It’s a must-win situation for the Portland Pirates.
Down 2-0 in the best-of-seven series, the Pirates now face each game as a Game 7 in order to avoid going into an insurmountable hole against the Binghamton Senators, who headed home with all the momentum.
“It's a definite disadvantage for us going (to Binghamton),” said Pirates head coach Kevin Dineen. “They have full momentum. They're able to go back and play their game at home. We're going to have to have some pretty good hockey on our part. There are no stealing games. We're going to have to go out and earn (victories).”
With the series moving to Binghamton for the next t three games, starting with Game 3 tonight at the Broome County Veterans Memorial Arena, the Pirates, whose road record (22-16-1-1) has been average over the course of the regular season, is playing to win just one period at a time.
“It’s playoff hockey,” said Pirates captain Matt Ellis. “We shift our focus and go into their building and just try to get off to a good start. There is a real fine line between winning and losing. You can let your highs get too high and lows get too low. You got to keep that even keel. It’s all starts one shift at a time.”
The Pirates won their lone game against the Senators in Binghamton, 3-2,
back on Mar. 18.
David Leggio, who started Game 1, made 19 saves in that game and will looked upon once again in Game 3 as Dineen heads back to Williamsville, NY native instead of Game 2 starter Jhonas Enroth, who struggled at times since getting his first AHL action in nearly two months.
In order for the Pirates to dig themselves out of this hole, they’ll need to stop AHL leading scorer Ryan Potulny (8g, 8a) and Ryan Keller (4g, 8a), as well as UNH standout Bobby Butler, who has scored a goal in his last five games.
“We know they’re a diverse team,” said Dineen. “They can generate their offense from a number of different places. We’re going to have to make sure that every guy that steps on the ice for us is ready to go.”
The Pirates made a number of transactions on Friday including adding Zack Kassian to the roster.
Kassian just finished his major junior career with the Windsor Spitfires, who were eliminated by Owen Sound on Wednesday. The LaSalle, Ontario native had a career season, posting 26 goals, 51 assists for 77 point in 56 games. Kassian has also his on-ice issues including a 20-game suspension for a headshot on Barrie’s Matt Kennedy.
The Pirates released goaltender John Muse and forward Joe Whitney from their tryout agreements.