Maine Hockey Journal

Shootout Foils Pirates…..Again

Portland, ME – In what has been a symbol of the Portland Pirates season by where they dominate an opponent for close to 60 minutes, yet only to secure one point at a time when two points are a necessity.

Sunday was no exception, despite outshooting the Philadelphia Phantoms by a two-to-one margin, the Pirates could only get one goal past goaltender Scott Munroe, as the Phantoms scored a late period goal, sending the game to a shootout before prevailing 2-1 in front of 5,626 at the Cumberland County Civic Center.

If the Pirates wish to make the playoffs, they will need to find a cure in a hurry to being able to close out games late in the period. In four of the Pirates last eight games, they have held a lead late into a period only to give up a tying goal and lose in overtime or the shootout.

“We played a well-rounded game and not to come out with a better reward then we did is really discouraging,” Pirates Head Coach Kevin Dineen.

At 4:06 of the period, Joe Motzko put the Pirates in front with a 1-0 lead as he completed a great individual effort. Motzko picked the puck up near the right point, skating deep into the zone. Phantoms defenseman Rosario Ruggeri fell to the ice in an attempt to block Motzko drive to the net, but Motzko slid the puck underneath Ruggeri, before stuffing the backhander by Munroe as he was falling to the ice.

It appeared the Pirates may have scored a second goal only 15 seconds later, but referee Terry Koharski was quick to wave off the goal as he blew the whistle on a delayed call against the Phantoms.

The Pirates completely controlled the first half of the period, as the Phantoms didn’t record their second shot on net until the 9:00 minute mark of the first period.

“Early on, we were all over them down low,” said Peters, “that’s where we created our offense, but we allowed them back in the game. I thought we deserved a better fate.”

A poor line change by the Pirates nearly allowed Philadelphia to tie the game, but Pirates goaltender Sebastien Caron made the saves when called upon.

The Phantoms finally capitalized with 6:45 left in the game as Denis Tolpeko, streaking down the right side wing, tossed the puck into the front of the net where Boyd Kane tipped the shot over Caron to tie the game at 1-1.

Mark Hartigan had a chance to end it in OT for the Pirates, but Munroe made the save sending the game to shootout.

“We felt like this was a game that we played very well and had a chance to come out with really four points against a team [including the 2-1SO loss in Philadelphia],” said Dineen.
The Pirates have had trouble all season in the shootout as they currently lead the league with nine losses. In 13 shootouts for the Pirates this season, they have only four wins and a league-leading nine losses. They’ve only scored 11 goals on 62 attempts for 0.177 scoring percentage, which is currently next to last in the league.

“We been really unfortunate in our shootout losses,” said Peters, “it’s something we keyed on; it’s not something we’ve been blinded by. It’s definitely really frustrating because we’ve really started to work on it in practice.”

In the shootout, Mark Cullen and Matt Ellison scored for the Phantoms as Munroe stopped all four Pirates shooters.

Sebastien Caron stopped 18 shots in the loss, while Scott Munroe stood on his head at times, stopping 41 of 42 shots in the win.

Plank Notes:
– The Portland Pirates recalled Sean Blanchard from the Augusta Lynx of the ECHL. In 55 games with the Lynx, he’s scored 14 goals, 31 assists for 45 points and 76 penalty minutes.
– A scary moment for the Pirates during the game happened midway into the third period when a shot by Denis Tolpeko hit goaltender Sebastien Caron in the right shoulder. He was down on the ice for several minutes before getting back to his feet. He stayed in net for the remainder of the game.
– The Lowell Devils defeated the Providence Bruins 5-2 on Sunday afternoon. With the win, the Pirates are now trailing fourth place Lowell by five points and fifth place Worcester, who was idle, by three points. The Pirates have two games in hand on both Lowell and Worcester as the Pirates have 17 games remaining to make their final playoff push which will begin on Friday as the Pirates will travel to Lowell, Mass. to take on the Devils at Tsongas Arena. Game time is 7:00pm.

Three Stars of the Game:
1. PHI – Matt Cullen (1A, GWG)
2. POR – Joe Motzko (1G, +1)
3. PHI – Scott Munroe (42SH/41SV)

Shots on Goal:
POR 12-11-16-3-0=42
PHI 6-6-6-1-1=20

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

Power Play Summary:
Portland Pirates PP – 0-for-4
Philadelphia Phantoms PP – 0-for-4

Scoring Summary:
1. POR Motzko, (22) , 4:03
3. PHI Kane, (7) (Tolpeko, Cullen), 13:15

Penalty Summary:
1 – PHI Meloche, 4:18 – Slashing , 2 min (PP)
1 – POR Melin, 11:31 – Interference , 2 min (PP)
1 – PHI Kane, 14:38 – Misconduct – Abuse of officials (40.4), 10 min
2 – POR Weinrich, 8:33 – Hooking , 2 min (PP)
2 – POR Hartigan, 11:04 – Hooking , 2 min (PP)
2 – PHI Tolpeko, 11:51 – Tripping , 2 min (PP)
3 – PHI Guenin, 0:34 – Holding , 2 min (PP)
3 – PHI Guenin, 10:33 – Slashing , 2 min (PP)
OT – POR Hartigan, 4:14 – Interference , 2 min (PP)
OT – PHI Cullen, 4:42 – Hooking , 2 min

Shootout Summary:
Portland Shootout
Garett Bembridge – No Goal
Joe Motzko – No Goal
Mark Hartigan – No Goal
Geoff Peters -No Goal

Total: 0

Philadelphia Shootout
Mark Cullen – Goal
Matt Ellison – Goal
Denis Tolpeko – No Goal

Total: 2

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