Maine Hockey Journal

Adam returns while Pirates are on the upswing

Luke Adam is returning to the Portland Pirates when perhaps they are playing some of their best hockey of the season.

Adam, who spent nearly a month with the Sabres, hardly missed a beat at practice with the Pirates. The 20-year old native of St. John’s, NL played 18 games with Buffalo, getting valuable experience, Pirates head coach Kevin Dineen only sees as a positive.

“We weren’t expecting to have Luke (Adam) back for the Tuesday’s game and then he shows up for Wednesday’s game so that was a nice bonus,” said Dineen. “We’re looking at long term development and making sure that you play the game the proper way, that there is no shortcuts, and he brings a ton of enthusiasm to the lineup.”

The team, who is in the midst of playing four games in five nights, has taken points in nine of their last 12 games (7-3-2) and on a three-game winning streak until Wednesday night when it was snapped by the Worchester Sharks with a 5-3 victory.

“A part of our success, especially with such a compact schedule, is we’re getting contributions throughout our lineup,” said Dineen.

Over the last several games, the Pirates have received points from both likely and unlikely sources.

Mark Mancari has five goals, five assists during his current eight-game point-scoring streak with the Pirates.

Igor Gongalsky, who is with the Pirates on a PTO, has a pair of goals and assists in three games since his return from a concussion suffered at the end of the December, likewise forward Mark Parrish has two goals and two assists since missing 19 games with a hip injury.

The Pirates have also received scoring from Brian Roloff (1G, 3A) and Max Legault (2G, 5A), who had a six-game point streak until Sunday night when it was broken against Springfield.

“That’s been the difference in our scoring,” said Dineen. Even a game where we won by a large amount against Worcester – 8-3 win on 1/15/11 – it was a fairly tight game right up until final 10 minutes. It’s a good sign that we’re getting good enthusiasm and contribution throughout the lineup.”

With the addition of Adam to the lineup, who scored 12 goals, 10 assists in 20 games with the Pirates, it only bolsters the Pirates offense to the point where they were at the beginning of the season, scoring nearly four goals a game.

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Marc-Andre Gragnani, who was recalled by the Sabres on Wednesday, is skating at forward today according to the Buffalo News as the Sabres are in Boston to play the Bruins tonight at the TD Bank Garden.

Gragnani hasn’t played forward all season as that role was handed to TJ Brennan when the Pirates have been in short-handed situations. The 23-year old, who has 30 points in 38 games with Portland, will see time on the power play something that Sabres head coach Lindy Ruff want to take a look at.

“He’s done a real nice job on their power play down there, and we’re going to give him a look on ours,” Ruff told the Buffalo News. “I just want to see him play. We feel like it’s his opportunity.”

“You try different things. It’s not whether we like it or not. We’re looking at if he plays defense maybe he can add a little offense to our game five-on-five. Power play, maybe he can add a strength we don’t have. He’s got real good vision back there.”

With Adam back in the Pirates lineup, Dineen shook out his lines a little bit by moving Ellis off the top line to make room for Adam.

McCauley-Adam-Mancari
Stuart-Byron-Bowers
Tropp-Ellis-Gongalsky
Legault-Roloff-Whitmore

Forward Mark Parrish didn’t participate in today’s practice has Dineen said he was given a maintenance day. He should be ready to action tomorrow night at the Civic Center vs. Worcester.

Brian Roloff was back with the team at practice today after missing last night’s game due to family reasons.

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