Portland, ME – The Portland Pirates have had their ups and downs for much of the season, and lately they’ve seen more down moments.
In the second of back-to-back games with the Springfield Falcons, Devan Dubnyk made 33 saves in a 4-1 win over the Pirates in front of 3,978 at the Cumberland County Civic Center.
Portland began the season on a roll, going 12-1-1, but since then have struggled trying to find any sort of consistent offense.
A glaring stat at this point of the season and it becoming clearly evident in the first period was the Pirates power play at home. The Pirates went 0-for-3 in the period and have gone 11-for-111 (9.99%) at the Civic Center this season.
“We have a lot of recurring problems,” said Pirates’ coach Kevin Dineen. “(Team’s power play) has certainly been a big issue for us.”
After controlling much of the first period, the Pirates gave up the first goal, a shorthanded tally, by Tyler Spurgeon at 13:14 of the period.
The Pirates maintaining the offensive zone turned the puck over to the Falcons for a 3-on-2 odd man rush. Spurgeon trailing the play, slid the puck underneath Pirates’ goaltender Bobby Goepfert for the 1-0 lead.
At 15:06, the Pirates fell behind 2-0 when Springfield finished off a 2-on-1 rush after another turnover. Derek Bekar sent a cross-ice pass to Mike Gabinet, redirecting the puck past Goepfert, who believed the goal was kicked into the net.
“It was a lack of thought,” said Dineen. “What happens on those Sunday afternoon’s is fatigue starts to set in, usually it’s your legs that go, but tonight it was our brains.”
After a scoreless second period, Springfield extended their lead to 3-0 just 15 seconds into the third period when Carl Corazzini slammed home the rebound by Goepfert.
“When we give up the first goal, it’s like uh-oh here we go again and we trying to play catch up and that’s the biggest thing we’ve got to get away from,” said Pirates’ forward Derek Whitmore.
Whitmore scored the Pirates lone goal at 8:22 of the third period when he stuffed the puck on the shortside past Dubnyk to cut into the Falcons lead, 3-1, but that was as close as the Pirates would get.
At 18:36, Tim Sestito added an empty net goal for the Falcons to secure the victory.
NOTES: After missing one game with an upper body injury, Tim Kennedy returned to the Pirates lineup tonight playing on a line with Mathieu Darche and Mark Mancari. Jhonas Enroth was given the night off after playing 12 straight games for the Pirates since Adam Dennis went down with a hip injury back on Dec. 12. Ryan O’ Marra was in the lineup for Springfield one night after being assaulted by a fan at the Civic Center.