Gerbe tallies hat trick as Pirates sail past Sharks, 5-3

Wednesday’s Boxscores

Rookie standout Nathan Gerbe tallied a hat trick to lead Portland to a 5-3 road win over Worcester on Wednesday at the DCU Center. Gerbe broke a 3-3 tie with an unassisted goal in the third period and then added an empty-net marker.

Mark Mancari posted two goals and an assist for the Pirates, who extended their winning streak to three games.

The Pirates took leads of 1-0 and 3-1, but the Sharks came back to force a draw each time. Tom Cavanagh, Steven Zalewski, and Mike Morris all scored for Worcester on the night.

Gerbe tallied a power play goal in the first period, snapped the 3-3 tie at 8:53 of the third, and sealed the victory with an empty-net goal at 19:46.

The rookie forward now has 10 goals on the campaign to lead the Pirates and all AHL rookies.

Portland goaltender Jhonas Enroth picked up the victory with 27 saves on 30 shots. The win moved the Pirates into sole possession of first place in the Atlantic Division at 7-1-1-0 (15 points).

The Bridgeport Sound Tigers allowed the game’s first goal, scored three in a row of their own, and then held on for a 3-2 home-ice win over Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on Wednesday in their “Cool Fun 101” matinee before 6,709 fans at the Arena at Harbor Yard. Blake Comeau tallied the eventual game-winning goal and added an assist for the Sound Tigers.

The Penguins grabbed a 1-0 lead 9:34 into the contest when Jeff Taffe scored his eighth goal of the season and second in as many games against Bridgeport.

But the Sound Tigers would cash in for a pair of power play goals to move ahead for good. Tim Jackman scored on a 5-on-3 at 10:53 of the opening period, and Jamie Fraser put the Sound Tigers on top just 25 seconds later on the ensuing 5-on-4.

Comeau extended the lead to 3-1 with his second goal of the campaign at 17:31 of the middle stanza.

The marker proved decisive, as Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s Chris Minard netted his league-leading 11th goal of the season just 1:03 into the third to make it a 3-2 game. Like Taffe, Minard now has a goal in both games against Bridgeport thus far on the year.

The Penguins would get no closer, though, as Bridgeport goaltender Peter Mannino finished with 22 saves in the winning effort.

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton concluded a seven-game road swing at 4-3-0-0 and will return to the Wachovia Arena on Friday to host Lowell.

Jared Ross netted a pair of goals, including the game-winner, as Philadelphia took a 3-1 road win over Lowell at Tsongas Arena.

It marked the 500th victory in Phantoms history, allowing Philadelphia to become the sixth active AHL franchise to reach that milestone. The Phantoms began play in the 1996-97 season and won the Calder Cup in both 1998 and 2005.

Patrick Maroon also scored for Philadelphia on Wednesday, and Steve Downie chipped in a pair of assists. Goaltender Jean-Sebastien Aubin earned the win with 31 saves on 32 shots.

Alexander Vasyunov scored his first career AHL goal for the Devils in a losing effort. 

Trent Whitfield broke a 1-1 tie with a power play goal at 11:04 of the third period, and Peoria went on to a 3-1 home-ice win over Rockford at Carver Arena.

Whitfield finished with two points on the night, as he assisted on defenseman Jonas Junland’s first career AHL goal in the opening period. Steve Regier added a late empty-net goal for Peoria.

Rivermen goaltender Marek Schwarz earned the victory with 34 saves on 35 shots.

Bryan Bickell netted the lone goal for the IceHogs, who have now dropped three straight contests heading into a two-game weekend set at Norfolk.