Maine Hockey Journal

Pirates end the season with winning on their mind

Portland, ME – It was a much better effort by the Portland Pirates.

A night after playing one of their worse games of the season, the Pirates rebounded in their season finale after defeating the Worcester Sharks, 5-1, in front of 5,779 at the Cumberland County Civic Center on Sunday afternoon.

“It was nice to finish our season out with a solid goaltending effort, with some scoring,” said Pirates’ head coach Kevin Dineen. “It was nice to put the puck into the net, and it’s only a number, but to get over 100 points is something to be proud of.”

It was a meaningless game in regard to the standings and placement in playoffs for both teams with Worcester winning the Atlantic Division last night, and the Pirates knowing they were going to play Manchester in the first round, but everybody on the Pirates knew it was important to end the season on a positive note.

“We wanted to set a tone moving into the playoffs,” said Dineen. “I’d liked the way we scored our goals, there was some real effort. We wanted to enjoy this week and set the tone and I think we accomplished that.”

“It was very important (to win),” said Mark Mancari. “You don’t want to go into the playoffs on a bad note, and I think we did a great job. Getting past that 100 point plateau was awesome; something great to achieve.”

Portland opened the scoring as Philip Gogulla scored with a snap shot in the slot at 3:10 of the first period, only to have Worcester’s Danny Groulx tie the game only 19 seconds later when he first a slap shot through a screen off the faceoff.

At 12:01, the Pirates regained the lead when Mark Mancari scored his team-leading 28th goal of the season when he made an inside out move on the Sharks defender, flipping the puck over the shoulder of Worcester’s netminder Alex Stalock.

Felix Schutz scored his first goal since Feb. 22 in Rochester as he found the rebound from Mancari’s shot, stuffing the loose puck by Stalock at 15:33 of the first period.

Portland extended their lead, 4-1, ending the night of Stalock after Paul Byron scored a power play goal at 7:42 of the second period as he won a scramble in front of the net.

Former UMaine goalie Frank Doyle replaced Stalock, who made 14 saves on the night.

At 4:33, Cody McCormick sent the crowd home with free fries when he scored an unassisted goal to give the Pirates a 5-1 lead.

“We changed the lines up a little bit and we feel we’re comfortable moving forward into the playoffs with our group and we know that we’re up against a worthy opponent,” said Dineen.

With 1:05 left in the game, Worcester added a goal as Brandon Mashinter scored.

JP Lamoureux made 32 saves for the Pirates for his 14th victory of the season; Doyle stopped 14 of 15 shot he faced in the non-decision.

NOTES: The Pirates now gear up for their best-of-seven Atlantic Division Semifinal against the Manchester Monarchs. The series will see the Pirates potentially playing seven games over a 10 day period; four games in five days to start the series as game one will be on Friday at the Cumberland County Civic Center, with game two to follow the next night, Saturday Apr. 16 at the Civic Center before the series moves to Manchester for games on Monday and Tuesday.

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