Maine Hockey Journal

Pirates Stung by Loss

Portland, ME – One day after the Anaheim Ducks completed a blockbuster five-player deal transforming the Portland Pirates.

They were robbed.

Outshooting the Springfield Falcons 38-16 wasn’t enough as the Falcons took advantage a couple lucky bounces to beat the Pirates 2-1 in front of 5,299 at the Cumberland County Civic Center.

In the last three games against the Pirates in Portland, the Falcons have received a considerable contribution from one line as the Norm Milley-Daniel Corso-Eric Healey line have combined for 20 points (7 goals, 13 assists) and a plus-15. Healey leads the way with 5 goals, 3 assists for 8 points, followed by Corso (7 assists) and Milley (2 goals, 3 assists).

Again, that line would come through, scoring two goals in the third period to give Springfield the 2-1 lead.

“It’s been a key line for us all season, said Falcons’ Head Coach Steve Sterling. “They’ve played [well], they’re veteran guys, even in practice they practice hard every day [showing] the young kids what it takes.â€?

Norm Milley scored his team-leading 16th goal at 8:45 of the third period, while on the power play. Milley got a lucky deflection as he fired the puck from the top of the left face-off circle, beating newly acquired goaltender Sebastien Caron.

Just over two minutes later, Eric Healey made a nice play to pull Caron away from the far post, sliding the puck past Caron into the open net at 10:57 of the third period.

The game may have had a drastically different outcome if it wasn’t for Falcons’ goaltender Karri Ramo as he made 37 saves in the victory. It was Ramo who kept the Falcons in the game as the Pirates pelted the Finnish netminder with shot-after-shot. The Pirates outshot the Falcons in the first two periods by a combined 29-6 including the first period where Portland only allowed the Falcons one shot on goal, a weak shot by Blair Jones with 1:13 left in the first period.

“He stole [the] game for us,â€? said Sterling. He gave us a chance down 1-0 after two, were still in it. We stole one; it’s one we didn’t deserve.â€?

In the second period, the Pirates would get the early lead on a goal by Garett Bembridge, his third of the year at 2:49 of the period. Falcons’ defenseman Andy Delmore turned the puck over at the Pirates’ blueline; Bembridge picked the puck up, firing a wrist shot, beating Ramo, just inside the left post to give the Pirates a 1-0 lead.

The Pirates had several more chances, however they couldn’t capitalize. Zenon Konopka would ring a puck off the post late in the third period and Garett Bembridge narrowly missed his second goal of the night as he couldn’t corral the puck into an empty-net.

“It’s a frustrating loss tonight,â€? said Pirates’ forward Zenon Konopka. “We played well enough to win, but we also can’t forget the fact we didn’t win and didn’t get the two points. You learn from winning, but you learn a lot more from losing. In a game like this is where you can learn a lot, you take your foot off the pedal for even a couple minutes; an opportunistic team like this will jump on it.â€?

Even though the outcome wasn’t what the Pirates had hoped, it was a good litmus test as the Pirates had six new players in the lineup tonight either by trade, call-up or free agent signing.

Matt Keith, Chris Durno and Sebastien Caron played well despite not arriving Portland until 10:30 am this morning. Still in their Blackhawk gear, they took to the ice for the morning skate. Keith had five shots on net, playing on the top line with Colby Genoway and Zenon Konopka.

“It was late last night we found out,â€? said Pirates forward Chris Durno. “From about 9 pm on we were scrambling to get our loose ends tied up in Norfolk, we were excited about getting down here.â€?

J.B. Bittner and Nathan Saunders, familiar to the organization also played well on the night.

Sebastien Caron made 14 saves in the loss.

Plank Notes:
– Anaheim Ducks goaltender Mike Wall recorded his first NHL point, an assist on Anaheim first goal of the game scored by Teemu Selanne. The Ducks would lose the game 4-2.
– The Pirates set a new low for the season by allowing only one shot on goal in the first period since allowing two shots on goal against the Providence Bruins on Oct. 14, 2006.
– The Pirates have fallen to second place for only the second time this season.
– In his Norfolk Admirals debut, Pierre Parenteau notched three assists as the Admirals defeated the Lowell Devils 4-3.
– Portland is back in action tomorrow when they travel to Worcester, Mass. to take on the Sharks at the DCU Center. Game Time is 7:05pm.

Three Stars of the Game:
1. SPR – Karri Ramo (38SH/37SV)
2. POR – Garett Bembridge (1G)
3. SPR – Norm Milley (1G, 1A, +1)

Shots on Goal:
SPR – 1-5-10=16
POR – 13-16-9=38

Goals by Period:
SPR – 0-0-2=2
POR – 0-1-0=1

Power Play Summary:
Springfield Falcons PP – 1-for-4
Portland Pirates PP – 0-for-4

Scoring Summary:
2. POR Bembridge, (3) , 2:49
3. SPR Milley, (16) (Healey, Corso), 8:45 (PP)
3. SPR Healey, (14) (Milley), 10:57

Penalty Summary:
1 – SPR Spina, 1:02 – Kneeing , 2 min (PP)
2 – POR Genoway, 4:15 – High-sticking , 2 min (PP)
2 – POR Ferguson, 9:26 – Boarding , 2 min (PP)
2 – POR Wirtanen, 11:20 – Hooking , 2 min (PP)
2 – SPR Rogers, 12:11 – Holding , 2 min (PP)
3 – SPR Lascek, 1:34 – Tripping , 2 min (PP)
3 – POR Carter, 8:29 – Hooking , 2 min (PP)
3 – SPR Delmore, 12:03 – Hooking , 2 min (PP)

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply