Portland, ME – The Portland Pirates’ power play came through on Wednesday night as they reversed a stinging reminder of last Saturday’s home opener against the Manchester Monarchs.
Less than one week after a gut-wrenching 5-1 loss, the Pirates rebounded as Andy Miele recorded five points on the night (two goals, three assists) as they defeated the Monarchs, 5-3, before 5, 285 at the Cumberland County Civic Center.Defenseman Nathan Oystrick added a pair of power play goals, with Miele scoring a third as the Pirates went 3-for-6 with the man advantage.
“I thought we had some really good chances,” said Pirates head coach Ray Edwards. “I thought we did a good job on execution. Overall, the whole night I thought the power play was solid.”
Oystrick, signed as a free agent this summer by the Pirates NHL parent, Phoenix Coyotes, tied the game at 1-1 with a power play goal at the 9:29 mark of the first period.
“We signed him, if he’s (in Portland) to be a number one defenseman,” said Edwards “He moves the puck. He defends well. He’s a top defenseman in this league and one of the reasons we wanted to get him on board because we felt he would be good for our younger players.”
Ryan Duncan threaded the needle with a cross-ice feed to Oystrick, pinching down just below the right circle, snapping a shot past Monarchs’ goalie Martin Jones.
Midway into the second period with the game still tied, the Pirates headed to the power play when Justin Johnson was whistled for a holding call on Pirates’ captain Dean Arsene. With 50 seconds left on the Johnson penalty, Jordan Nolan was called for holding, giving the Pirates a five-on-three opportunity
It was an opportunity they would seize as Miele found Oystrick once again pinching down as he fired a wrist shot over Jones, giving the Pirates their first lead on home ice this season for the period’s only goal.
The Monarchs tied the game, 2-2, early in the third period when Pirates’ netminder Justin Pogge went behind the net to corral the puck, a bad bounce off the back boards landed on the stick of former Lewiston Maineiac Marc-Andre Cliché, who fired it into the empty-net.
The Pirates once again regained the lead as Miele and Duncan, both recipients of the Hobey Baker Award as the best player in NCAA hockey, scored less than three minutes apart to give the Pirates a 4-2 lead.
“(Miele) has had three out of four games that he’s been really good, but there is some areas with the puck that we’ve got to clean up, but what he’s doing is competing and we’ll deal with those mistakes. He controlled the game at times. He’s going to be a nice player, but he’s here for a reason. We’ll look after those other areas.”
With 5:38 remaining in the game, Manchester’s Linden Vey pulled the Monarchs to within a goal, 4-3, but Miele sealed the win with an empty-net goal at 18:42 of the period.
Nolan, the son of former NHL coach Ted Nolan, opened the scoring for the Monarchs as the Pirates gave up their first power play goal of the season. Entering the game, Portland was 15-for-15 on the penalty kill in three games this season, but a pick play by the Monarchs in the slot gave Nolan a clean shot from open ice, beating Pogge.
Pogge stopped 21 shots for his first win of the season, while Jones suffered the loss, making 23 saves on the night.
NOTES: Jordan Szwarz made his first start of the regular season for the Pirates… Marc-Antoine Pouliot missed his third consecutive games with pneumonia. Ethan Werek was out because of a stomach ailment.