PORTLAND 5, CHARLOTTE 1
Mark Parrish turned in a three-point effort (1-2-3) and goaltender Jhonas Enroth came within 11 seconds of a shutout as Portland dropped visiting Charlotte, 5-1, on Monday afternoon at the Cumberland County Civic Center.
The veteran Parrish, signed by the parent Buffalo Sabres last week after spending the 2009-10 season in the Tampa Bay organization, tallied his first goal in a Pirates uniform only 1:28 into the contest to give Portland a 1-0 advantage.
Parrish then picked up an assist on rookie defenseman Nick Crawford’s professional goal early in the second frame, extending the lead to 2-0. Portland stretched its margin to 5-0 on subsequent tallies by Paul Byron, Mark Mancari, and Maxime Legault, who also scored his first as a pro with an assist to Parrish.
Enroth appeared headed for the whitewash before Charlotte’s Jerome Samson spoiled the bid with a power play marker at 19:49 of the third period. He still finished with an impressive 42 saves on 43 shots and improved to 2-0-0 on the young season.
Portland joined Lake Erie and Manitoba as the league’s only 2-0-0-0 squads thus far.
The Checkers finished their three-game New England road trip at 1-2-0-0 and will now prepare for their home opener vs. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on Friday at Time Warner Cable Arena.
Cunning, coming off a career-best 19-goal showing for the Heat in 2009-10, notched his second in three games to begin this season. His game-winner was assisted by Mitch Wahl and by Jon Rheault, who now shows a helper in all three contests thus far.
Matt Keith and Greg Nemisz also tallied goals for Abbotsford in this one, helping the Heat grab a 2-1 in the second frame after surrendering a first-period power play goal to Marlies defenseman Matt Lashoff.
Toronto knotted the score back up late in the second period when defenseman Mike Brennan scored just his fourth pro goal in 138 pro games, and his first in a Marlies uniform.
Heat goaltender Leland Irving earned the win with 34 saves on 36 shots, helping his club finish 2-1-0-0 on its season-opening three-game road trip. The Heat will host Rockford in its home opener on Friday.