The Portland Pirates gave themselves some much-needed breathing room in the race for the AHL Atlantic Division title.
Mark Parrish scored the lone goal in the shootout as the Pirates slid past the Worcester Sharks, 2-1, before 2,555 at the DCU Center on Tuesday night.
The win snapped a three-game losing streak, and gave the Pirates, who had lost six of their last seven, a lift as they head into a crucial game against the Manchester Monarchs on Wednesday at the Civic Center.
The Pirates, carrying a three point lead in the Atlantic Division, can clinch their first division title since 2005-’06 with a win in regulation against Manchester.
After a scoreless second period, the Sharks, sitting in fourth place and needing to catch Connecticut and Binghamton in the playoff race, tied the game at 1-1 midway into the third period.
Matt Irwin fired a shot from the point that forward TJ Trevelyan, at the top of the crease, tipped by Pirates goalie Jeff Jakaitis at the 8:19 mark of the period.
Jakaitis stopped 36 of 37 shots from the win including all five shooters in the shootout.
Parrish, shooting first in the shootout, drille
d a shot between the legs of Harri Sateri that proved to be the game-winner.
Paul Byron, returning to the lineup after a two-game absence because of an undisclosed injury, opened the scoring less than minute into the game on a heads up play by former UMaine defenseman Jeff Dimmen after a near scoring chance that rang off the post by the Sharks.
Portland finished the night 0-for-4 on the power play, while Worcester was 0-for-6 with the man advantage.
NOTES: Earlier in the day, the Pirates signed former UMaine defenseman and Maine native Matt Duffy to a PTO. The move comes on the heels of the Pirates releasing Nick Tuzzolino, Mark Voakes and John Scrymgeour from their PTO, sending them back to their respective ECHL in time for their playoff runs… BC Sports News is reporting that Boston College goaltender John Muse is about to sign an ATO with the Portland Pirates as soon as Wednesday. Muse played four years at Boston College where he went 89-39-16 with a 2.41GAA and a .914sv% in 144 games. At 5-11, 175-pounds, the East Falmouth, MA native backstopped the Eagles to NCAA National Championships in 2008 and 2010.