Maine Hockey Journal

Pirates still have a beat in playoff hopes

Portland, ME – There is still a pulse.

Joe Motzko scored in the shootout as the Portland Pirates prevailed over the Lowell Devils before a crowd of 6,328 at the Cumberland County Civic Center, keeping their slim playoff hopes alive.

Despite the win, the Pirates still gave up a point to the Devils, now tied with Worcester for fourth place with 79 points.

“It was probably fair,” said Devils Coach Kurt Kleinendorst. “We were very good in the first, not so good in the second and in the third we played well enough to win, but they were opportunistic on their chances.”

The Pirates found themselves behind 2-0 after 20 minutes of play.

At 7:37, Petr Varna streaking across the slot sent a quick wrist shot by Pirates’ goaltender Gerald Coleman, while on the power play, giving the Devils a 1-0 lead.

Chris Minard, leading scorer for the Devils made it 2-0 a little over four minutes later. Barry Tallackson dished the puck to Minard near the top of the right face-off circle, who lifted a snap shot over the glove of Coleman at 11:43 of the first period.

Lowell settled into traditional Devils hockey, much like the parent club for much of the second period.

The Pirates would eventually get on the board as Simon Ferguson scored only his sixth goal of the season. Racing down the right side of the ice, Ferguson ripped a slap shot, beating Devils goaltender Frank Doyle between the legs with 5:57 left in the second period.

It looked like the Devils were going to clog up center ice as much as possible for the final period as both teams had minuscule shots on goal. However, the Pirates final broke through with 4:58 left in the game when Aaron Rome, parked at the right face-off circle ripped a bullet that was redirected by a defender in front of Doyle to tie the game at 2-2.

Outshot 25-16, the Devils accomplished what they set out to do – earn points – something the Devils had done in 21 of their last 25 games.

After a scoreless overtime, The Pirates would get a break in the shootout, as they were tied 1-1; Doyle stopped Mark Hartigan shot on goal, but back swatted the rebound into the net, putting the Pirates up 2-1.

The Devils regained the 3-2 lead when Gerald Coleman lost his balance and fell to the ice. Mike Pandolfo just a little deke shot by Coleman who hadn’t set himself for the shot.

Geoff Peter gave the Pirates a new lease in the shootout as he slid the puck underneath Doyle to tie the shootout at 3-3.

Joe Motzko netted the game-winner to give the Pirates the crucial win.

Frank Doyle stopped 27 of 28 shots in the loss, while Gerald Coleman made 16 saves for the win.

Plank Notes:
– Sebastien Caron was recalled to Anaheim earlier in the day because J.S. Giguere and Wife are expecting their first child any day.
– David McKee was recalled from the Augusta Lynx of the ECHL, he wasn’t able to make it to Portland on time; however, he will join the Pirates in Bridgeport.
– Tim Heneroty was signed to a PTO because Portland was unable to get anyone from Augusta on time.
– The Pirates are on the road this weekend for a pair of game against the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. Game time on Saturday is 7:00pm

Three Stars of the Game:
1. POR – Joe Motzko (GWG)
2. POR – Simon Ferguson (1G, +1)
3. LOW – Chris Minard (1G)

Shots on Goal:
POR 9-11-5-4-1=30
LOW 6-4-6-2-0=18

Goals by Period:
POR 0-1-1-0-1=3
LOW 2-0-0-0-0=2

Power Play Summary:
Portland Pirates PP – 0-for-3
Lowell Devils PP – 1-for-2

Goaltending Summary:
POR – Gerald Coleman (W) (4-3-0) 18 Shots/ 16 Saves
LOW – Frank Doyle (SOL) (18-20-4) 29 Shots/ 27 Saves

Scoring Summary:
1. LOW Vrana, (12) (Mottau, McGillis), 7:37 (PP)
1. LOW Minard, (27) (Tallackson), 11:43
2. POR Ferguson, (6) (Weinrich, Carter), 14:03
3. POR Rome, (7) (Wirtanen, Melin), 15:02

Penalty Summary:
1 – POR Motzko, 6:47 – Tripping , 2 min (PP)
2 – LOW Minard, 2:40 – Holding the stick , 2 min (PP)
2 – LOW Vrana, 9:12 – Interference , 2 min (PP)
2 – POR Blanchard, 9:51 – Tripping , 2 min (PP)
OT – LOW Murphy, 3:12 – Roughing , 2 min (PP)

Shootout Summary:
Lowell Shootout
Ryan (J.) Murphy – Goal
Brad Mills – No Goal
Stephen Gionta – No Goal
Petr Vrana – Goal
Mike Pandolfo – Goal
Mike Pandolfo – No Goal
Total: 3

Portland Shootout
Bjorn Melin – No Goal
Joe Motzko – Goal
Mark Hartigan – Goal
Brian Salcido – No Goal
Geoff Peters – Goal
Joe Motzko – Goal
Total: 4

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