Portland, ME – For the last month, the Portland Pirates have been a fragile hockey team and it really showed tonight as they gave away a 3-0 lead to the Hartford Wolf Pack, losing 4-3 in a shootout before a sellout crowd at the Cumberland County Civic Center on Saturday night.
“We put it on a platter and served it up for dinner,” said Pirates head coach Kevin Dineen. “It was a very fragile third period by us.”
The Pirates entered the night three points behind Hartford for second place in the Atlantic Division, but had Lowell hot on their heels, three points back in fourth place.
Tim Kennedy opened the scoring for the Pirates early in the first period as he notched his 14th goal of the season. In the last 10 games, Kennedy has 15 points (7g, 8a) including seven goals during that span.
Kennedy was the beneficiary of Colin Murphy’s shot in the slot as the puck sat in front of Wolf Pack goalie Matt Zaba. Kennedy, raced across the crease, lifting a backhander into the net as the Pirates grabbed a 1-0 lead at 5:05 of the first period.
At 15:14, the Pirates made it 2-0 on a goal by Marek Zagrapan as he shot on the puck on net, but it deflected off Zaba’s glove and fluttered into the net.
In the second period, the Pirates extended their lead to 3-0 as Tyler Bouck scored his first goal since Jan. 24 when drilled a one-timer by Aaron Slattengren past Zaba at 1:23 of the period.
“I thought we played great in the first two periods,” said Pirates captain Tyler Bouck. “They were an undisciplined team and we had plenty of chances to capitalize.”
The wheels came off the bus for Portland just 1:47 into the third period as Tommy Pyatt redirected Mike Ouellette’s pass by Pirates’ goalie Jeff Jakaitis.
At 10:12, the Wolf Pack pulled to within a goal as Sean Avery scored his second goal of the season, since joining Hartford from the Dallas Stars.
Only 38 seconds later, the Wolf Pack tied the game, 3-3, as Mike Ouellette snapped a quick shot over the Jakaitis at 10:50 of the third period.
“It was a great start,” said Bouck. “We built a 3-0 lead going into the third and we tried to play it safe and (Hartford) killed us. It’s happens time and time again. Now it comes down to learning form your mistakes.”
“Right now we’re not learning.”
After a scoreless OT, Patrick Rissmiller and Artem Anisimov scored for the Wolf Pack and Colin Murphy scored the lone goal for Portland.
Jakaitis stopped 31 shots in his AHL debut, while Matt Zaba made 29 saves for the win.