Derek Whitmore scored in the third period, snapping a 2-2 tie, to give the Portland Pirates a 3-2 victory over the Binghamton Senators before 3,131 at the Broome County Veterans Memorial Arena on Friday.
More importantly, the Pirates, with the help of Connecticut who defeated Manchester, 1-0, moved within a point of the top spot in the Atlantic Division while still holding five games in hands.
Whitmore tallied his career-best 24th goal of the season to give the Pirates the lead by stuffing a shot past Senators netminder Barry Brust with eight minutes left in the game.
Binghamton opened the scoring with the lone the goal of the first period as Jim O’Brien, who was recently sent down by Ottawa, fired a shot from the slot that beat Pirates goalie David Leggio at the 8:26 mark of the contest.
Down 1-0 to start the second period, the Pirates bounced back only a minute in as Mark Parrish used a defender as a screen, wiring a shot by Brust.
Pirates’ rookie Luke Adam originally set up the play and was credited with an assist to extend his point-streak to eight games with eight goals, seven assists for 15 points. It was his first game since Feb. 25 when he didn’t record at least two points.
Less than three minutes later, on the very next shot, Mark Voakes found the back of the net to give the Pirates a 2-1 lead, and to keep his good fortune alive since joining the Pirates back on Mar. 6.
In six games, Voakes has recorded four goals, two assists for six points with a plus-5 rating.
At 6:06, Binghamton knotted the game at two goals apiece after Leggio, who came out to cut off the angle, just caught a piece of a shot by O’Brien, deflecting it into the net.
Brust made 32 saves, while Leggio stopped 19 of 21 shots to win for his 11th win in his last 13 starts.
Both teams were 0-for-4 on the power play.
NOTES: Dennis McCauley, Nick Tuzzolino, Travis Turnbull and Drew Schiestel were all listed as scratches in the game… Defenseman Dennis Persson made his return to the lineup after missing 13 of the last 14 games with a groin injury… The Pirates will bus to Hershey, PA tonight for a 7:00pm face off against the Bears at the Giant Center on Saturday. The last time these two teams met was back on Mar. 8 where the Pirates prevailed in a shootout, 3-2.