Portland, ME – Revenge for sweet for the Portland Pirates.
After suffering their only regulation loss of the season on Oct. 19 to the hands of the Providence Bruins, the Portland Pirates evened the record. Mathieu Darche scored two goals in the third period and added an assist to help lead the Pirates past the Bruins, 5-2, before a crowd of 5,249 of the Cumberland County Civic Center on Saturday night.
The win extended the Pirates winning streak to seven games, including nine of their last 10 games dating back to Oct 24. During that span, Portland has earned 19 of a possible 20 points.
“We talked a lot about (the Bruins) before the game,” said Pirates forward Marek Zagrapan. “We knew they would be coming hard at us. We just had to play our game and everything would come out good.”
The Pirates found themselves behind the eight ball early in the first period, albeit brief. Martin Karsums gave the Bruins a 1-0 lead at 7:25 of the first period as he finished off a 3-on-2, lifting the puck over the blocker of Pirates’ goalie Adam Dennis. Just 18 seconds later, Felix Schutz tied the game at 1-1 for the Pirates when he flipped a forehand shot over the top of Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask.
Aaron Slattengren made it 2-1, Pirates, when he put the shot off a Bruins defenseman by Rask at 6:45 of the second period.
The game stayed that way until 12:15 to go in the period, when Mark Mancari made it 3-1, scoring his 11th of the season to extend his goal-scoring streak to six games. He also extended his points-scoring streak to seven games.
At 10:29, Adam McQuaid scored, at the expense of a deflection off Darche’s skate, to pull the Bruins to within a goal.
Portland regained the two-goal margin when Darche found a way to stuff the puck by Rask with 8:25 left in the game. The play originated from the solid play of Tim Kennedy, credited with two assists on the night, when he drove deep to the net. Rask couldn’t get a handle on the puck before Darche put it past him for the 4-2 lead.
Adam Dennis had to make a few spectacular stops as part of his 27 saves on the night.
With a little over five minutes left in the period, Dennis need to come up big stonewalling Vladimir Sobotka on a breakaway.
At 16:27, Darche scored his second of the night, finishing off a cross-ice feed by Kennedy, beating Rask upstairs for 5-2 lead.
“It’s one of those things that gets your team believing that if they do simple things, good things will follow,” said Pirates head coach Kevin Dineen.
NOTES: The Pirates played shorthanded for most of the game as defenseman Mike Card took a puck in the mouth and suffered a deep cut. Dineen noted that it was more a precautionary measure to keep him out of the game for the rest of the night. He’ll be re-evaluated early in the week… The Pirates have scored five or more goals in seven of their 13 games this season. They are currently averaging 4.08 goals per game, ranking them first in the AHL… Seven of the top-20 AHL leaders in points are either current or former Portland Pirates – Mark Mancari (24pts), Nathan Gerbe (19pts), Bobby Ryan (19pts), Tim Kennedy (19pts), Chris Bourque (18pts), Andrew Ebbett (15pts) and Brandon Segal (15pts).