Portland, ME – A poor start by the Portland Pirates proved to be too much to overcome.
The Providence Bruins scored three times in the first period and held on for a 5-4 overtime victory against the Pirates before 4,274 at the Cumberland County Civic Center on Saturday night.
The loss snapped the Pirates win streak on home ice at seven games (7-0-1-0).
Earlier in the day, the Pirates lost their captain, Matt Ellis, who was recalled by the Buffalo Sabres because of an injury to Drew Stafford.
Sabres head coach Lindy Ruff said after last night’s game that Stafford will “miss some good time”.
The Pirates, who are finishing a stretch of six games in nine days that included a pair of flights and lengthy bus rides had perhaps their worst start to a game this season by allowing three goals in first eight minutes of the game.
By the eight minute mark of the first period, Providence held a 3-0 lead on goals by Levi Nelson, Jordan Knackstedt and rookie Joe Colborne, which led Pirates head coach Kevin Dineen to make a goaltending change putting Alex Petizian in net.
Petizian played 3:02, stopping all four shots he faced, before Dineen put Leggio back in net.
“(Leggio) didn’t look like he was ready to me,” said Dineen. “I wanted to give him a little shake and a little room to regroup. He’s played some good hockey for us lately so I wanted to give him a bit of a wakeup call and try to refocus for the last part of the hockey game.”
Paul Byron put the Pirates on the board with a goal at 15:33 of the first period.
Just a little over a minute later, the Pirates pulled to within a goal, at 3-2, as TJ Brennan scored his second of the season while on a power play.
Colin Stuart, who had his point-scoring streak snapped on Friday night, took the initial shot from the left face-off circle that deflected off Bruins’ goalie Nolan Schaefer to the right circle where a rushing Brennan pounced on the rebound shoveling the puck into the net.
The Pirates overcame the three-goal deficit at the 4:15 mark of the second period when Byron tied the game at 3-3, scoring on the power play for his second of the game.
Byron, in a scrum, found the puck at the top of the crease to poke it by Schaefer.
Pirates’ defenseman Dennis Persson scored his second goal in as many days, beating Schaefer through a screen with a slap shot from the left point at 17:35 of the second period, giving the Pirates a 4-3 lead.
The lead was a short-lived as Colborne scored his second goal of the game, finishing off a two-on-one rush with Bruins’ captain Jeremy Reich with 37 seconds left in the middle frame.
“We’d like to think that we could get off to a better start and that didn’t happen,” Dineen said. “It was a good battle to come back, but it’s not only hard to come back from down three goals. It’s very tiring as well.”
“It takes a lot of energy to do that we looked real tired there at the end.”
After a scoreless third period, it only took the Bruins 1:25 into the overtime period to snap the Pirates win streak.
Jamie Arniel, on the up ice rush, snapped a shot over the shoulder of Leggio shortly after the Pirates killed off the remaining third period penalty by Mark Mancari.
“That was a tough goal to let in (in overtime) after we did a great job killing off the penalty at the end of the third period and (the) four-on-three in overtime,” said Dineen.
“We won’t critique this one. It’s a point at home,” he added. “We’re hoping to get away from the rink tomorrow and get a chance to regroup and refocus.”
Leggio made 26 saves in his first loss (6-0-1-0) of the season, while Nolan Schaefer stopped 36 of 40 shots in the win.
Portland went 2-for-5 on the power play, while the Bruins were 0-fo-2 on the night.
NOTES: Pirates defenseman Drew Schiestel was a healthy scratch for the Pirates. The second year defenseman leads the AHL in plus/minus with a +14 rating… Pirates’ goaltender Jhonas Enroth earned his first NHL victory tonight with a 3-2 shootout victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs. He made 23 saves for the win… The Pirates return to action on Wednesday when they travel to Springfield, Mass. to take on the Springfield Falcons. Game time is 7:00pm.