Dineen said.

The teams settled into Binghamton for the middle portion of the series. The Pirates need at least one more win to send the series back to Maine.

The Senators tied for the division’s second-best record on home ice.