Maine Hockey Journal

Pirates get back to winning ways — in Lewiston

Lewiston, ME – The Portland Pirates may want to play a few more games in Lewiston.

With the post season right around the corner, the Pirates are fighting for their playoff lives. However, they got exactly want they needed en route to a 6-1 romp over the Lowell Devils before a near-sellout crowd (3,376) at the Androscoggin Bank Colisée on Saturday night.

It was the second of two games to be played this season at the Colisée, and both times the Pirates won handily. Back on Nov. 14, the Pirates won 6-3 vs. the Albany River Rats.

Seven players had a multi-point game on the night including Steve Ward, who registered a goal and assist. His first points as a Pirate, as they took control of the game early outshooting the Devils 9-1. Lowell didn’t register their first shot of the game until 9:06 left in the first period.

For the first time since Mar. 1, the Pirates scored the first goal of the game as Colton Fretter wired a one timer by Devils’ goalie Jeff Frazee at 12:02 of the first period for his 20th goal of the season. Assists were credited to Tyler Bouck and Felix Schutz.

At 14:11, the Devils tied the game as Pirates’ netminder Jhonas Enroth had difficult handling a slap shot by Mark Fraser from the left point. Barry Tallackson was able to dig the puck away from Enroth, popping into the net.

In the second period, the Pirates scored a pair of goals from Mark Mancari and Nathan Gerbe as they grabbed a 3-1 lead over the Devils after 40 minutes of play.

“The effort seemed to be very consistent and fluid tonight and I think we executed better than we have in the last couple of weeks,” said Pirates’ coach Kevin Dineen.

At 6:26 of the second period, Mancari, from the top of the left face off circle, ripped a slap shot past Frazee, giving the Pirates a 2-1 lead.

With 3:43 left in the period, Enroth made a game-saving stop with his glove on Jon DiSalvatore, who was racing down the left boards and fired a bullet on net.

On the ensuing face off, the Pirates came right back to make it 3-1 as Gerbe redirected Kenny MacAulay’s shot from the point past Frazee at 16:26 of the second period.

“It’s not one thing that trigger’s us, whether it was a fight or a play,” said Dineen. “It’s has to be a little bit more of a methodical approach on an 80 game season.”

The Pirates put the game out of the reach in the third period as they took advantage of the Devils’ undisciplined play, scoring three power play goals within a 1:31 span.

With Olivier Magnan off for a high-sticking penalty, Gerbe scored his second goal of the night as he one-timed a shot from the top of the right face off circle at 12:20 of the period.

At 12:37 of the period, things boiled over for Lowell as Kevin Cormier, just recalled from Trenton, ran over Enroth from behind the net, which resulted in a five-minute major penalty for Cormier.

“I think we could have done a better job of avoiding the hit, but at the same I think (Enroth) put himself in the position to be bumped,” said Devils’ coach Kurt Kleinendorst. “When you take a look at it I don’t think it was as bad as it seemed. I think at that point, the official wanted to keep control of the game. If it were a Steve Gionta that made that contact, it wouldn’t have been a penalty.”

This is not the first time these two teams have had harsh feelings toward each other. In their last meeting back on Mar. 1, they amassed a total of 136 penalty minutes between the two sides.

Lowell has had eight players suspended this season for their actions against Portland.

“We really tried not to focus on (past transgressions),” said Kleinendorst. “We didn’t even try to address it. We ended up with some suspension of our own, we served them, and we were just looking to move on.”

Dineen didn’t have any comment on the topic when asked.

The Pirates took advantage of the five minute major, scoring at 13:06 of the third period as Steve Ward scored his first goal with the Pirates.

That ended the night for Jeff Frazee as Dave Caruso came into the replace the frazzled netminder.

It didn’t matter as Matthew Corrente took a roughing penalty a short time later. The Pirates added a goal for good measure as Mancari scored his second of the night at 13:51 of the period, giving the Pirates a 6-1 lead.

“The points were way too important to do anything stupid,” said Mathieu Darche. “They got carried away… They were frustrated and I’m sure it hurt more when they (made poor judgment calls) and we buried them on the power play.”

The Devils frustration came to a head as Corrente and Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond were given misconduct penalties in addition to their minor penalties in the final minute of play.

The Pirates finished the weekend going 5-for-11 with the man advantage, which is a vast improvement over the last month.

NOTES: Jhonas Enroth snapped his 11 game losing streak, stopping 20 of 21 shots. His last win was back on Jan. 30 in a 4-2 win in Providence.

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