Portland, ME – Jhonas Enroth once again was the man of the hour for the Portland Pirates. However, Mathieu Darche scored 2:24 into the overtime period to be the hero of the night as Portland won, 2-1, in front of 4,756 at the Cumberland County Civic Center.
Enroth, who has started the 19 of the last 20 games for Portland has been the reason as of late why the Pirates are able to win games.
Enroth, who made 29 saves last night, only allowed one goal in the last two games as he made 36 saves in the win.
“In the last month and a half we’ve been struggling,” said Pirates’ forward Mathieu Darche. “We’ve lost a lot of one goal game, but he’s kept in a lot of them and it was nice to reward him with one.”
The lone goal came with 1:01 left in the second period as Bridgeport grabbed a 1-0 lead.
With Aaron Slattengren in the box for high-sticking, Andrew MacDonald fired a slap shot on Enroth, who made the initial save, but he couldn’t slide over quick enough to stop Trevor Smith’s backhand shot upstairs.
After shots were nearly even in the first period, Bridgeport outshot the Pirates 20-5 in the second period, as Portland didn’t get a shot on goal until 11:40 into the period.
In the third period, the Pirates tied the game on Tyler Bouck shot at 1:46 of the period.
Just as the penalty to Bridgeport for too many men on the ice expired, Bouck carried the puck into the zone, snapping a quick shot that beat Sound Tigers goalie Nathan Lawson under the glove, tying the game at 1-1.
The game stayed that way for the remainder of regulation as both teams stepped up their defensive play.
“They’re starting to get it,” said Pirates’ coach Kevin Dineen. “It just seems when things are going well, it seems easier and I think you (understand) the effort and what it takes to get a win.”
In the overtime session, Mike Iggulden got his stick too high on Aaron Slattengren, giving the Pirates a power play. During the four-on-three, Lawson made an amazing save on Tim Kennedy as he managed to get the paddle of his stick on a shot labeled for the open net.
Only 13 seconds after the penalty expired, Kennedy sent a fed through several bodies on to the stick of Darche, who slammed the puck by Lawson at 2:24 of the overtime period.
“It was a great pass,” said Darche. “It landed on my stick and I almost missed (the net).”
The win moved the Pirates into a second-place tie only within two points of Providence in the Atlantic Division.
NOTES: After the game, Marc-Andre Gragnani was recalled to the Buffalo Sabres because of a shortage of defensemen with the NHL club. Henrik Tallinder injured his right shoulder in Buffalo’s 5-3 loss to Tampa Bay, which left the Sabres’ with only five healthy defensemen. Because of the All-Star break, the Pirates will have the next three days off before returning to the 4-C’s for an optional skate on Wednesday. The Pirates unveiled their new third uniform consisting of red pants, helmets, gloves and a red jersey with black trim.