Portland, ME — Drew Schiestel and Matt Generous each scored the first professional goal of their career as the Portland Pirates extended their win streak to three games as they defeated the Norfolk Admirals, 4-2, in front of 3,819 at the Cumberland County Civic Center on Saturday night.
The Pirates, over the last six games, have earned 10 of 12 possible points (4-0-2-0) as they moved from the cellar of the AHL, to sixth-place in the AHL’s Atlantic Division.
“(We’ve come) a long way (with) the way we played tonight… and now it’s amazing,” said Pirates head coach Kevin Dineen. “Now, I think they’re all starting to buy in, that this is a really hard league, and we’re going to have to play that hard to have any success.”
Felix Schutz got things going for the Pirates in the first period, tying the game at 1-1, when he made a nifty move, beating Admirals’ defenseman Scott Jackson, lifting a backhander by goaltender Riku Helenius.
Schutz, who has missed six of the last seven games with a concussion, along with Philip Gogulla, are potential candidates to take part in the upcoming winter olympics for the German National team.
German coach Uwe Krupp was on hand to watch both players, and Dineen, was poignant in displaying their talents.
“It’s an incredible honor,” said Dineen. “Some of the best memories of my life come from my olympic moments. (Schutz and Gogulla) made a case that they want to be a part of that team.”
“I think it’s important that (Krupp) gets a good look at (Schutz and Gogulla) to see their full arsenal.”
The Pirates took the lead, 2-1, at 4:47 of the second period when Matt Generous fired a shot through screen from the right point, beating Helenius over the shoulder.
Only 42 seconds later, the Pirates extended their lead to 3-1 when Drew Schiestel snapped a shot from inside the right hashmark.
Generous and Schiestel are playing some extremely good hockey for us right now and that’s been a really quick change around,” said Dineen. “We (need) to have that for us to have success and there’s no coincident that they’re playing harder and more confident.”
Norfolk pulled within a goal at 3-2 with 5:12 to play in the second period as Mitch Fritz scored his first goal of the season, his first goal since the 2007-08 season when he scored one goal as a member of the Hartford Wolf Pack.
With 1:02 left in the game, Cody McCormick put the game out of reach, scoring an empty net goal to give Portland a 4-2 lead.
JP Lamoureux made his fourth consecutive start in the last five games, stopping 23 shots for the win.
That was an exciting hockey game,” said Dineen. “We were good in net, our defense stepped up and played well, and sometimes those are the kind of game you’re going to have to win.”
NOTES: Pirates’ defenseman Mike Kostka played the entire game with flu-like symptoms, as did Mike Weber, who has been feeling ill for the last couple days. Joe DiPenta was out of the lineup with a leg injury that he sustained during Friday night’s game against the Worcester Sharks. Dineen believes that DiPenta will be out for at least week.