Beast Of A Season Down On The Farm
Here at Black & Blue & Gold, we follow the Pirates pretty closely. I keep in regular contact with Chris Roy from Maine Hockey Journal via Twitter (follow him at @MEHockeyJournal), listen to plenty of games online (listen live here), and keep a close eye on the team’s and individual players’ numbers on the AHL website (specifically standings, general scoring, defenseman scoring, rookie scoring, and goaltending). After going over all the numbers today, I realized something – the Portland Pirates are having a beastly season.
Hit the jump for the breakdown.
Goals For: 238, best in the AHL
Goals Differential: +47, second best in the AHL
Points: 89, third in the AHL
Points Percentage: .674, second best in the AHL
Last 10 Games: 8-2-0, by far the hottest team in the AHL
Penalty Minutes: 1034, fourth fewest in the AHL
Home Record: 23-5-5, third in the AHL
Home Points Percentage: .773, far and away the best in the AHL
With only 66 games played, good for the fewest in the AHL, the Pirates (41-18-7, 89 points) are having a helluva season. A win tonight coupled with a Manchester regulation loss moves them into first in the division and second overall in the league with 5 (!) games in hand over the Monarchs. It’s possible that the Pirates could have the best overall record at the end of the season, but it would take them going white-hot and the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (48-18-1, 97 points) going ice cold for it to happen.
Mark Mancari: 32+32 in 64gp, third in the AHL overall and first on the Pirates
Marc-Andre Gragnani: 11+43 in 58gp, first in the AHL for defensemen, seventeenth overall, and second on the Pirates
Luke Adam: 25+25 in 44gp, first in the AHL for rookies, twenty-fifth overall, and third on the Pirates
Mark Mancari may not finish the regular season with the Pirates, but he yet again leads the team in scoring across the board. He’s become a perennial powerhouse in the AHL who has scored more in each successive season during his career. Marc-Andre Gragnani recently broke the Pirates’ record for points by a defenseman in a single season when he tallied a goal on 3/13 versus the Monarchs and also broke his own team record for assists by a defenseman in a single season of 42 with his helper on Colin Stuart’s game-winning goal during the 3/12 game versus the P-Bruins. Lastly, Luke Adam’s 50 points in only 44 games has him poised to possibly win the Pirates’ third-straight Dudley Garrett Award for rookie of the year. If he brings home the award, it would make the Pirates the only team in AHL history to win the award in three consecutive years.
The Pirates have 14 games remaining and have the potential to finally break free of the first round of the Calder Cup Playoffs, a scene of disappointment the last two seasons (series losses of 4-1 and 4-0). It seems the Sabres have something really special in Portland, with Kevin Dineen really getting the most out of his players night in and night out. Like many Sabres fans, I was disappointed that the Rochester affiliation broke down but it’s impossible to look poorly upon what has happened on the farm since the new affiliation was struck.
Keep an eye out for a conversation I’ll be having about this season with Chris Roy once the break between the end of it and the beginning of the Calder Cup Playoffs happens.