LEWISTON – The Portland Pirates did everything right in a 6-1 victory over the St. John’s IceCaps before a sellout crowd of 3,750 at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee Sunday afternoon.
Rookie Chris Brown led the offensive charge with two goals, defenseman Michael Stone had three assists, Portland had a power play goal, short-handed marker and finally goaltender Mike Lee made 31 saves in net.
With the win, the Pirates finished 5-1-0 this season at their second home away from home in Lewiston.
Portland also remains in second place in the AHL’s Atlantic Division as the Providence Bruins defeated the Worcester Sharks, 3-1.
“Last night was a very good effort from our guys,” said Pirates head coach Ray Edwards of the 3-1 win over Springfield. “I thought tonight was another good effort. We have put together a couple of good games together, so we are trying to get a little consistency.”
Mark Louis got the momentum on the Pirates side when he and Ryan Schnell dropped the gloves behind the net. The Pirates won the ensuing face-off and Phil Lane jammed home the puck with 5:35 remaining in the first period. Assists went to Rob Klinkhammer and Andy Miele.
Portland would soon go on the power play and strike again as Chris Brown notched his 11th goal of the season as he tipped a Michael Stone slap shot from the point. Brendan Shinnimin picked up the secondary helper with 2:03 remaining in the period.
With 57 seconds left in the stanza, Evan Brophey potted his fifth of the season to give the Pirates the 3-0 lead heading into the first intermission. Jordan Szwarz picked up the lone assist on the goal.
Portland started the second on the penalty kill as Boris Valabik took a double minor at the end of the first period.
“When it was 3-0 and we took the double minor at the end of the period, it didn’t make me very happy,” Edwards added. “Our guys did a good job killing it.”
Mike Lee kept St. John’s off the score sheet in the second period as he stopped all 10 shots he faced in the period.
“One of the reasons why we have been so successful has been our goaltending,” Edwards stated. “Mike was solid again tonight. Too bad we couldn’t finish it off there. It was a crazy bounce, but he has played very well.”
Portland went down to two men in the early going of the third period, but would make it 4-0. Michael Stone found Alexandre Bolduc for a short-handed breakaway attempt. Bolduc went upstairs on Chris Carrozzi at the 4:16 mark.
“The five-on-three we have to be smarter there,” said Edwards. “We can’t continually to take those penalties; we will make those adjustments this week.
Bolduc notched his second point of the period when he set up Chris Brown’s second goal of the game. Mathieu Brodeur picked up the secondary assist at the 7:40 mark of the third period.
Shinnimin picked up his ninth goal of the season, the Pirates sixth of the night with 2:07 to play in the game. Assists went to Stone and Jordan Martinook.
Jason Gregoire broke Mike Lee’s shutout bid with 30 seconds remaining in the contest. Chris Carrozzi made 30 saves in the losing effort.
“Their team is built similar to last year, for whatever reason they are struggling,” said Edwards of the IceCaps.
The Pirates go on the road Saturday to face Worcester and they are back at the Cumberland County Civic Center on Sunday to face the Manchester Monarchs.