Mike McKenna was a brick wall this weekend as the Portland Pirates ran their winning streak to four with back-to-back road wins over the Bridgeport Sound Tigers.
Portland 2, Bridgeport 1
The Pirates took Saturday night's opener by a 2-1 count on the strength of a 24-save effort from goaltender Mike McKenna. Brett Olson opened the scoring 3:56 into the first period with the lone assist going to defenseman Brent Regner. Bridgeport equalized later in the stanza when Jared Gomes lit the lamp at 13:22 from Jesse Root and Kevin Czuczman. Kyle Rau bagged the eventual game-winner with 1:22 to go in the first frame with the assists going to Shane Harper and demoted Florida Panthers pivot Dave Bolland. The goal was Rau's 12th of season, tying him with Rob Schremp for the team lead. Stephon Williams took the loss for the Sound Tigers, finishing with 27 stops.
Portland 3, Bridgeport 0
Mike McKenna was even better in Saturday's return match, stopping all 23 Bridgeport shots for his first shutout of the season. MacKenzie Weegar broke a tense, scoreless tie with a power-play goal at 15:38 of the third period. Weegar's second of the season was set up by Shane Harper and Brent Regner. Wayne Simpson fired in an empty-netter, from Greg McKegg and Cameron Gaunce, at 18:54 to put the Pirates up by two. Garrett Wilson added another empty-net goal with 20 seconds left on the clock, as Portland completed its fourth straight win. Rob Flick and Mike Matheson drew the helpers on Wilson's tally. Christopher Gibson made 32 saves in a fine efort for the Sound Tigers.
The Pirates (14-11-1) will return home to face the Providence Bruins on Tuesday night at Cross Insurance Arena.
In personnel news: with the Florida Panthers activating defenseman Alex Petrovic off injured reserve, Dylan Olsen was returned to Portland. Center Dave Bolland has been recalled to the parent club with Rocco Grimaldi heading back to Maine to take his place.