Maine Hockey Journal

Pirates ready for second half; Schiestel done for season

After having nearly a week off, taking a much needed break away from the pressure of dealing with the daily grind, the Portland Pirates are rejuvenated and ready to begin the official start to the second half of the regular season despite the fact they already played 48 of their 80 games.

Heading into the break, the Pirates were riding a pretty nice run, going 11-4-0 during that span, with the majority of the play on home ice where the Pirates are at the top of the AHL with a .792 win percentage followed Wilkes-Barre/Scranton with a .769.

A large part of that success is due in part to the performance of forward Mark Mancari, who was named AHL Player of the Month.

In 15 games, Mancari scored 13 goals, eight assists for 21 points while recording a plus-10 rating as the Pirates pulled to within a point of the Manchester Monarchs for the Atlantic Division lead.

During the month, Mancari recorded a 13-game scoring streak, which tied an AHL season high as he posted back-to-back hat tricks – a first in nearly two years in the AHL.

Although the Pirates are playing 10 times in the month of February, they’ll be spending the majority of the month on the road with only three games at the Cumberland County Civic Center.

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The Pirates will be without the services of defenseman Drew Schiestel for more than likely the rest of the season because of the knee injury that he suffered last Tuesday.

Pirates head coach Kevin Dineen said that Schiestel will be heading to Buffalo for further test to evaluate if he will undergo surgery. Dineen also indicated that he will be looking to bring in a defenseman to help bolster an already thin blueline.

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Forwards Luke Adam, Mark Parrish and Derek Whitmore did not take part in practice today… not because of an injury, but because they were all caught up in the travel delays affecting most of the United States due to winter weather. Dineen expected everybody to be back on the ice for practice tomorrow.

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