Maine Hockey Journal

Pirates sombre despite victory

Lowell, Mass. – Colton Fretter notched his first AHL hat-trick as the Portland Pirates gained a little payback on the Lowell Devils, winning, 5-2, at Tsongas Arena in front of 2,024 on Saturday night.

Despite Fretter’s achievement, the minds of everybody in the locker room was on the status of Mike Funk, who was hit from behind at 10:29 of the third period.

“You see this way too much in the NHL and down here, it doesn’t matter,” said Pirates forward Mathieu Darche. “League’s can do whatever they want as far a suspension, but at some point it’s up to the players to take action.”

“You just can’t run a guy like that from behind.”

Shortly after Lowell cut into the Pirates lead 3-2 on a goal from Anssi Salmela at 10:02 of the third period, Salmela from about 15 feet from the end boards, skated full speed towards Funk who had his back turned to the play as he was trying to move the puck up along the far boards. Salmela hit Funk, who went down on his back, and didn’t move for several minutes and the trainer’s from both teams, doctors and EMT’s attended to Funk.

Funk was taken off on a stretcher and brought to an area hospital where he will be kept overnight for observation.

“We’re all upset seeing a guy get taken off like that and that’s where our minds are at right now.”

The Pirates were down 1-0 after the first period as Benoit Mondou scored his first of the season, on the Devils first shot of the game, when Mondou’s shot just trickled through the armpit of Pirates’ goaltender Jhonas Enroth at 6:02 of the first period.

Colton Fretter would begin his hat trick night as he scored his fifth of the season, being in the right place at the right time. With the Pirates on a power play, Tim Kennedy circled into the right faceoff circle and whipped a shot on net where Devils’ goalie David Caruso made the save, but the rebound came right to the stick of Fretter, who slid the puck into an empty net with a backhander.

The Pirates made it 2-1 on the power play when Fretter scored his second goal in a span of 2:45 when he fired a puck in the slot toward the net. His shot hit a skate and deflected back to him as he shot the puck again, beating Caruso between the legs at 14:42 of the second period.

“These weren’t the prettiest goals,” said Fretter. “It was the guys doing a lot of hard work in front of the net and just get the puck to the net.”

At 16:24, Marek Zagrapan scored his fourth of the season, and his first since Nov. 14 against Albany, when he squeaked the puck past Caruso for the 3-1 lead. It was the Pirates second power play goal of the game.

In the third period, Lowell cut into the lead when Salmela roofed the puck under the crossbar, followed by his ejection for hitting from behind on Mike Funk.

The Pirates would go on a five-minute major power play, scoring two goals during that time.

The first came at 10:43 when Mathieu Darche got a piece of Tim Kennedy’s shot, beating Caruso, just 15 seconds into the major penalty.

“We had a five minute power play and that’s the best way (to seek revenge),” said Darche. “If they want to run our guy from behind, we’ll just take it to them,”

At 14:24, Fretter completed the hat trick when he lifted the puck, at the left post, over a scrambling Caruso for the 5-2 lead.

Fretter, in his last four games, has seven points (5g, 2a) and has been clicking with Felix Schutz as of late.

“Fretter has had the hot hand as of late,” said Dineen. “It’s important to have a balanced attack and he’s brought that to his game.”

Enroth made 31 save for the victory, while David Caruso stopped 28 of 33 shot in the loss.

NOTE: Mark Mancari returned to the Pirates lineup after spending the last three weeks with the Buffalo Sabres. In his return, he had an assist to extend his point-scoring streak to nine games.

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