In the midst of a playoff battle, the Pirates were swept away over the weekend after a 5-2 loss to the Worcester Sharks before 6,859 at the DCU Center in Worcester, Mass. on Sunday afternoon.
The Pirates (23-21-3-3) dropped another spot in the AHL’s Eastern Conference standings, falling to 10th place, three points behind the Sharks and the Bridgeport Sound Tigers for the final playoff spot.
The Pirates, who are battling with both Albany and Providence, all with 52 points, and Springfield, only two points back, have been swept three times this season when playing three games in three days.
Former Pirate Tim Kennedy, who has a knack for burning his former team with three goals, four assists and two game-winning goals in seven games, led the way with a goal and two assist. Kennedy was acquired in a trade by the San Jose Sharks organization from the Florida Panthers where he spent time along with their minor league affiliate in San Antonio.
Kennedy figured into the first goal of the game with an assist on a power-play goal by Jack Combs at 6:29 of the first period as he took a sharp angle shot from below the right goal line past Pirates’ goalie Justin Pogge.
The Pirates evened the game at 1-1 on a nice individual effort by Patrick O’Sullivan at 7:29 of the second period and cut to the front of the net and stuff the puck past goalie Harri Sateri, ending his shutout streak against the Pirates at 67 minutes, 29 seconds.
The Sharks took over from there, scoring three times in the final nine minutes to take a 4-1 lead.
Kennedy added his second point of the game with the Sharks second power-play goal for his fifth of the season at the 11:19 mark when he snapped a shot that squeezed under the right arm of Pogge that put Worcester up, 2-1.
Worcester extended its lead to two goals, 3-1, when Brandon Mashinter ripped a blast from the left circle by Pogge with 3:45 to play in the period.
That ended his night as Marc Cheverie came to relieve Pogge after giving up the goal.
Ryan Del Monte tacked on a goal for good measure as his initial shot bounced off Pirates’ defenseman Tyler Eckford back to him in slot where he fired the puck into an open net with 23.6 seconds left in the period.
Portland one back in the third period after Brock Trotter scored his 14th of the season, taking a cross-ice feed from Marc-Antoine Pouliot for a one-timer by Sateri, but that was as close as the Pirates would get as Andrew Murray scored an empty-net goal with only twenty seconds left in the game, for a Sharks 5-2 lead.
Pogge finished the game with 10 saves in the loss, while Cheverie made seven saves on eight shots in relief.