Maine Hockey Journal

Pirates keep finding ways to victory

Portland, ME – Mark Mancari tallied two points including his 22nd goal of the year as the Portland Pirates continued to stay red hot, winning 12 of their last 13 games with a 2-1 win over the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins in front of 3,416 at the Cumberland County Civic Center on Tuesday night.

The win gives the Pirates a share of first-place in the Atlantic Division with the Worcester Sharks.

“It’s been a long hard road to scratch and claw (for) these points,” said Pirates head coach Kevin Dineen.

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton had won their last six games entering the night, likewise, the Pirates, who lost on Sunday in a shootout in Rochester, hasn’t lost a game in regulation since Jan. 23, a 4-1 loss to the Lowell Devils.

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton outshot the Pirates in the first period, 12-5, but it would be the Pirates who struck first when Matt Caruana lifted a backhand past Brad Thiessen at 5:33 of the second period, giving Portland a 1-0 lead.

“We’ve scouted this team pretty well,” said Dineen. “They’re a hard team to play against.”

Mancari put the Pirates up 2-0 at 1:48 of the third period with a power play goal.

Brad Larsen won the faceoff back to Marc-Andre Gragnani, who slid the puck across to Mancari in the high-slot where he blasted a one-timer by Thiessen.

It’s just another sign the Pirates have turned a corner as they’ve scored a power play goal in 20 of their last 23 games.

“We’re doing what we need to do to win and we’re finding different ways to do it,” said Mancari.

Enroth was working on his fifth shutout of the year until Dustin Jeffery scored an unassisted goal at 6:16 of the third period.

“We need him,” Dineen said simply.

Enroth made 35 saves to win his 11th straight game, while Brad Thiessen stopped 17 of 19 shots in the loss.

NOTES: Nathan Gerbe returned to the lineup after missing the last 13 games with a groin injury.

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