It was touch-and-go at times for the Portland Pirates on Wednesday night.
In a game that had an eerily similar feel to Tuesday night’s 5-1 loss to the St. John’s IceCaps, the Pirates responded with four unanswered goals in the third period to earn a 5-2 victory before a sell-out crowd of 6,394 at the Mile One Centre in St. John’s, Newfoundland.
The Pirates split their two-game series with the IceCaps as five players recorded multiple points on the night to snap a three-game losing streak.As was the case a night earlier, the Pirates opened the scoring in the first period to take a 1-0 lead.
Ashton Rome took a feed from Colin Long, driving toward the net as IceCaps’ goalie Peter Mannino went to poke check the puck away, but Rome recovered the puck, lifting it over Mannino’s head at the 16:55 mark of the period.
Once again penalties were an issue for Portland, who killed off nine of 11 power plays on Tuesday, by giving St. John’s seven more opportunities with the man advantage including an extended five-on-three for 1:31 in the second period.
St. John’s used one of those opportunities to break through Pirates’ goaltender Curtis McElhinney (40 saves), as Shawn Weller shoveled a soft one-timer from the right circle into an open net less than five minutes into the second period.
Former Pirate Jason King scored with a shot from the slot through a screen at 13:53 of the second period to give the IceCaps a 2-1 lead. St. John’s would outshoot the Pirates, 14-4 in the period and hold a 22-15 advantage in shots heading into the third period.
The third period belong to the Pirates, starting at the 46 second mark when Marc-Antoine Pouliot, who missed five games with pneumonia, scored his first goal of the season from the top of the crease, redirecting a pass from Mathieu Beaudoin to tie the game at 2-2.
Maxim Goncharov, credited with a pair of assists, rushed the puck up the ice after returning from serving an elbowing penalty, taking a shot from the left circle that Mannino couldn’t corral. Pouliot snagged the puck from the crease and dished a pass to Beaudoin for a backhander to regain the lead, 3-2, at 5:25 of the period.
The Pirates added an insurance goal with just over 10 minutes left to play in the game as Kyle Chipchura scored the first of his two goals on the night to extend his goal-scoring streak to three games.
Chipchura hanging out at the right goal post was rewarded for a second effort, poking the puck by Mannino, giving Portland a 4-2 lead.
Chipchura’s second goal came with 1:16 left in the game with an empty-net goal as the Pirates return back to Portland on Thursday with a 3-4-0-1 record on the season.
NOTES: Ryan Hollweg returned to the lineup after serving a one-game suspension for an illegal check to the head of Providence Bruins’ defenseman David Warsofsky, however forward Igor Gongalsky was suspended two games for an elbowing incident in the same game that injured Patrice Tardif. No penalty was assessed on the play, but league felt of the incident warranted further discipline, so much so they informed Bruins’ coach Bruce Cassidy that Gongalsky would be suspended on Tuesday. As a result, Gongalsky missed tonight’s contest and will miss Friday’s game against Manchester at the Civic Center… Nick Ross played his first game of the season, finishing with a plus-1 rating… Mathieu Brodeur and Spencer Bennett were healthy scratches while Brett Hextall missed his third straight game with an upper-body injury… Pirates coach Ray Edwards missed his second straight game as he returned home to Ontario because of the death of his grandmother.