The Pirates spotted the Whale a three-goal lead that held until very late into the second period when Mathieu Brodeur and Chris Summers scored goals just 1:04 apart.
“When we decide to play the right way, we can get stuff done,” said coach Ray Edwards. “We showed that at the end of the (second) period by playing the right way and doing the right things. We got a lot of momentum going into the room after those two goals.”
At 18:40 of the second, Brodeur was the recipient of a nice passing play as Brendan Shinnimin passed the puck down to Rob Klinkhammer who proceeded to pass the puck across the slot where Brodeur was waiting on the doorstep.
Summers kept things going as he scored his first goal of the season when he stepped into a pass from Ethan Werek from inside the goal line to bring the Pirates to within a goal. Chris Brown was awarded the secondary assist on the play.
Connecticut’s Chris Kreider was assessed a high-sticking penalty at the 20:00 minute mark of the second, which allowed the Pirates to keep the momentum going that they had gained with the two late goals. They were unsuccessful on that power play but the Whale’s Mike Vernace took a cross-checking penalty just seven seconds after Kreider’s penalty had expired.
The Pirates took advantage and tied the game, 3-3, on the power play at 3:51 of the third period. Jordan Szwarz was able to get a stick on a nice shot from the point by Michael Stone to send the puck up and over goalie Cameron Talbot. Evan Brophey was also given an assist on the play.
Szwarz’s goal broke up a string of four goals in a row from the Pirate’s back-end; who have been immense in providing offense for the team as of late.
“We have a good ‘D’ corps and we use them,” said Pirates winger Ethan Werek. “It’s huge when you get a lot of offense from your back-end, we’re a lot more successful.”
With the tying goal in the back of the net the crowd came alive and sounded more like a crowd of 6,000 rather than a crowd of 10. It was beginning to look like it’d be a good New Year’s for the Pirates after all.
Werek made sure that the Pirates would end 2012 on the winning end and scored the go ahead goal at 12:04. Werek was able to gather a rebound after Talbot made a stop on Brett Hextall, slide to the side of the net for a better angle, and wrist the puck up and over Talbot’s glove. Hextall and David Rundblad notched the assists.
Things got a little tense as Summers was assessed a delay of game penalty at the 18:23 mark, but the penalty killers and goalie Chad Johnson were able to keep the Whale off the board to secure the win and an 18-11-1-1 record.
With the comeback victory and 2012 under wraps, the Pirates would like to see more consistency from their team in 2013.
“It’s just one of those things where we know the kind of team we can be,” said Werek. “Just as long as we’re consistent, a lot of good things can happen.”
NOTES: Portland scratches for the night were: Maxim Goncharov, Jordan Martinook, Joel Rechlicz and Oliver Ekman-Larsson.