Portland, ME – The Springfield Falcons woes were the Portland Pirates gain as they handled the Falcons, 3-1, before a Sunday crowd of 2,693 at the Cumberland County Civic Center.
It was the Pirates first win of 2009 and a win they really needed to remove the sour taste of Saturday night’s game against the Norfolk Admirals.
“There was no reason why we should have lost that game yesterday with all the guys they were missing, especially on (defense),” said Mathieu Darche. “We have games in hand, but they are only good when you win them.”
After a scoreless first period, the Pirates opened the scoring up just 55 seconds when Nathan Gerbe spun around in the high-slot, whipping a shot of a defenseman by Falcons’ goalie Devan Dubnyk.
At 9:33, Keith Johnson, a former UMaine player, scored his first AHL goal, doubling the Pirates lead to 2-0. Dylan Hunter and Marc-Andre Gragnani – his second of the night – were credited with assists on the play.
One of the ECHL replacements for the Pirates’ during their injury woes, Trent Campbell, scored one of his two goals of the night at 17:41 of the second period when he snapped a quick shot by Dubnyk, extending the Pirates’ lead to 3-0.
“Those guys have done a great job for us,” said Pirates head coach Kevin Dineen. “It’s good to seem them get rewarded with points on the board.”
Jhonas Enroth playing in his 10th straight game, played spectacular all night, stopping 31 of 32 shots, as he doesn’t show any signs of slowing down.
“It (workload) doesn’t seem to faze him too bad,” said Dineen. “We had an optional skate last week and he was out there. He’s a very, very low maintenance player from a coaching standpoint.”
Enroth lost his shutout bid at 5:43 of the final period as Springfield scored a power play goal from Taylor Chorney with a shot from high slot that beat the Swedish goalie on the inside post.
The Falcons had a chance to pull within one goal with a four-minute power play as Felix Schutz was called for high-sticking with just six minutes left in the game.
As the power play came to an end, the Falcons pulled their goalie for an extra attacker, but Portland sealed the victory with an empty net goal from Campbell at 19:18 of the period.
NOTES: Dineen noted during the post-game interview that they were close to bringing in another goalie within the next day or two, but he suffered an injury, scraping those plans. Dineen didn’t identify who the goalie was, but said a transaction could be possible by Tuesday or Wednesday of next week. Chase Trull was released from his PTO prior to the game and sent back to Mississippi of the ECHL.