Providence, R.I. – Last night, Pirates goalie Jhonas Enroth made 35 saves in a 3-1 win over the Lowell Devils. Tonight, he stopped 30 of 32 shots against the Providence Bruins, but came up one save short.
Martin St. Pierre scored the lone shootout goal as the Bruins came back in the third period to win, 3-2, in front of 8,917 at the Dunkin Donuts Center on Saturday night, clinching a berth in the Calder Cup playoffs.
Enroth has played the last six games, including tonight, going 4-1-0-1 during that span and hasn’t shown any wear, playing 12 of the last 14 games in a Pirates’ uniform since being reassigned to Portland on Mar. 4.
“He’s not a big player of stature and we haven’t given him a lot of secondary support until we solidified (our backup) with Kellen (Briggs) in net,” said Pirates’ head coach Kevin Dineen.
“He’s just been a game player.”
After Enroth made several clutch saves in the first period, the Pirates opened the scoring at 17:22 of the period as Colton Fretter scored his 22nd goal of the season while on the power play.
Colin Murphy faked a shot from the point, drawing several Bruins toward him and giving him a lane to Fretter, who drove to the net and redirected the puck by Bruins’ goalie Tuukka Rask for the 1-0 lead.
The Pirates continued to remain hot on the power play as they’ve gone 16-for-57 over their last 12 games and extended their scoring streak with the man advantage to six games.
They also score at least one power play goal in 11 of their last 12 games.
“Special teams are huge, especially in the playoffs,” said Murphy. “Your power play can win you a lot of game at this time of year.”
The Bruins would get on the board, however, as the Pirates were on a power play that carried over from the end of the first period.
Just 14 seconds into the period, Vladimir Sobotka raced down the right wing and fired a wrist shot on net, beating Enroth under the crossbar, tying the game 1-1.
At 13:56, the Pirates regained the lead on a nice individual effort by Nathan Gerbe – who was recently named the AHL All-Rookie team along with teammate Tim Kennedy – after his breakaway attempt was thwarted by Rask, he followed the play and dumped the puck back into the slot where Mathieu Darche tapped it home, giving the Pirates a 2-1 lead.
Both teams pressed for chances in the third period, but the Pirates came up just short on several occasions as the Bruins capitalized on their chance with 9:30 left in the game.
Brad Marchand picked up the pass from Sobotka down the left halfboards, deking Pirates’ Geoff Waugh into the slot, lifting the puck upstairs on Enroth to give the rookie his 17th goal of the season.
After a scoreless overtime period, the game went to a shootout where Tuukka Rask came up big, stopping all five of the Pirates shooters. Enroth was solid after he allowed St. Pierre to beat him in close.
“I (told) the players we’re not going to let the score judge the way we played,” said Dineen. I though we played better as the game went on, but sometimes (in shootouts), they don’t go in.”
“The guys had a lot of jump and they worked their tails off, and as a coach those are the things you have to be pleased with.”
NOTES: The Worcester Sharks defeated the Manchester Monarchs, 3-2, to gain sole possession of third-place in the Atlantic Division only one point ahead of Portland, who still gained a point despite the loss. The Monarchs failed to gain a point and now sit two points behind the Pirates for the fourth and final playoff position in the division.
Matt Generous made his professional start tonight against the Bruins, playing in his first career AHL game. He registered one point and had a plus-1 rating on night for his debut.