Inconsistent would be a good place to start.
The Springfield Falcons capitalized on a pair of shorthanded goals and cruised past the Pirates for a 4-2 victory, Saturday night, at the Cumberland County Civic Center.
The on again, off again play of the Pirates has been the one constant this season as they sport a record of 17-15-2-3, which is good for 39 points and 12th place in the Eastern Conference.
One moment they look like world beaters, coming back to earn a 5-4 shootout victory over the Falcons, Friday night, in Springfield to tonight where the lack of focus was clearly evident.
“I thought we played as individuals tonight,” said Pirates coach Ray Edwards. “It’s a team game and we’ve got play as a team game. Some nights we get it, some nights we don’t. Until we can get that going it’s going to be win one, lose one.”
With the Pirates on a power play, Springfield opened the scoring six minutes into the first period when rookie Cam Atkinson scored his 21st goal of the season, finishing off a two-on-one rush with Matt Calvert after the Pirates turned the puck over in their own zone.
At 13:26, Martin St. Pierre made it 2-0 after Dean Arsene floated a behind the back pass that was intended for David Rundblad, who was assigned to Portland by the parent Phoenix Coyotes on Friday, but St. Pierre picked it off, firing a laser past Pirates’ goalie Justin Pogge.The Swedish defenseman, who was playing in his first career AHL game, showed his offensive ability with 2:13 remaining in the first period as Rundblad, let a slap shot go from the left point, beating Falcons’ goalie Manny Legace for his first career AHL goal.
“We’ve seen what he can be,” said Edwards. “He hasn’t played a lot, but that’s why is he is down here – we have got to eliminate those mistakes – so we hope we will have him for a little bit and really help him with those sort of things.”
Alexandre Giroux capitalized on another turnover by the Pirates, leading to the Falcons’ second shorthand goal of the game as he picked off a pass in the neutral zone, streaking in for a breakaway and beating Pogge at the 3:48 mark of the second period.
The Falcons have nine shorthanded goals on the season, which is tied with the Hershey Bears for the most in the AHL, with six of those goals coming against the Pirates including four in the last two games.
“The guys on the power play just sucked the momentum out of us,” said Edwards.
Wayne MacLeod, crowding the crease area, put Springfield up by four goals, 4-1, when he tipped Ryan Garlock’s slap shot from the blue line past Pogge midway into the period.
Jordan Szwarz added a goal for the Pirates with 3:07 to play, banging home the rebound past Legace from the right post.
Pogge finished the night with 20 saves, while Legace stopped 26 of 28 shots for the win.
NOTES: The Coyotes recalled defenseman Chris Summers earlier in the day. This is Summers’ fourth recall to the NHL this season where he’s appeared in four games… The Pirates announced a crowd of 4,608, however according to the Cumberland County Civic Center only 2,896 pass through the turnstiles as they were competing against the New England Patriots and Denver Broncos NFL playoff game.