Portland, ME – As a young team the Portland Pirates are experiencing growing pains.
For the second straight night, the Pirates outshot and out-chanced their opponent only to come out on the short end.
The Pirates had a 3-2 lead in the third period, but the Providence Bruins scored twice to earn a 4-3 victory before 6,060 at the Cumberland County Civic Center.
“Ninety-nine percent of the game was excellent,” said Pirates head coach Ray Edwards. “We made some young mistakes and we’re going to have to live with that little bit because we have some young players.”
“We’re learning how to play and this is how they learn. They worked extremely hard. I don’t have one fault with anybody on the (team). We made some young mistake and unfortunately those three or four mistakes ended up in our net.
Bruins’ forward Lane MacDermid sent a centering-feed from the right corner to Camper at the left post, beating Pirates’ goalie Justin Pogge to grab a 4-3 lead.
The Bruins had just tied the game, 3-3, only a 1:30 earlier when Craig Cunningham driving wide of the net sent a cross-ice pass from below the right circle to Calle Ridderwall for an easy tap-in by Pogge.
It was the Pirates fourth loss in their last five games and their third loss on home ice in four games.
“We’re going to have to learn to be patient,” said Edwards. “The younger players will get better and we’ll get better as a group. We’ve had three home losses, which is unacceptable and we understand that, but we have to be patient.”
After a scoreless first period, former Lewiston Maineiac Stefan Chaput opened the scoring when he capitalized on a miscue by a Pirates’ defender, allowing him to skate free to the left circle, snapping a shot over the glove of Pogge.
The Pirates took advantage of a 5-on-3 power play to even the score at 1-1 when Garrett Stafford, who was playing forward because of several missing players in the lineup, found the rebound from Ryan Duncan’s shot and flipped it over Bruins’ goalie Karel St. Laurent at 6:16 of the second period.
It only took Providence 50 seconds to regain the lead, 2-1, as Camper spotted Jamie Arniel for a partial breakaway, beating Pogge as the puck hit his skate and trickled into the net.
“I thought Stafford did an excellent job upfront,” Edwards said. “It just that you have to play every shift. We took a couple shifts and we got a little lazy. It’s too bad that gets magnified in us not getting the two points.”
Spencer Bennett, who had been a healthy scratch for the last two games, drew back into the lineup and took full advantage by scoring his first professional goal with two minutes left in the period by burying the puck from the right post.
The Pirates outshot the Bruins by a 40-26 margin, a night after outshooting Adirondack 35-23.
“It’s unfortunate because I thought we deserved a better fate,” Edwards said. “We executed really well tonight. How play was really good. Our offensive time zone was excellent, but every shift is magnified and you have to be ready every shift. We had a couple shifts where we had mental mistakes and the puck ended up in our net and it cost us two points and at the end of the day we can’t do that.”
With the game tied, 2-2, the Pirates took the lead with their second power-play goal of the game just 40 seconds into the third period as Kyle Chipchura scooped up the rebound from Nathan Oystrick’s shot from the left circle, beating St. Laurent under the crossbar.
St. Laurent earned his first professional victory, stopping 37 of 40 shots on the night. Pogge lost his first game on home ice this season, making 22 saves.
NOTES: The Pirates were without several players because of injury or illness. Brett Hextall was out of the lineup with an upper-body injury. Edwards is hoping to have him back by Tuesday when the team travels to St. John’s. Marc-Antoine Pouliot, who missed his fifth game with pneumonia, is expected to be back on Tuesday. Colin Long missed his second straight game with an illness.