The Norfolk Admirals seemed like the right opponent for the Portland Pirates to get their first road win of the season, but Brandon Bochenski and the Admirals had other plans, as they defeated the Pirates, 4-2, in front 3,033 on Friday night.
The loss left the Pirates still looking for their first road win of the season, falling to 0-6-0 on the road this season.
Norfolk have had their own troubles this season with a 2-4-0 record coming into the game tonight and a power play that’s ranked last in the AHL at 4.3 percent (1-for-23).
They’d improve on that number early in the period after Bochenski scored the first of his two goals of the night just 2:44 into the first period with a power play goal, beating Pirates’ netminder Jhonas Enroth.
Portland’s penalty kill continues to be an issue on the road as they have allowed 12 goals on 33 attempts this season, leaving team’s in the league with a 50-50 change of beating the Pirates on a nightly basis.
Bochenski made it 2-0 for the Admirals, scoring his sixth of the season at 5:48 of the period.
In the second period, the Admirals extended their lead, 3-0, when Paul Szczechura finished a two-on-one, beating Enroth with a shot under the crossbar only 3:39 into the period.
At 7:59, Ryan Craig, in the slot, made it 4-0 for Norfolk when he redirected Vladimir Mihalik’s shot from the top of the left point between the legs of Enroth.
Just over a minute later, the Pirates finally got on the board with a goal from Paul Byron.
Byron circling to the front of the net, redirected a mid-air shot from Pirates’ defenseman Matt Generous, beating Admirals’ goalie Dustin Tokarski at 9:02 of the second period.
With 8:08 remaining in the second period, Tyler Ennis cut the Admirals lead in half with his team-leading fifth goal of the season.
That was as close as the Pirates could get as the Admirals played shut down defense in the third period.
Enroth stopped 19 of 23 shots for the loss, while Tokarski made 14 saves for the victory.
Portland went 0-for-2 on the power play night and Norfolk was 1-for-5.
NOTES: The Pirates had a couple of new faces in the lineup tonight as Kyle Wanvig and Mark McCutcheon made their season debuts for Portland. Wanvig signed a PTO with Portland on Wednesday, while McCutcheon was signed today. The Pirates also reassigned Maxime Legault back to his junior club in Shawinigan.