Portland, ME – Felix Schutz scored a penalty shot goal in the second period combined with John DeCaro’s 25 saves as the Portland Pirates held on for a 2-1 win over the Worcester Sharks in front of 4,529 at the Cumberland County Civic Center on Friday night.
It was DeCaro’s second win in as many starts as he defeated the best team in the AHL, the Hershey Bears, 3-2, on the road.
“You’re only as good as your last game,” said DeCaro. “Tonight was a lot different for me because I had no jitters, it was a normal game for me and I really have to make the most of my time while I am here.”
Dineen said he had little doubt on playing DeCaro after his play last week.
“His teammates have built around that and he’s big and doesn’t make everything look difficult,” said Pirates’ coach Kevin Dineen. “It’s become a strength of ours now in goal as we have some depth.”
The win pulled the Pirates within two points of the Providence Bruins, who currently sit in first place in the Atlantic Division with 61 points. The Pirates will take on the Bruins tomorrow at the Civic Center.
Worcester would open the scoring at 11:06 of the first period as they skated with a five-on-three man advantage for 1:32.
With 10 seconds left in the two-man advantage, Riley Armstrong dished a cross-ice pass to Tom Cavanagh, who snapped a one-timer by the inside-post, beating DeCaro, for the 1-0 lead.
“It’s always a tough game against Worcester,” said Pirates’ forward Felix Schutz. “They always give 100%. We just tried to stay in the game in the first period.”
The Pirates, away from the Civic Center for nearly a week, looked a little worse for wear in the first period, giving up the goal to Worcester.
“That first home game back is always a tough one,” said Dineen. “The Buffalo game was good, but there was a lot of travel involved. We have a lot of things to work in the first period.”
The game stayed that way until the 7:00 minute mark of the second period when Mark Mancari fired a bullet on net, where it deflected off the skate of a Sharks player in front of the net, beating goalie Thomas Darkers to tie the game at 1-1.
At 12:48, Mike Weber was whistled for holding the stick, sending the Sharks to their fourth power play of the game. Less than a minute later, Schutz skated into the zone on a breakaway, but Sharks’ defenseman Patrick Traverse hauled Schutz down before he could get the shot away
Schutz awarded with the penalty shot, waited out Dakers, before sliding the puck underneath his leg pad to give the Pirates a 2-1 lead after forty minutes of play.
“I tried to fake to my forehand, but (Dakers) slid over think I was going to go high so he kick his leg up and I just found the opening,” said Schutz. “It was certainly a little bit of luck.”
NOTES: The Pirates held a moment of silence before the game to respect those lost in the tragedy of Flight 3407 that happened near Buffalo, NY.