Maine Hockey Journal

Pirates get second straight win against Worcester

Portland, ME — The Portland Pirates appeared to have turned a corner on numerous fronts as they scored three power play goals enroute to a 3-1 victory over the Worcester Sharks in front of 3,822 at the Cumberland County Civic Center on Friday night.

The Pirates have now earned at least a point in their last five games, going 3-0-2-0 during that span.

“We still have to keep working and keep our confidence level going, which we’ve been working on,” said Jeff Cowan.

One reason for their improvement has been special teams, especially the power play where they scored seven goals in their last 20 power play attempts, scoring at least one power play goal in four of their last five games. Likewise, they’ve killed 12-of-15 penalties opportunities in the last five games.

“There is some chemistry involved,” said Pirates’ head coach Kevin Dineen. “Guys are starting to figure where their strengths are (on the ice)… There’s a lot of auditioning going on. Who wants to be on that power play and are you willing to do what’s asked of you. ”

Portland opened the scoring with 2:47 remaining in the first period when Nathan Gerbe whipped a shot on Sharks’ goalie Tyson Sexsmith, that trickled between his legs into the net.

At 7:09 of the second period, the Sharks tied the game at 1-1 when Torrey Mitchell had an easy tap-in, at the left post, from a cross-ice pass from Ryan Vesce.

Jeff Cowan regained the lead, 2-1, for the Pirates at 17:56 when he beat a pair of defenders for the Sharks, lifting a backhander over Sexsmith for his team-tying ninth goal of the season.

“10 seconds left in the power play, Cody (McCormick) comes and changes and Ennis gives me the puck. I’ve had success with the backhand so I just went with it and got a little bit of luck there,” said Cowan.

The Pirates added an insurance goal late in the third period when Philip Gogulla followed up the play, snapping a quick shot into the net, giving Portland a 3-1 lead with 3:15 to play in the game.
JP Lamoureux made his third consecutive start, stopping 32-of-33 shots, in place of Jhonas Enroth, who made 58 starts last season for Portland.

“(Lamoureux) is playing some real solid hockey,” said Dineen. “We were struggling at the beginning of the year and I’ve been waiting… not just in the net, I’m waiting for some of our young defensemen to make a statement with their game.”

NOTES: Brad Larsen has returned to skating after suffering a fractured left foot on Oct. 10 in a game against the Providence Bruins. Travis Turnbull is out indefinitely after breaking a bone in his right hand. Marc-Andre Gragnani (right leg) and Felix Schutz (shoulder) are still day-to-day.

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