The Pirates allowed three goals in the first period, and could never recover fully, dropping a 3-2 decision to the Falcons Sunday afternoon before 2,187 at the MassMutual Center.
Portland falls back to .500 with a 3-3-1 record, while the Falcons remain atop the Eastern Conference with a record of 5-1-1.
It was a game that witnessed the Pirates once again being hampered on special teams beginning with a power-play goal by Matt Calvert less than five minutes into the game to trail the Falcons by a goal, 1-0.
With Mark Louis in the box for board, Calvert redirected Nick Drazenovic feed from outside the crease area past rookie goalie Mark Visentin, who was making his second start of the season for the Pirates.
Last season, the Falcons scored nine times while shorthanded against the Pirates. It only took them one period into a new year to score their first as forward Andrew Joudrey beat Visentin off a rush down the right side of the ice, giving Springfield a two-goal lead at 16:51.
It was the sixth time this season the Pirates have allowed a shorthanded goal.
With 38 seconds left in the period, Ryan Johansen extended the Falcons lead, 3-0, when he picked up the loose puck in the slot, snapping a shot by Visentin.
Mike Stone pulled the Pirates back to within two goals at the 5:20 mark of the second period with a power-play goal, blasting the puck past former Pirates’ netminder Curtis McElhinney.
McElhinney, who finished the game with 26 saves and has a pair of shutouts on the season, appeared in 25 games for Portland last season before suffering an abdominal injury and eventually being dealt to the Columbus Blue Jackets organization.
Ethan Werek scored his second goal of the season with 4:49 left in the second period of a scrum around the Falcons’ net, getting the Pirates to within a goal of tying the game, 3-2.
Portland couldn’t find the equalizer in the third period as both teams went scoreless in the final 20 minutes.
Visentin finished the night with 38 saves to fall to 1-1-0 on the season.
The Pirates went 1-for-7 on the power play, giving up the shorthanded goal, while Springfield finished the afternoon 1-for-4 with the man advantage.
NOTES: Pirates’ captain Alexandre Bolduc extended his point-scoring streak to six games, recording an assist on Werek’s goal in the second period. In those six games, Bolduc has six goals, five assists for 11 points to hold a share of the lead in AHL scoring with Cory Conacher of the Syracuse Crunch and rookie Justin Schultz of the Oklahoma City Barons… Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Maxim Goncharov, Joel Rechlicz, Evan Brophey and Jordan Szwarz were scratched from today’s game due being banged up. All are listed as day-to-day by the Pirates.