With the NHL lockout coming to an end, you’d be hard pressed to see who from the Pirates might be ready to make the jump to the their NHL affiliate, Phoenix Coyotes.
The Pirates looked a bit sleepy through the first 10 minutes of the opening frame and spotted the Sharks a two-goal lead. Worcester would have preferred that the Pirates remained in a daze, because once they came to life, they didn’t stop putting the puck in the net.
“You could tell the bench was good when it was 2-0 and we were getting out played; but they were saying the right things and they knew we could find a way,” said Pirates coach Ray Edwards of his bench. “I give the leadership on the team a lot of credit because I didn’t say a lot and they figured it out.”
The Sharks opened the scoring at 5:31 after rookie Denny Urban scored the first AHL goal of his career on a two-man advantage. Urban was able to get a half-blast off in the high slot that beat Pirates goalie Chad Johnson stick-side.
Four minutes later, Worcester found the back of the net for a 2-0 lead when Brodie Reid stepped into a shot from the high slot.
The Pirates began storming back after Worcester had a potential goal reviewed that would’ve given the Sharks a three-goal lead. It was deemed, ‘no goal,’ and just 25 seconds later, Portland notched their first goal.
Chris Conner carried the puck into the offensive zone with speed; he continued behind the net after he was unable to get a good shooting angle. With a great behind-the-back pass, Alexandre Bolduc just had to tap the puck past Alex Stalock to cut the Sharks’ lead in half, 2-1.
Bolduc, who scored his 17th goal of the season, is likely one of four or five players making the trip to Phoenix for the start of NHL training camp this weekend.
Brendan Shinnimin tied the game, 2-2, after wristing a rebound home on the power play. Assists were rewarded to Michael Stone and David Rundblad.
“I think we just stuck to the game plan,” said Pirates forward Chris Brown. “We were being a little more simple. We were getting pucks deep, crashing the net and shooting a little more.”
The Pirates kept the great pace up through the second period and were rewarded with three goals.
The Sharks regained the lead at 2:35 of the second when Reid scored his second of the game, but that would be the last time a puck found its way by Johnson.
Determined to keep the good vibes rolling, 29 seconds later Evan Brophey tied the game, 3-3.
Stone added an unassisted power-play goal at 8:39 after he let a blast go from the high slot. Stone’s sixth goal of the season gave the Pirates a 4-3 lead.
Shinnimin scored the Pirates’ fourth short-handed goal of the season at 12:42 after he received a great pass from Rob Klinkhammer that sent him into the zone alone from the blue line in. The goal was reviewed after the net came off the moorings, but it was a good goal to make it a 5-3 game.
Brown added two more goals in the third for a total of 14 goals on the season.
“After we got two or three goals we just ran away with it,” said Brown. “(Chad) Johnson played really well tonight.”