Maine Hockey Journal

Pirates End 2006 With a “Poof”

Portland, ME – The Portland Pirates are glad 2006 is over.

Ryan Callahan’s shorthanded goal sealed the Pirates fate as the Hartford Wolf Pack defeated Portland 2-0 in front of a capacity crowd of 7,005 at the Cumberland County Civic Center on New Year’s Eve.

The Pirates have lost four straight games and currently is mired in a rut, winning only three of their last 10 games, including one game in their last five.

Over that period of time, the Pirates have gone through a great number of changes due to injuries with the Ducks, trades and loans to other clubs.

Just prior to the Christmas break, the Pirates lost the services of Kent Huskins, Pierre Parenteau, who was the Pirates’ leading goal scorer and Bruno St Jacques in a trade with Chicago. Also not with the team is Tim Brent, currently playing with Team Canada playing the Spengler Cup tournament in Davos, Switzerland as well as goaltender Sebastien Caron, just acquired in that same trade with Chicago.

“There is a good opportunity for [other players] to get some quality playing time and those players have got grab a hold of that and starting doing something positive with it,â€? said Pirates Head Coach Kevin Dineen.

Despite losing that many players, the Pirates coaching staff expects the rest of the team to fill in the missing gaps, picking up the slack, but that has been delayed, however, don’t expect any change in philosophy from the coaching staff.

“We play a high up-tempo style of hockey, we haven’t changed our system,â€? said Dineen. “That’s how we play. Now [issues are] it’s a little bit [of] execution and probably more confidence then anything else.â€?

The Pirates in the first period appeared to have a jump on the Wolf Pack, but goaltender Al Montoya was solid between the pipes, setting the tone early. That almost wasn’t the case as he took exception to several Pirates in the crease where pushing and shoving ensued followed by Pirates’ goaltender Dov Grumet-Morris making his way down the ice.

Luckily, neither goaltender was ejected as they received minor penalties for leaving the crease at 6:06 of the first period.

At 7:34 of the second period, the Wolf Pack would get on the board first as Brad Isbister scored his fifth of the season. Nigel Dawes picked the pocket of Pirates’ defenseman Clay Wilson in the left corner, feeding it to Brad Isbister, who out waited Grumet-Morris to lift the backhander inside the left post.

“It was a goal scorer’s goal,â€? said Grumet-Morris. “He had the patience to wait me out and the defense out so you have to give credit where credit is due.â€?

With Francis Lessard in the box serving two minutes for cross-checking, it was Hartford who took advantage as Ryan Callahan stole the puck from Brett Skinner for a breakaway, beating Grumet-Morris upstairs at 12:57 of the second period to take a 2-0 lead.

In the last three games, the Pirates have only been able to manage a single point, even though they have outshot their opponent by some 20 plus shots (119-92). A more perplexing issue is the fact that the Pirates have only scored three goals in those games.

“A lot of hard work for one point,â€? said Dineen. “There was a lot of solid work ethic; unfortunately it doesn’t always turn into points.â€?

Dov Grumet-Morris continued to impress on the ice giving the Pirates a chance to win every game he’s played. In five games with the Pirates, Grumet-Morris has a 1.78 GAA with a 0.950 save percentage. He’s faced 30 or more shots in his four starts with the Pirates.

“We’re a lunch pail bunch right now, we need good saves,â€? said Dineen. “We need that work ethic and we need to find the hole in the net. We have to recognize the moment and take advantage of it.â€?

At the other end of the ice, Al Montoya earned his second shutout this week by stopping all 28 shots the Pirates threw at him.

Plank Notes:
– Geoff Peters will return to the line up next Friday after missing 30 games due to having sports hernia surgery.
– Tim Brent will also return after missing the weekend. Team Canada fell 3-2 to host team HC Davos in the Spengler Cup final.
– Ducks’ defenseman Chris Pronger suffered a broken foot in a 4-3 loss to the Minnesota Wild. It’s expected a defenseman will be recalled from Portland to replace him.
– The Pirates will look to right the ship when they take on the Springfield Falcons at the MassMutual Center on Friday. Game Time is 7:35pm.

Three Stars of Game:
1. HFD – Al Montoya (28SH/28SV)
2. POR – Dov Grumet-Morris (38SH/36SV)
3. HFD – Brad Isbister (1G, GWG, +1)

Shots on Goal:
POR 7-10-11=28
HFD 5-18-15=38

Goals by Period:
POR 0-0-0=0
HFD 0-2-0=2

Power Play Summary:
Portland Pirates PP – 0-for-4
Hartford Wolf Pack PP – 0-for-5

Scoring Summary:
2. HFD Isbister, (5) (Dawes), 7:34
2. HFD Callahan, (21) , 12:57 (SH)

Penalty Summary:
1 – HFD Lessard, 6:06 – Roughing , 2 min
1 – HFD Montoya, 6:06 – Leaving the crease , 2 min
1 – POR Bembridge, 6:06 – Roughing , 2 min
1 – POR Grumet-Morris, 6:06 – Leaving the crease , 2 min
1 – POR Rome, 6:06 – Slashing , 2 min (PP)
1 – POR Salcido, 6:58 – Hooking , 2 min (PP)
1 – HFD Ortmeyer, 10:41 – Interference , 2 min (PP)
1 – HFD Liffiton, 13:40 – Fighting , 5 min
1 – POR Saunders, 13:40 – Fighting , 5 min
1 – HFD Lampman, 14:38 – Slashing , 2 min (PP)
2 – HFD Degon, 7:00 – Hooking , 2 min
2 – POR Ferguson, 7:00 – High-sticking , 2 min
2 – POR Skinner, 8:56 – Holding , 2 min (PP)
2 – HFD Lessard, 11:31 – Cross-checking , 2 min (PP)
2 – HFD Moore, 17:00 – Tripping , 2 min (PP)
2 – POR Salcido, 18:59 – Hooking , 2 min (PP)
3 – POR Keith, 6:44 – High-sticking , 2 min (PP)
3 – HFD Dubinsky, 11:51 – Roughing , 2 min
3 – POR Rome, 11:51 – Roughing , 2 min

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