Maine Hockey Journal

Pirates on Verge of Playoff Extinction

Manchester, NH – Any glimmer of hope that the Portland Pirates had of making the Calder Cup playoffs – while not mathematically – realistically ended Saturday afternoon as they fell to the Manchester Monarchs 6-3 before a crowd of 9,350 at the Verizon Wireless Arena.

With Providence earning a point in an overtime loss to Lowell and Worcester winning in overtime against the Senators, Worcester currently now occupies third (89 points), while Providence (88 points) sits in fourth position in the Atlantic Division. The Pirates need to win their remaining games and Providence to lose its remaining three games for any conceivable chance of making the playoffs.

“You can sit there and talk about our situation,” said Pirates Head Coach Kevin Dineen. “Watching the scoreboard, but if you’re don’t take care of your own business, you’re going to be in trouble.”

The Pirates and Monarchs played a defensive game for the first 15 minutes, however, in a span of 3:27, the Monarchs exploded with four goals.

“It’s a matter of a sixty minute game,” said Dineen, “obviously the last two games we’ve shown spurts, but not nearly the consistency that we need to beat these quality hockey teams.”

With Bjorn Melin in the box for roughing, Marty Murray managed to get Pirates goaltender David McKee off-balance, before finding Noah Clarke in the slot, who lifted the puck under the crossbar at 15:33 of the first period for the 1-0 Monarchs lead.

At 16:47, Jeff Giuliano, behind the net, dished the puck to Petr Kanko, skating across the crease, beating McKee with a snap shot to the fat post as the Monarchs quickly built a 2-0.

Just 15 seconds later, the Monarchs made it 3-0 on a delayed call against Portland. Petr Kanko carried the puck into the zone on a two-on-one, dishing off to Matt Ryan, who sent a one-timer by McKee at 17:02 of the first period.

With one minute left in the period, the Pirates had any chance of winning dashed as Jeff Likens scored his first of the season. Likens fired a shot from the top of the left face-off circle, beating McKee, who was screened in front as the Monarchs went up 4-0 in the first period.

“We get a power play chance and don’t generate anything there,” said Dineen. Then (we) take a costly preventable penalty and from there the preventable penalty turns into a goal, and things snowballed from there until you finally stopped the bleeding, and we didn’t stop it, mercifully the period ran out on us.”

The Monarchs blew the game wide open, extending the lead to 5-0 as Noah Clarke scored his second goal of night on the power play at 5:04 of the second period. Clarke connected on Marty Murray’s cross-ice feed, beating Gerald Coleman who replaced McKee to start the second period.

Tim Brent finally would get the Pirates on the scoreboard as he broke into the offensive zone on a 2-on-0 with Drew Miller. Brent faked a shot, before sliding the backhander underneath Monarchs goaltender Jason LaBarbera at 6:18 of the second period.

Just 22 seconds into the third period, Richard Petiot beat Coleman with a weak wrist shot, squirting by the left leg pad of Coleman as the Monarchs re-established their five-goal lead at 6-1.

The Pirates made the game a little more interesting, trying to mount a comeback, but it was way too little – way too late – as Clay Wilson scored a power play goal at 8:35 of the third period. LaBarbera couldn’t corral shot fired by Ryan Carter, giving up the rebound to Wilson, in the slot as he slipped the puck past LaBarbera while falling to the ice.

Bobby Ryan kept his scoring streak alive since his assignment to Portland when he was credited with a goal at 13:12 of the third period. Clay Wilson dished the puck to Ryan on an odd man rush. Ryan sent a quick wrist shot on LaBarbera, who went to play the puck, but inadvertently dropped it into his own net.

“That was probably the one positive [from tonight’s game],” said Dineen. “Bobby Bolt and Bobby Ryan both showed good flashes tonight, but when you’re at this time of the year, you’re not looking to check the potential of your players, you’re looking for points.”

At least the Pirates have something to look forward too.

Plank Notes:
– Joe Motzko was scratched from tonight’s game as a result of a shoulder injury suffered during the game in Hartford. He’s currently listed as day-to-day. Mike Hoffman (hip), Petteri Wirtanen (knee), Geoff Peters (abdominal) are all currently listed as day-to-day.
– The Pirates will return to action on Tuesday as they take on the Manchester Monarchs at the Cumberland County Civic Center. Game time is 7:05pm

Three Stars of the Game:
1. MCH – Noah Clarke (2G, -1)
2. MCH – Petr Kanko (1G, 1A, +2)
3. MCH – Jeff Likens (1G, 1A, +3, GWG)

Shots by Period:
POR 5-14-18=37
MCH 10-7-5=22

Goals by Period:
POR 0-1-2=3
MCH 4-1-1=6

Goaltending Summary:
POR – David McKee (L) (4-2-0) 10 Shots/ 6 Saves
Gerald Coleman (5-4-0) 12 Shots/ 10 Saves
MCH – Jason LaBarbera (W) (39-20-1) 36 Shots/ 33 Saves
Barry Brust (6-7-0) 1 Shot/ 1 Save

Power Play Summary:
Portland Pirates PP – 1-for-5
Manchester Monarchs PP – 2-for-9

Scoring Summary:
1. MCH Clarke, ( 23 ) (Murray, Harrold), 15:33 (PP)
1. MCH Kanko, ( 8 ) (Giuliano, Likens), 16:47
1. MCH Ryan, ( 8 ) (Kanko, Giuliano), 17:02
1. MCH Likens, ( 1 ) (Moulson, Gauthier), 19:00
2. MCH Clarke, ( 24 ) (Murray, Jackman), 5:04 (PP)
2. POR Brent, ( 15 ) (Rome), 6:18
3. MCH Petiot, (1) , 0:22
3. POR Wilson, ( 8 ) (Carter, Blanchard), 8:35 (PP)
3. POR Ryan, ( 3 ) (Wilson, Blanchard), 13:12

Penalty Summary:
1 – MCH Petiot, 8:05 – Tripping , 2 min (PP)
1 – POR Melin, 14:30 – Roughing , 2 min (PP)
1 – POR Ferguson, 17:31 – Fighting , 5 min
1 – MCH Jackman, 17:31 – Fighting , 5 min
2 – POR Gillies, 1:09 – Fighting , 5 min
2 – MCH Crosty, 1:09 – Fighting , 5 min
2 – POR Christie, 2:06 – Hooking , 2 min (PP)
2 – POR Amadio, 3:42 – Closing hand on puck , 2 min (PP)
2 – POR Ryan, 8:56 – Interference , 2 min (PP)
2 – MCH Buckley, 16:36 – High-sticking , 2 min (PP)
3 – MCH Harrold, 1:29 – Holding , 2 min (PP)
3 – POR Christie, 4:09 – High-sticking , 2 min (PP)
3 – POR Gillies, 4:09 – Unsportsmanlike conduct , 2 min (PP)
3 – MCH Buckley, 6:49 – Interference , 2 min (PP)
3 – POR Gillies, 9:06 – Instigating , 2 min (PP)
3 – POR Gillies, 9:06 – Fighting , 5 min
3 – POR Gillies, 9:06 – Misconduct – Instigating (47.10), 10 min
3 – MCH Jackman, 9:06 – Fighting , 5 min
3 – POR Served By Keith, 11:24 – Bench minor – Too many men , 2 min (PP)
3 – MCH Buckley, 12:19 – Holding , 2 min (PP)
3 – POR Carter, 19:56 – Elbowing , 2 min (PP)

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