It was the second extra session loss for the Pirates at the Cumberland County Civic Center in two nights.
With 1:36 remaining in the game, the Pirates were set to go on the power play after Darian Dziurzynski was boarded by Alex Grant. Chris Brown took exception to the play and was assessed a roughing penalty, leading to four-on-four play.
At 19:49, Maxime Goncharov took his second ill-advised cross check of the game that ended up giving the Penguins a power play that propelled them to the win.
Just 38 seconds into the extra frame Chad Kolarik jammed the puck past Pirates’ goaltender Mike Lee for the win.
“I’m very disappointed with our penalties at the end,” said coach Ray Edwards. “You can’t win important games, meaningful games when you take penalties like that.”
The Penguins jumped out to a two-goal lead in the first of what would be a hard fought, chippy, grind-it-out type of game.
Joseph Morrow converted on the Penguins first power-play opportunity at 7:45, as his shot from the face off dot in the near side circle found its way past Lee for the 1-0 lead. Biddeford’s own Brian Dumouin picked up an assist on the play in his first pro game back home in Maine.
Just over two minutes later, at 9:48, Jayson Megna tipped a shot from Kolarik during a net front battle for the two-goal cushion.
Things continued as they had in the first for the Pirates, and it wasn’t looking that great. Then Portland’s specialty teams kicked in.
At 14:13, while the teams skated four-on-four, Chris Conner knocked in a rebound while down on one knee for the Pirates’ first goal to cut the lead to 2-1. Conner’s goal broke a string of six goals against the Pirates at home this weekend.
Keeping in stride with the Penguins, just 1:27 later at 15:40, Brown added another power play goal to his resume to tie the game. Alexandre Bolduc fought through a check and carried the puck behind Brad Thiessen’s net. He found a passing lane to Brown, who gathered the puck and snapped it over Thiessen for his 11th power play goal this season.
“We got the one goal, then scored again to get back into the game,” said Edwards. “Once we got 2-2, it was a game of inches after that. There was a lot of battles, races, it was really competitive.”
The Pirates took the lead just 1:37 into the third when Chris Brown gathered a loose puck at his defensive blue line after Joey Mormina was unable to keep the puck in the zone. He broke in alone on Thiessen and wristed the puck past him for his second goal of the night.
Zach Sill scored the equalizer for the Penguins at 3:47.
At the end of the day, the Pirates are still battling with undisciplined penalties. It’s an issue that has plagued them in the past, and continues to do so.
When asked if the team being young had anything to do with the ill-advised penalties Brown said, “No, I just think it’s something we have to fix. I think we’re mature enough.”
NOTES: There was post-game scrum along the boards at the penalty benches. Dziurzynski and Lee were both assessed 10-minute misconducts for unsportsmanlike conduct along with Penguins left wing Bobby Farnham.