Maine Hockey Journal

Pirates ‘embarrassed’ at home

(PHOTO: Ron Morin)

(PHOTO: Ron Morin)

LEWISTON – Portland Pirates head coach Ray Edwards disagreed his team looked like a team out of their league Sunday afternoon against the Springfield Falcons.

Jack Skille had a four-point game (2 goals, 2 assists) for the Falcons as they thumped the Pirates, 9-3, before an announced crowd of 2,458 at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee, handing the Pirates its eighth loss (2-7-0-1) in their last 10 games.

It was also the first time in Pirates franchise history the team has allowed nine goals in a game on home ice. Twice before, with the last time being in 2002 against the Lowell Lock Monsters, the Pirates have allowed eight goals in a game.

“It’s embarrassing,” Edwards said. “We’re embarrassed by that game. This team, we’ve had to deal with a lot, but they’ve never quit.”

With the loss, combined with a shootout loss by the Albany Devils, the Pirates (21-28-2-8) are only 18 points away from being eliminated from playoff contention.

Only hours before the game, Portland lost its top forward after Andy Miele was recalled by the parent club, Phoenix Coyotes. Miele has been the Pirates leading scorer for much of the season. In 56 games, he’s posted 23 goals, 35 assists for 58 points, ranking him fifth in AHL scoring.

Miele joins defensive prospect Brandon Gormley, who was recalled on Friday, and Brandon McMillan in Phoenix. Add in the loss of forward Chris Brown, traded to the Washington Capitals, and Rusty Klesla and David Rundblad, both moved in last Wednesday’s NHL trade deadline and the Portland Pirates was very much a different looking roster.

It wasn’t an excuse Edwards wanted to latch the loss onto, despite skating with 17 skaters. He felt the outcome of the game didn’t reflect how the game was played on the ice.

“I know you see a 9-3 game, but it’s not even close to being a 9-3 game,” he said. “You look at the chances and the way the game was played. They had some momentum swings and we had some momentum swings. They scored on their chances. That was the deal, but it wasn’t a 9-3 game.”

The Falcons were all over the Pirates early and often scoring four times in the first period.

Patrick McNeil opened the scoring at 4:21 of the first period, followed by Sean Collins on a breakaway that beat Pirates’ goalie Mark Visentin only 22 seconds later as the Falcons grabbed a 2-0 lead.

Darian Dziurzynski was called for goaltending interference and with two seconds left on the ensuing power play, Dana Tyrell ripped a slap shot from the inside of the right circle past Visentin for a 3-0 lead.

With 3:06 left in the opening period, Springfield tallied its second power-play goal for a 4-0 lead when Daryl Boyce tipped the pick between the legs of the Visentin.

Edwards made a goaltending change to start the second period as Louis Domingue entered the game in relief for Visentin, who finished with six saves in the first period, and the Pirates responded as forward Brett Hextall beat Falcons’ netminder Mike McKenna off the faceoff in the right circle, cutting into the lead, 4-1, at the 3:02 mark of the period.

Midway into the second period, special teams kicked for the Falcons as Michael Chaput, who played at the Colisee as a member of the Lewiston Maineiacs recorded the team’s third power-play goal of the game, followed by Darryl Boyce, scoring a shorthanded goal 36 seconds later to give Springfield a commanding 6-1 lead.

Austin Madaisky scored his fourth goal of the season unassisted at 14:31 as Springfield went into the locker room after forty minutes up 7-1 over the Pirates.

Springfield kept attacking and were rewards scoring twice in the first two minutes of the third period.

Skilled scored twice in a 26-second span, ending Domingue’s night as Visentin came back into the game. Edwards didn’t want to delve into the team’s goalie situation.

“I think our goaltenders would admit they didn’t have a great night tonight,” he said.

Trailing 9-1, Tim Kennedy scored his first goal of the season five minutes into the third period, snapping a shot from the left circle past McKenna.

With 3:52 left in the game, Brandon Yip added a goal to make it 9-3.

“This team, we’ve had to deal with a lot and they’ve never quit,” Edwards said. “It hasn’t been a perfect year, obviously. I’ve got a lot of respect for our team because in games like this they keep fighting.”