Down by a goal less than twenty seconds into the game, the Pirates bounced back, taking a 4-3 shootout victory over the St. John’s IceCaps before 5,646 at the Cumberland County Civic Center.
Patrick O’Sullivan, Andy Miele and Brock Trotter scored in the shootout. Curtis McElhinney (30 saves) stopped all three shooters to preserve the win.
The Pirates may not earned the result in the past, instead, losing their composure and the game. Exhibit A was Wednesday night against Manchester.
“There is always things to work on, but tonight we saw a lot of good things,” said Pirates’ head coach Ray Edwards. “I thought our penalty kill was great. We didn’t like taking those penalties. (Wednesday) night and we didn’t manage it the right way. Tonight, we did. We handled the referee better. We handled the adversity better tonight. To be able to get the two points was nice for us.”
The Pirates killed eight of nine penalties including four straight penalties in the third period.
“We had good resiliency to our game tonight,” said Edwards. We didn’t give up. We stayed positive. There was times when it got frustrating and we took those penalties. We didn’t like some of those penalties. We felt like we drew a few that weren’t call, but we handled it the right way.”
“Good teams have to manage those situations and I thought we were much better at that tonight.”
Former Pirate Brett Festerling, who played 74 games for the Pirates during the 2007-08 season, was credited with the first goal of the game after a booming slap shot from the left point found its’ way through a swath of bodies past McElhinney.
“They scored real quick and on some night’s we would have just folded, but tonight shows we’re coming around,” said Pirates’ forward Brett MacLean who scored twice in the game. “We’re starting to build as a team. We battled back. It wasn’t pretty at times, but we still won, and it was against the top team in our division.”
Marc-Antoine Pouliot caught a piece of Nathan Oystrick’s shot from the point, tipping the puck past IceCaps goalie David Aebischer to even the game, 1-1, with 5:07 left in the first period.
Less than two minutes into the second period, St. John’s regained the lead as Jason DeSantis shot from the high slot, deflected off McElhinney into the net for the power-play goal.
The Pirates took the lead just two minutes later when Nathan Oystrick fed Patrick O’Sullivan, rushing up the ice before dishing to MacLean, who snapped a shot from below the right circle for a power-play goal.
With 34 seconds left in the second period, John Albert tied the game, 3-3, when he finished off a rush up the ice, beating McElhinney.
“It shows the guys that we can play with anybody in the league when we play our game and stick to our system,” said MacLean. “I still think we can be better, but beating them was big. Our goal is to win both games going into the Christmas break feeling good.”
NOTES: The Pirates were short a forward in the third period as Ashton Rome left after blocking a shot. Edwards said he was more than likely out for tomorrow’s game… Pirates’ goalie Justin Pogge was recalled by the Phoenix Coyotes on Saturday to fill in for Jason Labarbera, who was not available because of a family emergency…. Because of Pogge’s recall, the Pirates recalled Marc Cheverie from the Pirates’ ECHL affiliate, the Gwinnett Gladiators. Cheverie played his only game for the Pirates in relief of Curtis McElhinney where he stopped all 17 saves to earn a 4-2 victory over Adirondack. In 12 games with Gwinnett, he has a 2.99GAA, 0.902 save percentage… The Coyotes made a trade earlier in the day, dealing Kyle Turris to the Ottawa Senators for David Rundblad and a second round draft pick in 2012.