Friday, April 10, 2009

PORTLAND PIRATES CLINCH PLAYOFF BIRTH



Mathieu Darche had 2 goals in the clincher (PHOTO COURTSEY PORTLAND PIRATES)

It was a simple mission for the Portland Pirates Friday night at the CX4, win and you are in the Calder Cup playoffs. Mission accomplished. The Pirates beat the Providence Bruins 6 - 5 in front of a sellout crowd of 7167

The Darche/Kennedy/Gerbe line came to play right from the start. Mathieu Darche got things going 4:19 into the 1st Period, pounding home a rebound from in front of the net for his 30th goal of the year.

"Right now we're clicking together," Darche said of his linemates. "We're playing a fairly simple game, all 3 of us work hard...we'll get things done."

The Bruins came right back 2 minutes later as Jeremy Reich blasted a shot past Jhonas Enroth to tie the game at 1.

The Pirates went back on top at 12:41 of the 1st as Nathan Gerbe got a nice feed from Mike Kostka to go ahead 2 -1. Kostka came down the left slot, faked and deked 2 defenders and slid the puck back left to a wide open Gerbe, who buried it past Bruins goaltender Kevin Nastiuk.

The Bruins then scored 2 straight goals to end the period. Pirates defensive pair Dennis Persson and Geoff Waugh had a rough go of it, allowing both goals. Wacey Rabbit(no kidding) scored at the 17:14 mark of the period. The Bruins took the lead on another poor defensive rotation, as Jeremy Reich netted his 2nd of the night.

Providence extended the lead to 2 goals as Brad Marchand blasted one past Enroth for a 4 -2 lead at the 5:49 mark of the 3rd. providence, smelling a victory, pounced on offense. putting solid pressure on the Pirates. Johnas Enroth made a spectacular save on Reich to keep it at a 2 goal deficit. Coach Kevin Dineen said his team never got down.

"I felt we were in it, even when we got down by a couple goals," said Dineen. "It was just a matter of staying with the process."

The players responded to that mindset as the Pirates, over the next 20 minutes of play, controlled both ends of the ice. Mark Mancari got things going at 11:48 of the 2nd with a power play goal to bring the Pirates within 1. Colin Murphy buried one past Nastiuk to tie the game at 4 only 2 minutes later. With less than a minute to go, the Pirates took the lead again on a pretty goal by Colton Fretter. Fretter was set up on a nice centering pass by Tyler Bouck who beautifully fed Felix Shutz for the assists.

Darche then scored his 31st of the season and 2nd of the game at the 5:58 mark of the 3rd period on a texbook power play passing scheme to take a 6 - 4 lead. 2 minutes later, Martin St Pierre drew the Providence Bruins closer 6 - 5.

Portland clamped down on D the rest of the way, ushering Pirates into the 2009-2010 AHL Playoffs.

GAME NOTES FROM PORTLAND PIRATES.COM

Most Valuable Player: Jhonas Enroth
This award is given to the Portland Pirates Player, as voted on by the fans, that is chosen as the Most Valuable Player for the 2005-06 season.

Most Popular Player: Nathan Gerbe
This award is given to the Portland Pirates Player, as voted on by the fans, that is chosen as the Most Popular Player for the 2005-06 season.

Unsung Hero: Tim Kennedy
This award is given to the Portland Pirates Player, as voted on by the fans, that is chosen as the Unsung Hero for the 2005-06 season.

Player’s Player: Tyler Bouck
This award is given to the Portland Pirates Player, as voted on by his teammates, that is chosen as the Player’s Player for the 2005-06 season.

Ebright Award: Paul Baier
This award is given to the Portland Pirates Player who has best exemplifies what it means to be a Portland Pirate, as envisioned by team founder, the late Tom E-bright, for the 2005-06 season.

Jack Button Award: Jhonas Enroth
This award is given to the Portland Pirates Player that is chosen as the team’s Top Prospect for the 2005-06 season.

Pirates Partner Award: Chris Dilios, Mark Warner, Theresa Horton
This award is presented to an individual(s) that has shown commitment and dedication to the Portland Pirates organization and has preformed his or her role with a great attitude and proven ability to go above and beyond their duty.

Allied Home Mortgage Three Stars Award: Jhonas Enroth
The Pirates player that has been awarded an Allied Home Mortgage Star of the Game the most amount of times this season.

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