Penalties once again plagued the Portland Pirates.
The Pirates gave up 11 power play opportunities to the St. John’s IceCaps en-route to their third straight loss, 5-1, before 6,247 at Mile One Arena in St. John’s, Newfoundland.
It was the Pirates first time back on the island since the 2005 season when the St. John’s Maple Leafs called Mile One home before relocating to Toronto.
The Pirates, who have committed a league-high 41 penalties on the season, spotted the IceCaps with eight consecutive penalties in the game as they grabbed a 3-1 lead after 40 minutes of play.
With the game tied at 1-1, it only took St. John’s 3:57 into the second period to get on the board as Garth Murray fired a shot from the left corner to John Albert, who was parked at the top of the crease, beating Pirates’ netminder Curtis McElhinney.At 6:33, with the Pirates in the midst of killing off a 5-on-3 powerplay, St. John’s forward Riley Holzapfel scored the first of two power play goals for the IceCaps by being in the right place at the right time as a rebound off McElhinney from a shot Spencer Mechacek came to his stick at the right post for the easy redirect into the net.
Portland gave up six consecutive penalties to St. John’s in the second period, including three five-on-three’s, which eventually caught up to the Pirates as St. John’s made it 3-1 less than six minutes later with another yet another power play goal.
This time it was former Pirate Jason King, who played 65 games for the Pirates during the 2007-’08 season under the Anaheim Ducks affiliation, making a diving play for the puck as it ricocheted off the glass behind the net to the front of the left post where he poked it by McElhinney.
The Pirates stopped the bleeding in terms of taking penalties, but the IceCaps continued to pour on the offense as another former Pirate, Brett Festerling found the back of the net just 2:26 in the third period.
Festerling, who played for Portland as a rookie under the Ducks affiliation, took a shot from the blueline, beating McElhinney through a screen.
At 13:32, Travis Ramsay, a former defenseman for the UMaine Black Bears, scored an unassisted goal for St. John’s, giving them a 5-1 lead.
The Pirates lone goal came in the first period while on a 5-on-3 power play as Kyle Chipchura rang a shot off the post, beating IceCaps goalie Edward Pasquale on the shortside at the 10:46 mark of the period.
McElhinney faced a barrage of shots, 41to be exact as he made 36 saves in the loss, dropping to 1-3-0 on the season. Pasquale stopped 28 of 29 shots to earn the victory in his first start of the year.
NOTES: Dave King was behind the bench for the Pirates tonight as head coach Ray Edwards missed the game because of a death in the family. Edwards flew back to Ontario and will miss tomorrow’s game, but is expected back behind the bench for Friday’s matchup against Manchester. King has been a head coach for nearly four decades and has been a head coach in the NHL for Calgary and Columbus. He was recently an assistant coach under Coyotes’ head coach Dave Tippett before taking a position as Development Coach for the Coyotes… Ryan Hollweg was out of the lineup as he served a one game suspension for a hit to the head, which happened during last Saturday’s game against the Providence Bruins. He was originally assessed a two minute penalty for the incident… Marc-Antoine Pouliot returned to the lineup after missing five games with pneumonia along with Colin Long, who had missed the last two games with an illness… Brett Hextall is listed day-to-day with an upper-body injury and Alex Bolduc isn’t expected back til Christmas at the earliest.