Maine Hockey Journal

Pirates Salvage Point; Still in Search of Goals

Portland, ME – In a battle for second place in the Atlantic Division, the Portland Pirates fell, 2-1 in heartbreaking fashion to the Hartford Wolf Pack in front of 6,096 at the Cumberland County Civic Center.

Tonight’s contest carried more weight then a simple loss to the Wolf Pack as the division leading Manchester Monarchs had the night off, giving the Pirates an opportunity to gain some valuable ground, while maintaining second place in the Atlantic Division standings.

The Pirates, winners of seven of their last ten games at the Cumberland County Civic Center, jumped on the Wolf Pack early, but goaltender Al Montoya appeared to be in top form once again, holding the Pirates scoreless for 119:48 including a 2-0 shutout on Dec 31st. The Wolf Pack has kept the Pirates at bay for 205:45, which includes back-to-back shutouts (1-0, 2-0).

With the Pirates down, looking at a possible third straight shutout against Hartford, Tim Brent batted home a deflection off Aaron Rome as the Pirates tied the game at 1-1 with only 12 seconds left in the period. Wolf Pack defenseman Bryce Lampman was serving two minutes for cross-checking at 18:46, with the goaltender pulled for the extra attacker, the Pirates had a 6-on-4 advantage, Ryan Shannon worked the puck from the point, firing a shot on Montoya, the rebound hit Rome and squirted to Brent, who lifted the backhander over Montoya.

Dov Grumet-Morris was making his fifth start with the Pirates, first since signing his second PTO last week, played well enough to win, but the Pirates were caught napping as the Wolf Pack grabbed an early 1-0 lead.

“Both our teams match up well against each other, defensively we [have] played strong, however, both teams had more opportunities to score,â€? said Pirates’ goaltender Dov Grumet-Morris. “The most important thing is consistency, that’s the most important thing [needed] in net, if you look at the best goaltenders in the NHL; they are the most consistent [players].â€?

At 1:25 of the second period, Ryan Callahan threw the puck to the front of the net, where Dane Byers, with the back of his stick, redirected the puck by Grumet-Morris.

The Pirates were held to one shot on net for just over 14 minutes, before a late period power play allowed the Pirates to tack on a couple shots before the period came to an end.

To date, the Pirates worst period has been the second period, allowing 43 goals including the goal by Byers, which is close to double what they allow in the first and second period combined (49).

Offensively, the Pirates continue to struggle as they’re currently ranked 23rd in the AHL in offense production.

“It nothing but work,â€? said Pirates’ head coach Kevin Dineen. “We’re obviously in a scoring crunch to a certain extent; we’ve just to keep the faith.â€?

Both teams were held scoreless in the overtime period, forcing the game to a shootout, where Portland is 3-4 on the season. The Wolf Pack was 3-0 going in the shootout against Portland.

Nigel Dawes and Jarkko Immonen scored for the Wolf Pack giving them a 2-0 lead in the shootout, before Zenon Konopka pulled Portland to within one. Drew Miller needed to score to keep the shootout going, but fired the puck over the crossbar and the Wolf Pack held on for the win, taking sole possession of second place in the Atlantic Division.

Plank Notes:
– Garett Bembridge was recalled by the Portland Pirates from the Augusta Lynx of the ECHL. In 15 games, he’s scored 3 goals, 2 assists for 5 points and 10 penalty minutes.
– Curtis Glencross scored his first NHL goal at 5:20 of the first period.
– The Pirates try to get into the win column tomorrow when they face the Worcester Sharks at the Cumberland County Civic Center. Game Time 4:05pm.

Three Stars of the Game:
1. POR – Dov Grumet-Morris (38SH/37SV)
2. HFD – Al Montoya (31SH/30SV)
3. POR – Tim Brent (1G, GTG)

Shots on Goal:
POR 15-5-9-2-0=31
HFD 11-13-13-1-1=39

Goals by Period:
POR 0-0-1-0-0=1
HFD 0-1-0-0-1=2

Power Play Summary:
Portland Pirates PP – 1-for-5
Hartford Wolf Pack PP – 0-for-2

Scoring Summary:
2. HFD Byers, ( 10 ) (Callahan), 1:25
3. POR Brent, ( 8 ) (Rome, Shannon), 19:12 (PP)

Penalty Summary:
1 – HFD Baranka, 2:04 – Holding , 2 min (PP)
1 – HFD Callahan, 4:19 – Roughing , 2 min (PP)
1 – HFD Lessard, 8:54 – Fighting , 5 min
1 – POR Gillies, 8:54 – Fighting , 5 min
1 – POR Miller, 15:06 – Slashing , 2 min (PP)
1 – HFD Immonen, 17:22 – Boarding , 2 min (PP)
1 – POR Shannon, 19:21 – Hooking , 2 min (PP)
2 – HFD Immonen, 14:09 – Holding , 2 min (PP)
3 – HFD Lampman, 18:46 – Cross-checking , 2 min (PP)

Shootout Summary:

Portland Pirates:
Colby Genoway – No Goal
Ryan Shannon – No Goal
Brett Skinner – No Goal
Zenon Konopka – Goal
Drew Miller – No Goal

Total: 1

Hartford Wolf Pack:
Ryan Callahan – No Goal
Nigel Dawes – Goal
Jarkko Immonen – Goal
Brandon Dubinsky – No Goal

Total: 2

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