Jordan Caron scored the game-winner and added an assist for the Providence Bruins to earn their first win in regulation against the Portland Pirates with a 4-2 victory in front 7,477 at the Dunkin Donuts Center in Providence, Rhode Island on Friday night.
The loss by Portland snapped their four game win streak and was the first win by Providence since a 5-4 OT win back on Nov. 6.
The Pirates, who were shorthanded – down to nine forwards and five defensemen – at the end of Tuesday’s game received Matt Ellis and Paul Byron back from the Buffalo Sabres after a five day stay with the NHL club.
Byron earned his first NHL goal in his hometown in Ottawa against the Senators in a 3-2 OT win.
Because of the short numbers on the blueline with the absence of Drew Schiestel – out with an undisclosed injury – and Tim Conboy, who was serving the second games of his two-game suspension, the Pirates signed Kyle Bushee earlier in the day.
Bushee played for the Wheeling Nailers of the ECHL where he has three goals, 20 assists for 23 points in 39 games.
“He gives us the stability that we’re looking for,” said Pirates coach Kevin Dineen. “We already have a good skill set on the blueline and we’re looking for a level of dependability and a solid defensive structure and he gives us both.”
The Bruins grabbed an early 1-0 lead only 33 seconds into the game on a goal by former Pirates Trent Whitfield.
The Pirates responded just past the nine minute mark of the first period.
Marc-Andre Gragnani took a feed from Mancari on a three-on-one while shorthanded, beating Bruins netminder Nolan Schaefer to tie the game at 1-1. Derek Whitmore was credited with the other assist on the play.
The assist by Mancari extended his point streak to 13 games which ties a season-high by Hamilton Bulldogs forward David Desharnais, who currently with the Montreal Canadiens.
At 17:01, the Pirates took the lead, 2-1, as Corey Tropp scored his seventh goal of the season.
With the Pirates up 2-1, Kirk MacDonald tied the game after he fired a slap shot from the slot by Pirates’ goalie Jhonas Enroth at the 14:41 mark of the second period.
Caron’s goal came in the third period, beating Enroth with a quick shot as Providence regained the lead at the 7:48 mark.
At 19:45, Jeremy Reich added an empty-net goal to seal the win for the Bruins, who have won their last three games and sit only two points behind Worcester for fourth in the Atlantic Division.
The Pirates slip back to second place in the Atlantic Division behind the Manchester Monarchs, who won tonight by an identical 4-2 margin over the Connecticut Whale, but the Pirates still have two games in hand.
NOTES: The infirmary for the Pirates is filling up quickly as the All-Star break can’t get here fast enough for the team, who have one game remaining – against the Connecticut Whale on Saturday – before getting a four days off. The Pirates were already without Schiestel, forwards Travis Turnbull (shoulder) and Brian Roloff (concussion), but might also be without Marc-Andre Gragnani, who didn’t play at all in the third period.