The Pirates allowed five power-play goals en route to suffering a 7-1 loss in their preseason finale to the Manchester Monarchs Monday afternoon at the ICENTER in Salem, NH.
“The good thing is that game is over,” said Edwards. The preseason is over. Now we have the regular season and it’s for real, and we need to get some work done.”
They’ll open their regular season on Saturday against the Adirondack Phantoms in Glens Falls, NY.
The Pirates suffered a 4-3OT loss to the Monarchs in Portland in Sunday, but were serious outplayed as an experienced lineup for Manchester pressured a young lineup into poor decision the entire game. That resulted in 11 power plays for the Monarchs which included three times where they skated with a two-man advantage.
“The immediate issue is the number of penalties that we took,” said Edwards. “We’ve got to deal with the penalties. There were probably seven or so bad penalties during the game, either undisciplined, lazy penalties or penalties because we’re not working hard enough.”
Forward Linden Vey, who finished the game with a goal and two assists, scored the only goal of the first period, a power play goal, at the 14:43 mark, beating rookie Pirates’ goalie Mark Visentin who couldn’t freeze the rebound.
The Monarchs exploded for four goals in the second period, beginning with an even-strength goal less than five minutes into the period as Monarchs’ rookie Tyler Toffoli found the back of the net to make it 2-0.
Jordan Weal extended Manchester’s lead, 3-0, when he snapped a high wrist shot over the glove of Visentin at 10:45 of the second period.
Portland had eight rookies in the lineup, and the inexperience showed as they penalties began to pile up. Only 16 seconds after allowing Weal’s goal, David Kolomatis fired a one-timer by Visentin for the Monarchs’ second power-play goal of the game.
“Whatever lineup we put there, we should play better than that,” said Edwards. “If we take 11 minor (penalties) on Saturday I’ll be really disappointed. We’ve got to better than that.”
The Monarchs continued to cruise as Andy Andreoff tallied the third power-play goal of the game, redirecting the puck into the net at the 15:22 mark of the second period.
“Part of the issue was playing on a rink that we’re not used to penalty killing on,” said Edwards referring to the arena’s olympic-sized ice dimensions. “I think we were jumping into areas that wouldn’t have existed otherwise.”
It wouldn’t get any better in the third period.
Slava Voynov added his fourth point of the game with another power-play goal for the Monarchs at 7:02 of the period when he blasted a puck over Visentin, giving the Monarchs an insurmountable lead, 6-0.
Brandon Kozun capped off the scoring for the Monarchs with another power-play goal at 11:57 of the third period with a wrap-around goal on Visentin, who faced 40 shots in the game, making 33 saves.
Darian Dziuzynski finally broke through the shutout streak of Monarchs’ goalie Martin Jones, who finished the preseason with only one goal allowed, as he found the rebound off Evan Bloodoff’s initial shot with 5:09 remaining in the game.
Edwards’ focus shifted to evaluation when the game got out of control.
“I barely played Szwarz, barely played Miele or Conner,” Edwards said. “We needed to see these young players in action and were they might fit in because some of them will have to play. There are players that we need to have an idea of where they are going to fit in. We wanted to get them out there and put them in situations to see what they could do.”
That being said, it understood that the team will face some growing pains, but Edwards also doesn’t want the team’s youthfulness to be an excuse for a poor performance.
“Anytime there is the level of youth that we have there is an expectation that you’ll have to teach,” Edwards added. “We understand that, but that can’t be used as an excuse. Youth is not a bad thing. We’re going to have to be patient and hope that process won’t take too long.”
NOTES: Forward Jordan Martinook blocked a shot off his right foot during the game. His status is unknown and will be re-evaluated later this week.