Maine Hockey Journal

McKee Burns Devils

Lowell MA – The Anaheim Ducks have a bright future in goal if the last three games are any indication of David McKee’s play. McKee made 36 saves, as the battle in the Atlantic Division is a lot tighter after the Portland Pirates put together a complete 60-minute game effort, beating the Lowell Devils 3-1 in front of an announced crowd of 3,094 at Tsongas Arena.

Portland (78 points) pulled to within three points of Lowell and five points of idle Worcester, who is currently in fourth-place with the victory.

The Pirates zipped out to the 3-0 lead after 40 minutes of play.

“Our backs are against the wall,” said Pirates forward Trevor Gillies. “It was a do-or-die situation, we know Lowell is the least penalized team in the league so we had to come out and be discipline.”

At 10:59 of the first period, Joe Motzko beat a Lowell defender for the puck behind the net, throwing a shot on goal, but the puck deflected off Mike Hoffman’s back into the net as the Pirates grabbed the 1-0 lead.

David McKee was on his game all night, making save-after-save as he kept the Devils on off the board. McKee stopped David Clarkson from point blank range, only to stop make a brilliant left leg save on Alex Brooks a short time later.

Soon after the save on Brooks, the Pirates raced down the ice as Brian Salcido flipped a cross-ice pass to Mark Hartigan, who unleashed a one-timer by Devils goaltender Frank Doyle, giving the Pirates a 2-0 at 11:05 of the second period.

“He’s given us a strong two games in a row,” said Pirates Head Coach Kevin Dineen. “There was a couple saves – not momentum saves – A save is made and it refocuses the [group] and that’s what we got tonight.”

Portland would keep their foot on the throat of the Devils for the rest of the second period. Ryan Carter was the beneficiary of a lucky bounce as Grant Marshall was serving two minutes for roughing. Carter fired a shot from the left face-off circle where it deflected off Mark Fraser and ricochet into the upper corner of the net at 16:45 as the Pirates held a 3-0 lead going into the locker room after two periods of play.

McKee would lose his shutout streak at 125:04 as Mike Pandolfo was credited with putting the Devils on the board, early in the third period. Dan McGillis, at the top of the right face-off circle, ripped a shot on goal, McKee watch the shot, but Pandolfo’s stick redirected the puck by McKee at 2:09 of the final period.

“I saw [the puck], it was coming to my stomach, but it was tipped to my lower glove side,” said McKee. “It would have been nice to get the shutout, but you can’t always get one, I’m just glad we won the game.”

The Pirates buckled down and continue to play solid defense for the remaining 17:51 including killing off two more power plays, overall the Pirates have killed off their last 16 power plays, as they seemed to found that key piece.

“Guy’s stood up when they had too,” said Dineen, “It’s hard on [our players] taking that many penalties, its very tiring endeavor.”

McKee will most likely see action on Saturday in Springfield and again on Sunday at home versus the Falcons.

Plank Notes:
– Bobby Ryan’s Owen Sound Attack lost to the London Knights, losing the series 4-0. Ryan most likely ended his junior career, as he will join the Pirates tomorrow in Springfield.
– The Pirates are back in action tomorrow as they travel down the Mass Pike to Springfield, taking on the Falcons at the MassMutual Center. Game time is 7:30pm

Three Stars of the Game:
1. POR – David McKee (37SH/36SV)
2. POR – Joe Motzko (2A, +1)
3. LOW – Dan McGillis (1A, +1)

Shots on Goal:
POR 9-8-7=24
LOW 11-12-14=37

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

Goaltender Stats:
POR – David McKee (3-0-0) 37 Shots/ 36 Saves
LOW – Frank Doyle (19-21-4) 24 Shots/ 21 Saves

Power Play Summary:
Portland Pirates PP – 1-for-2
Lowell Devils PP – 0-for-6

Scoring Summary:
1. POR Hoffman, (10) (Motzko, Amadio), 10:59
2. POR Hartigan, (28) (Salcido, Wilson), 11:05
2. POR Carter, (13) (Miller, Motzko), 16:45 (PP)
3. LOW Pandolfo, (4) (McGillis, Bergfors), 2:09

Penalty Summary:
1 – LOW Brooks, 8:43 – Holding , 2 min (PP)
1 – POR O’Brien, 11:39 – Holding , 2 min (PP)
1 – POR Weinrich, 13:45 – Hooking , 2 min (PP)
2 – POR Rome, 7:13 – Hooking , 2 min (PP)
2 – LOW Marshall, 16:20 – Roughing , 2 min (PP)
2 – POR Blanchard, 17:52 – Tripping , 2 min (PP)
3 – POR Dingle, 4:06 – Hooking , 2 min (PP)
3 – POR Salcido, 16:51 – Hooking , 2 min (PP)
3 – POR Rome, 19:25 – Roughing , 2 min
3 – POR Rome, 19:25 – Roughing , 2 min
3 – LOW Clarkson, 19:25 – Roughing , 2 min
3 – LOW Clarkson, 19:25 – Roughing , 2 min

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