Lowell, Mass. – The road has become an unfriendly place for the Portland Pirates, losing their seventh straight game, 3-2, to the Lowell Devils in front of a sparse crowd of 1,110 at Tsongas Arena on a snowy Wednesday night.
It was the first time this season, the Pirates would drop a game when leading after the second period. Prior to the loss, Portland had gone 16-0-0 when leading after two periods of play.
After a scoreless first period, the Pirates grabbed the 1-0 lead when Marek Zagrapan scored a power play goal at 7:59 of the second period when he took the feed from Colton Fretter, burying by Devils’ goaltender Jeff Frazee.
At 9:47, the Devils tied the game, 1-1, when Alexander Vasyunov picked up the rebound from Pirates’ goalie Jhonas Enroth for his ninth goal of the season.
With 50.5 seconds left in the second period, Zagrapan would give the Pirates a lead they’ve been able to preserve the last 16 times Portland walked into the dressing room after 40 minutes of play.
Zagrapan, down low, redirected Nathan Gerbe’s shot from high slot, beating Frazee for the 2-1 lead.
The Devils would tie the game for a second time at 7:11 of the third period off a goal by Nicklas Bergfors when he poked the puck through the leg of Enroth.
At 11:30, Lowell took their first and only lead of the game when Tyler Eckford blasted a one-timer by Enroth for the 3-2 lead.
The Pirates would have one late rush with a power play at 12:21 of the period when Matthew Spiller was called for interference, but that only lasted for 30 seconds before Pirates’ forward Mathieu Darche was called for a questionable high-sticking penalty that resulted in four-minute minor.
Enroth was once again solid in net, stopping 36 of 39 shots for the loss, while Frazee kept his team in the game long enough for them to score at least one more goal than Portland, making 34 saves on 36 shots.