Portland, ME — Tyler Ennis scored a pair of goals including the game-winner with 3:27 remaining as the Portland Pirates broke though with a 4-3 victory against the Bridgeport Sound Tigers in front of 5,190 at the Cumberland County Civic Center on Saturday night.
Going into the game, the Sound Tigers have had the Pirates number as of late, winning all three contest (0-3-1) so far this season.
“We needed a (win) against this team,” said Pirates head coach Kevin Dineen. “They’ve been a real thorn in our side.”
Portland had a 2-1 lead late in the second period, only to see it vanish in the third period as Bridgeport scored a two goals only 59 seconds apart to take a 3-2 lead.
At 9:09 of the third period, the Pirates began the comeback as Brad Larsen scored his third goal of the season as he parked himself in front of the net, batting the rebound by Sound Tigers’ goalie Nathan Lawson.
Dineen was quick to point to Larsen as a big reason why the Pirates were able to come back.
“I think our leadership grabbed a hold of it,” he said. “Larsen was a big player in the third period.”
Ennis scored the game-winning goal at 16:33 of the third period when Larsen’s shot ricochet off Lawson to Ennis, as he swung around the right post, finding an open net.
“It was pretty dramatic.” said Dineen. “We would have liked to see it unfold differently, at the end of the day it was a heck of an effort in the last twelve or fifteen minutes.”
The start looked good for the Pirates as for the second time in as many days they jumped out to a 1-0 lead, scoring in the first minute of the contest.
Ennis racing down the left side batted a cross-ice pass from Mark Mancari just 25 seconds into the game for his first goal of two goal on the night.
Portland added their second goal while on an extended five-on-three as Marc-Andre Gragnani whistle a shot past Lawson at 12:40 of second period.
JP Lamoureux got the surprise for the Pirates making 18 saves for the victory, a day after Jhonas Enroth scored his second shutout of the season.
“I’ve felt JP has played some really good hockey, and Jhonas has struggled against Bridgeport,” said Dineen. “I want to see him play better. I’m sure it’s got a little sting to him, but I felt it was JP’s game.”
NOTES: Michael Haley received a game-misconduct for intent to injure at 9:42 of the second period as a result of a sucker punch to Pirates defenseman Matt Generous, who would return without missing a shift… Mark Mancari had a season-high four assists on the night.