Maine Hockey Journal

Pirates Stay on Track

Portland, ME – The road to the Calder Cup playoffs began on Wednesday night as the Portland Pirates begin a crucial stretch of game, which in all likelihood will decide the fourth and final playoff spot in the Atlantic Division.

So far so good as the Pirates prevailed over the Worcester Sharks, 4-1 in front of 3,875 at the Cumberland County Civic Center.

The Pirates received the effort from those they needed it from the most in a game Portland had to have if they wished to have any chance of leaping over both Worcester and the Lowell Devils, who beat Albany 4-3 after scoring three third period goals.

“Those were huge points,” said Pirates center Mark Hartigan. “It was a huge win and we need to take all the positives out it and carry it into Friday night.”

The Pirates seized the lead, 1-0 as Geoff Peters scored his fifth goal of the season at 7:54 of the first period. Just after Mark Hartigan served two minutes for high sticking, he worked the puck down low to Joe Motzko, who found Peters at the right face-off circle, beating Sharks’ goaltender Thomas Greiss with a wrist shot through the five-hole.

At 9:53 of the second period, Mike Iggulden found the back of the net, beating Pirates’ goaltender Sebastien Caron on a breakaway to the tie the game at 1-1.

At 12:42, with the Sharks down two men, the Pirates took advantage as Drew Miller blasted a one-timer by Greiss for the bottom of the right face-off circle with three seconds left in the two-man advantage.

For much of the game, the Pirates played playoff style hockey, keeping Worcester’s chances to a minimum, something Portland will need to do as the number of games dwindle down.

“Whenever [Worcester] got shots on net our [defense] did well clearing the net,” said Hartigan. “Our goalie was making the first save and sometimes the second, but overall everyone was getting back and trying to be in position. We played an overall well sixty-minute game.”

Hartigan, who had three assists on the night, scored on a one-timer from Joe Motzko as he ripped a shot from near the right side board at 11:12 of the third period.

Portland put the game out of reach as Ryan Carter scored just 1:29 later as the Pirates pulled out to a 4-1 lead.

Carter, between the face-off circles, managed to get a piece of Clay Wilson’s rising shot from the top of the zone. Carter deflected the puck between the legs of Greiss, who was jumping to deflect the puck out of play.

“It was one of those games we knew what we exactly had to do and the highs weren’t very high and lows weren’t too low,” said Pirates Head Coach Kevin Dineen. “We’re playing better hockey and that’s a reflection in the outcomes.”

Sebastien Caron made 26 saves in the win, while Thomas Greiss allowed four goals on 28 shots in the loss.

Plank Notes:
– With the win, the Pirates captured the Unum Cup as part of the 10-game Unum Challenge on Wednesday night at the Cumberland County Civic Center. The Unum Cup will be awarded to the team on Fan Appreciation Night on April 15th.
– Chris Pronger will be out for up two weeks after he suffered a broken toe in a post-game work out. Nobody from Portland has been summoned as of yet because Anaheim is currently carrying seven defenseman.
– The Pirates will return to action on Friday when they face-off against the Springfield Falcons at the MassMutual Center in Springfield Mass. Game time is 7:35pm.

Three Stars of the Game:
1. POR – Mark Hartigan (1G, 2A, +2)
2. POR – Drew Miller (1G, 1A, +1, GWG)
3. POR – Joe Motzko (2A, +2)

Shots on Goal:
POR 9-12-7 = 28
WOR 10-7-10 = 27

Goals by Period:
POR 1-1-2=4
WOR 0-1-0=1

Power Play Summary:
Portland Pirates PP – 1-for-4
Worcester Sharks PP – 0-for-4

Scoring Summary:
1. POR Peters, (5) (Motzko, Hartigan), 7:54
2. WOR Iggulden, (24) (Darche), 9:53
2. POR Miller, (10) (Wilson, Hartigan), 12:42 (PP)
3. POR Hartigan, (24) (Motzko, Miller), 11:12
3. POR Carter, (10) (Wilson, Peters), 12:41

Penalty Summary:
1 – POR Hartigan, 5:34 – High-sticking , 2 min (PP)
2 – WOR Evans, 0:33 – Interference , 2 min (PP)
2 – POR Peters, 4:49 – Tripping , 2 min (PP)
2 – WOR Staubitz, 7:01 – Slashing , 2 min (PP)
2 – WOR Prudden, 10:45 – Tripping , 2 min (PP)
2 – WOR Traverse, 12:17 – Hooking , 2 min (PP)
2 – POR Salcido, 14:55 – Hooking , 2 min (PP)
3 – POR Ferguson, 15:22 – High-sticking , 2 min (PP)
3 – WOR Mink, 19:08 – Fighting , 5 min
3 – POR Amadio, 19:08 – Fighting , 5 min
3 – WOR Leisenring, 19:25 – Roughing , 2 min
3 – POR Carter, 19:25 – Roughing , 2 min

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