Glencross a force in Pirates lineup

If frequent flyer miles could translate into hockey tickets, the fans Curtis Glencross has accumulated over the years could get into games for free.

From Alberta to Alaska to Ohio to Maine, the Portland Pirate’s impression has been left on all that have seen him play.

After playing for the Brooks Bandits in the Albert Junior Hockey League, Glencross took his skills to the U.S. college ranks, playing a starring role for the University of Alaska-Anchorage Seawolves.

It was there he started to be noticed by the NHL scouts. His style is simple hockey: hit everything that moves in a opposing sweater, drop the gloves if necessary, and drive hard to the net, but don’t forget about playing defense.

The 6-foot-1, 192-pound winger has endeared himself to his coaches over the years by playing hard – and smart.

“It’s real easy to tap him on the back in any situation,” said Pirates coach Kevin Dineen. “Whether it’s a power play, we’re shorthanded, last minute of the game, he can do good things.”

In college, Glencross was the player that all opposing skaters (and coaches) hated to see on the ice. He finished second in scoring for the Seawolves his freshman year, and lead the team in scoring as a sophomore. In those two years, he also racked up 158 penalty minutes. His punishing checks were known throughout the league, leading one coach to suggest that Glencross should wear a bell around his neck so players could hear him coming.

Signed as a free agent by Anaheim after his second year in Alaska, Glencross played a season in Cincinnati before the Mighty Ducks moved their affiliate to Portland. He is now in his second professional season, and his style of play is translating well.

He has eight goals, five assists and 58 penalty minutes through 24 games.

“Banging bodies,” Dineen, who was no stranger to the physical play in his NHL days, said. “He just puts everyone on the other team on their toes. A lot of times you see a player like that and you think he’s just out there picking fights, but that’s not the case. He has an offensive game to him also, so he’s a very well-rounded player.”

As with most physical players, Glencross has bouts with the injuries. He’s been out since Dec. 3, when he suffered an upper-body injury after being cross-checked into the boards in the Pirates’ game against Hartford. “He’s a guy that when he isn’t in our lineup we have a pretty big hole to fill,” said Dineen. “When he’s healthy, he just brings so much to the team.”

The Pirates are having a great season so far. They have been jockeying with Manchester and Hartford for first place since the season began. The team has goal scorers, guys who are great in their own end and plenty of physical guys. It is Curtis Glencross that combines them and brings the team to a different level each game he’s on the ice.