Unfortunately luck wasn’t on their side nor did they get a much-needed result in Game 76.
The Providence Bruins scored twice in the third period, ending the Pirates season with a 3-2 win in front of 10,198 at the Dunkin Donuts Center on Sunday afternoon.
The Pirates postseason fate was already sealed regardless of the outcome of the game.
The Crunch escaped with a 2-1 victory over Albany to grab 7th in the AHL’s Eastern Conference, while the Monarchs earned a 4-2 win against St. John’s for the final playoff spot.
The coaches knew the results, but the players on the bench didn’t know until the closing seconds of the game.
“We knew Manchester had won, and Syracuse was leading 2-1,” said Pirates coach Ray Edwards. “I don’t think the guys knew, but we knew.”
“We didn’t have any idea until about until about 30 seconds left when we started hearing rumors,” said Pirates’ captain Dean Arsene. “The guys on the ice didn’t know anything. We were trying for the win the game, but once we got into the locker room, that’s when we knew the results.”
The Pirates, who were 26-0-3-2 when leading after two periods, led 2-1 entering the third period.
At 5:50, the Bruins tied the game at 2-2 when Maxime Sauve scored his 11th goal of the season, finishing off a cross-ice feed from Ryan Spooner at the left post.
Shortly after the Syracuse game was final in Albany, NY, the Pirates gave up the go-ahead goal to the Bruins, who will miss the playoffs for the third consecutive season after being eliminated from contention last week, when Colby Cohen converted on the power play, firing a laser from the point for his fourth goal of the season to give Providence its only lead of the game, 3-2, with 10:24 to play.
“The way we played in the third period, it almost looked like they knew,” said Edwards. “All of a sudden our body language was really poor. It looked like we took a punch in the gut and we just sort of stopped playing.”
“They’re a prideful group over there,” Edwards added about Providence. “They knew this was a big game and they wanted to beat us.”
The Pirates were winless (0-3-0-2) against the Bruins at the Dunkin Donuts Center this season
After a scoreless first period, the Pirates opened the scoring in the second with a power-play goal as Marc-Antoine Pouliot jumped on a rebound, firing a wrist shot by Bruins’ goalie Michael Hutchinson at 1:08 of the second period.
The Bruins bounced back at the 14:00 minute mark when Ryan Spooner tipped a shot from Sauve, deflecting it off Arsene’s leg into the net.
Defenseman Nick Ross put the Pirates back out front, 2-1, with 55.7 seconds left in the second period when he drilled a shot by Hutchinson from the top of the left circle.
The Pirates, who went 6-2-1-1 in their last 10 games, will miss the postseason for the first time in five seasons.
“I thought for two periods we were pretty good,” said Edwards. “It would have been nice to end the season with a win, but it didn’t happen.”
Pirates’ goaltender Peter Mannino, who sat silently in his gear long after his teammates had changed, finished the game with 21 saves.
NOTES: Pirates’ forward Brett Sterling, who was acquired at the AHL Clear Day roster deadline, finished the season with a six game point streak… Nathan Oystrick extended his point streak to four games, recording seven points… Rundblad had his four-game point-streak snapped…. The Pirates will hold exit interviews over the next couple of days before players depart for the season. Several players will likely head to Chicago to meet with the Coyotes who are in midst of the first round of the NHL playoffs against the Chicago Blackhawks.