Portland, Maine – The Portland Pirates passed the Manchester Monarchs to move into the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference with a win over the Connecticut Whale 2-1 in front of 3,280 fans at the Cumberland County Civic Center. The Pirates (35-30-4-5, 79 points, 8th Eastern Conference) were led by goaltender Peter Mannino, who stopped 34 shots in the victory. The win was the Pirates’ third in a row, and fifth in their last seven games. Portland has now won a season-high five straight games on home ice. The Whale (36-26-7-5, 85 points, 6th Eastern Conference) were dealt a huge blow in their quest to win the Northeast Division title with the defeat. They now trail the Bridgeport Sound Tigers by three points with two games remaining, and Bridgeport has a game in hand.
Ashton Rome put the Pirates on the board 6:36 into the first period when he tipped a Nathan Oystrick shot past Whale goaltender Cam Talbot for his 11th goal of the season. Oystrick and David Rundblad picked up assists.
Under two minutes into the second period, Mark Louis took a penalty for cross-checking, giving the Whale a number of chances with the man advantage. Mannino came up with a few key saves to maintain the lead and kill the penalty, one of three the team killed during the contest.
The Pirates got a chance at a 5-on-3 at 12:53 in the period, when Whale defenseman Tim Erixon took a delay of game penalty, and the Whale bench simultaneously took a two minute minor for unsportsmanlike conduct.
The Pirates power play capitalized on the advantage when Marc-Anotine Pouliot received a cross-ice pass, kicked it to his stick, and beat Talbot. Oystrick picked up his second assist of the game on Pouliot’s goal, which was also assisted by Brett Sterling. Pouliot’s 11th goal of the season came at 13:36 of the second period to double Portland’s lead.
The Pirated retained the two goal lead until late in the third period, when Marek Hrivik put the puck past Mannino in a flurry of traffic out front for his first career goal, assisted by Ryan Bourque and Jordan Owens with just 2:39 to go spoil Mannino’s bid for his second shutout of the season.
Despite pulling Talbot in the final minute of the game, the Whale were unable to beat Mannino again, and the Pirates moved into a playoff spot. Mannino made 34 saves on 35 shots for the Pirates to pick up his 11-10-1 on the year. Talbot allowed 2 goals on 27 shots, to take the loss for the Whale, and drop to 14-15-0 on the season. Portland was 1-for-5 on the power play, while Connecticut was 0-for-3.
The Fairway Mortgage Three Stars of the Game were all from Portland: 1. Mannino; 2. Oystrick; 3. Rome.
The Portland Pirates will return to the Cumberland County Civic Center for the final regular season home game on Friday, April 13 at 7:00 p.m. against the Hershey Bears. Join the Pirates to celebrate Maine Lemonade Day—you can learn about starting your own Lemonade Stand business, and even meet LemonHead, the official mascot of Lemonade in Maine! Friday night is fan appreciation night, and the Pirates will be giving the shirts off their backs after the game. It’s another Five County Friday presented by Five County Credit Union—where it pays to be a member! It’s also another Dollar Desert Dog night, where fans can purchase a desert dog for just one dollar at any of the Civic Center concession locations from an hour before faceoff until halfway through the second period. Friday night will also be the Great Falls Marketing iPad prize giveaway.
The Voice of the Pirates Jeff Mannix will have the call of the game on AM 1310 WLOB starting with the Pirates Pregame Show at 6:45 p.m.
Portland Pirates 20th Anniversary Season Tickets are now on sale! You can secure your seats for as low as $50! Season tickets include plenty of great perks! To find out more, call the Pirates Tickets Office at 828-4665, EXT 350 today!
Portland Pirates 20th Anniversary Season Tickets are now on sale! You can secure your seats for as low as $50! Season tickets include plenty of great incentives! To find out more, call the Pirates Tickets Office at 828-4665, EXT 350 today!
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