Maine Hockey Journal

Third period push gave Pirates new life

Orono, ME – Not all wins are pretty, but they pay the same at the end of the day.

In a game the Portland Pirates needed for moral and confidence, they were more than glad to cash the check as they overcame a two-goal deficit to beat the Manchester Monarchs, 4-3 in a shootout in front of 2,797 at Alfond Arena on the campus of the University of Maine.

“For game that was not the coach’s best friend,” said Dineen. “This game had a lot of personality to it.”

For the second consecutive year, the Pirates and Monarchs played a neutral site game at Alfond Arena, but yet it has become more of a road game for the Pirates than a home game, as the crowd tends to lean toward former players of the Black Bears.

Manchester bolstered by several former UMaine players including leading team scorer Teddy Purcell and Michel Leveille as well as Monarchs assistant coach Scott Pellerin bring out a fairly good-sized fan base to their old stomping grounds.

“My time at UMaine was great,” said Leveille. Great friends, great friends of Maine hockey, it was a fantastic time.”

Last year, the Pirates lost, 6-2 as Purcell scored four goals on the night.

This was also the Pirates second of four home games away from the Cumberland County Civic Center, as they will play another game in Lewiston and one in Buffalo, which is expected to be a near sellout crowd.

Portland would fall behind in the first period on a goal by Andrew Campbell when he tipped Gabe Gauthier point shot through the legs of Pirates’ goaltender Jhonas Enroth at 15:47 of the period.

At 18:11, Pirates’ defenseman Mike Kostka, at the defensive zone goal line, connected with Colin Murphy, who was at the opposite blue line, with a long pass to send him in for a breakaway on Monarchs’ goalie Jon Quick.

Murphy deke to the left, sliding a backhand underneath Quick to pull the game even at 1-1.

Leveille would make it 2-1 for the Monarchs at 2:39 of the period, while on the power play as Marek Zagrapan was in the box for hooking.

At center ice, Marty Murray dumped the puck into the end boards where Leveille read bounce of the boards, picked up the puck and cut across the front of the net, around an out of position Enroth to slide a backhander into an empty-net.

“I wasn’t crazy about the goal,” said Dineen. “I though he could have gone out and played that one a little more aggressively.”

At 16:56, with Drew Bagnall already in the box for Manchester, Josh Kidd was called for a double minor as his stick came little high into the face area of Felix Schutz, giving the Pirates a five-on-three for 30 seconds, however they failed to capitalize

With Bagnall out the of box and the Pirates still having over a minute of power play time left, he’d fed the puck to Marty Murray who just tried to dump the puck out of the zone, sending a 150 shot down the ice.

However, the puck bounced several times, before skipping over Enroth as the Monarchs extended their lead to 3-1 with second left on the clock.

At the start of the third period, Dineen changed goaltenders going with Adam Dennis instead of Enroth.

Dennis, who had lost his last four starts, played brilliantly, making nine of his 13 saves in the third period.

Aaron Slattengren made it a one-goal game at 5:17 of the period when Dylan Hunter, from behind the net, threw the puck to the front of the net where Slattengren stuffed it by Quick, cutting the lead to 3-2.

“(It’s) about finding the guys who have the jump and tonight it was the Bouck – Hunter — Slattengren line,” Dineen said. “They gave us the energy when we needed it.”

At 12:19, the Pirates tied the game 3-3 as Colton Fretter kept his scoring touch alive scoring his fifth goal in the last three games. Fretter with his back turned to Quick, picked the puck up in slot and tossed a backhand shot, catching Quick off-guard.

Fretter in his last five games has scored seven goals and two assists for nine points.

“Fretter’s got the hot stick right now and he’s done a lot of good things for us,” Dineen noted.

After a scoreless OT, Tim Kennedy and Mark Mancari scored for the Pirates in the shootout, while Dennis stopped four of five Manchester shooters.

NOTES – Pirates defenseman Mike Funk suffered a concussion as a result of the hit by Anssi Salmela on Dec. 6 in Lowell against the Devils. As a result, the AHL suspended Salmela for three (3) games. Devils defenseman Rod Pelley was also suspended for one game for his conduct during a fight with Pirates forward Tyler Bouck.

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