It’s not exactly how the Portland Pirates planned to begin their three-game road trip.
The Pirates had their seven-game point streak snapped as the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins suffocated the Pirates for a 4-1 victory before an announced crowd of 7,143 at the Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza on Friday night.
The Pirates were riding a seven-game point streak (6-0-1) into the game, which included a previous meeting, a 3-2 shootout win for the Pirates, back on Nov. 18.The game got off to a positive for Portland as they grabbed an early 1-0 lead on a wrist shot by Brett MacLean by the left circle, beating Penguins’ goalie Brad Thiessen (19 saves) less than four minutes into the first period.
That would be the only offense for the Pirates as Wilkes-Barre stifled the Pirates attack for nearly 40 minutes, outshooting Portland by a 29-11 margin through the first two periods of play.
At 11:23, the Penguins tied the game at a 1-1 when Ben Street found the back of the net, redirecting a pass from Jason Williams past Pirates’ netminder Curtis McElhinney, who finished the night with 31 saves on 34 shots.
Joey Mormina gave Wilkes-Barre/Scranton the lead, a lead they wouldn’t relinquish, with four minutes remaining the period as the Penguins scored the first of two power-play goals in the game with a blast from the point by McElhinney.
With Matt Watkins in the box for high-sticking, the Penguins extended their lead, 3-1, after Alex Grant’s shot found it’s way to the Eric Tangradi’s stick at the top of the crease for an easy tap-in by McElhinney at 16:38 of the second the period.
Despite an offensive push in the third period by the Pirates, the Penguins added an empty-net goal with seven seconds remaining to take a 4-1 lead as the Pirates head coach Ray Edwards pulled the McElhinney for an extra attacker.
NOTES: Brock Trotter and Nathan Oystrick are traveling with the Pirates on the current three-game road trip, but are expected to play this weekend.