Buffalo, NY – The Portland Pirates are very glad to be heading home after going winless on their three-game road trip through Connecticut and Upstate New York.
Jeff Taffe scored his 23rd goal of the season with less than two minutes to play in the game to give the Rochester Americans a narrow 3-2 victory over the Pirates in front of 4,230 at HSBC Arena in Buffalo, NY on Sunday afternoon.
The Pirates were without the services of head coach Kevin Dineen, who was suspended indefinitely after a tirade on Saturday in Syracuse after an apparent goal was disallowed with seconds remaining in the contest. Taking his place was Pirates assistant coach Eric Weinrich, with Joe DiPenta acting as an assistant.
“It was a blur,” said Weinrich. “All I was trying to do was make sure I had three guys going up front… Joe (DiPenta) did a heck of a job. We had a lot of eyes in the sky which made my job a little easier.”
The Pirates opened the scoring in the first period when Travis Turnbull just back from a two-game suspension, jumped on a rebound, shoveling the puck by Amerks goalie Tyler Plante at 8:13.
At 1:51 of the second period, the Amerks would tie the game at 1-1 when Victor Oreskovich, parked in front of Pirates goalie Jhonas Enroth, buried the rebound into the net.
With 5:38 to play in the second period, Mike York and Jeff Taffe worked a two-on-one with York finishing off the play after Enroth over committed, leaving the net open.
“We just (made) little costly mistakes that have turned the games all weekend, and it seems everything we were doing right in (the winning streak) has gone the other way,” said Weinrich.
“You make your own breaks and we’re not doing that right now.”
In the third period, Cody McCormick scored for the Pirates, tying the game at 2-2 as he slammed home the cross-ice pass from behind net by Derek Whitmore.
With just 1:05 remaining in the game, Taffe, skating down the left side, blasted a slap shot from just inside the blue line, beating Enroth in the upper right corner as the Amerks grabbed a 3-2 lead.
NOTES: Matt Generous and Travis Turnbull returned to the ice after serving their two-game suspension for fighting after the game against Albany last Sunday. Pirates head coach Kevin Dineen, who was in attendance at the game, was asked about Tyler Ennis. He indicated that Ennis was day-to-day with a concussion and would be re-evaluated this week.