The Pirates didn’t feel that the players missing from their lineup was the issue, it was lack of execution.
“Teams all over the league are going to lose their top four or five guys this year, that’s just the way it is,” said Pirates’ forward Rob Klinkhammer. “We can adjust like we did over the weekend and we’re going to have bad games every so often.”
The Whale opened the game with a couple power play chances, but scored the first goal of the night shorthanded. Kelsey Tessier snapped the puck up and over goalie Mark Visentin from the top of the crease for the 1-0 lead.
The Pirates mustered a tie at 7:27 of the second period when defenseman Mathieu Brodeur scored a fluky goal.
He fired the puck wide of the net and the carom off the backboard deflected off goalie Whale netminder Cameron Talbot and in. Russ Sinkewich and Chris Connor notched the assists on the only Pirate goal of the night.
The Whale came back to score two more goals in the second. The first goal coming from a nasty snipe by Kris Newbury that went high, glove side on Visentin. The second was a lucky bounce for the Whale as a J.T. Miller shot dribbled its way past Visentin. The puck appeared to be deflected off a player in the front as two guys battled for space near the goalmouth.
The Whale would add three more goals in the final frame, including their second shorthanded goal.
Logan Pyatt scored at 4:29 to make it a 4-1 game off a turnover from deep inside the Pirates zone. He gathered the puck at the point and found the back of the net.
The fifth Whale goal was their second shorthanded goal of the night. After a misplay behind the net by Visentin, Brandon Segal skated into the zone, untouched and tucked the puck into an empty net. It was Connecticut’s seventh shorthanded goal on the season and it was the ninth shorthanded goal allowed by the Pirates. The Pirates are last in the league in shorthanded goals allowed this season.
“We were auditioning some people out there on the power play and we’re just not that crisp,” said Pirates’ coach Ray Edwards.
Newbury added his second goal of the night after letting a shot go from the faceoff dot area inside the far side circle that brought the game to the 6-1 final.
“There was no environment, atmosphere,” said Edwards. “We didn’t create it. We have to create that when the building is quiet.”
For the next game, the Pirates will look to improve their play and try to manufacture their own energy on quiet nights.
NOTES: The Pirates announced earlier in the day that former players Jeff Nelson, Maxime Ouellet and Patrick Boileau are this year’s nominees for the Portland Pirates Hall of Fame. The Induction Ceremony will take place March 9 before a match-up against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins.