Maine Hockey Journal

Practice just as dangerous as the game for the Pirates

The Pirates have been playing hard lately, rolling off nine wins in their last 11 games. You’d think they’d be a little more measured in practice?

Think again…

AHL leading goal scorer Mark Mancari, along with the rest of the forwards, was working on a simple drill, driving to the net when he took a shot to mouth area. After a couple minutes on the ice, he skated off the ice with Pirates trainer Robert Frost, holding a towel to his face.

This isn’t particularly good news when the Pirates are already shorthanded up front – 10 forwards – with Paul Byron and Matt Ellis with the Sabres.

If he’s not able to play tonight – a game time decision – it will have an obvious impact when the Pirates take on the Norfolk Admirals for the final time this season. The Pirates are 2-0-0-1 against the Admirals this year with all three games going to extra time as both teams’ haven’t lacked for offensive production with Portland holding a slight edge, 16-13.

On the defensive side of the puck, there was one noticeable absence, while another surprise with a player returning from the Sabres.

Marc-Andre Gragnani was sent back to Portland and practiced with his teammates this morning, skating a regular shift with partner TJ Brennan.

Gragnani played in three games with the Sabres, going scoreless with a plus-1 rating.

Missing was Tim Conboy, who is still facing a possible suspension for a high hit to the head of Worcester Sharks forward Cory Quirk. The American Hockey League indicated last Saturday that the play was still under review by league officials.

If Conboy should face a suspension, and Mancari not able to play, the Pirates will enter the game with 10 forwards and six defensemen.

EDIT: Mancari is in the lineup for the game. No sign of any injury… Tim Conboy was suspended for two games as a result of his actions against the Worcester Sharks back on Dec 21st when he hit Cory Quirk in the head.

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