Maine Hockey Journal

McKenna earns four points for the Pirates

Portland, ME – Four points is four points so one can’t complain with the Pirates earning two wins over the weekend.

With that said, the wins were ugly and the Pirates coaching staff still must be scratching their heads with the issues this team needs to address.

In both games, Portland would have to go to the shootout in order to secure the win as Pirates’ netminder Mike McKenna stepped up to the plate, stopping all 10 shooters.

McKenna played well all weekend, stopping 34 shots on Saturday, followed by 27 saves on Sunday.

Since the Pirates signed McKenna, he’s been very impressive. He is currently a third-year pro after spending the last two seasons with Las Vegas of the ECHL. He’s a two-time all-star and recently spent training camp with the St. Louis Blues and their affiliate in Peoria before being sent back to the ECHL.

On Saturday night, the Pirates built a 2-0 lead in the first period with two power play goals from Andrew Ebbett and Brian Salcido.

Ebbett continues to impress with his work ethic on-and-off the ice, he’s a natural center and at 5-9, 176-pounds, he’s not one to shy from crashing the net and creating chances around the oppositions’ goaltender.

“It comes from being a [center], when I’m out there I do my job to take control,” said Ebbett. “It’s something that I’ve been taught since I was 13 years only. When I’m on the ice, I take control and make sure the other four guys are doing their jobs.”

Portland held on to the two-goal lead until 1:03 left in the period when Matt Moulson scored his fourth the season on a three-on-two rush.

An issue that arose in the game and something that the Pirates still haven’t managed to control in the past three seasons is the Monarchs ability to convert on the cross-ice pass.

Manchester’s second goal, which tied the game, and third goal were a result of the Monarchs being able to convert the cross-ice pass for a one timer.

It’s a misread that will drive somebody up a wall.

Another issue has been the play of Bobby Ryan; I’m not trying to criticize him because I think he’s a marked man at the AHL level. The other teams are sticking their best players on him and they’ve done a decent job at neutralizing him. At the NHL level, he might have been able to cruise under the radar. He’s been able to put up points [5 assists] and the kid has talent, but his work ethic has to come into question. He’s not skating, shooting the puck, playing the body or going to the front of the net where a power forward would go.
Beside Ebbett going to the front of the net, who else has crashed the net on a consistent basis?

I think that’s where the Pirates miss a player like Aaron Gavey. He allowed his winger’s to crash the net and play the boards for the most part, while he sat in the high slot. The defenseman would take initial shot or the winger would take a shot from the halfboards and if the rebound came out the shot, he was there to bang it home.

That happened several times over the weekend, but nobody was home.

Good thing the Pirates will have plenty of time to make those corrections.

Official Scoresheet – Saturday vs. Manchester
Game Recap – Saturday vs. Manchester

Official Scoresheet – Sunday vs. Springfield
Game Recap – Sunday vs. Springfield

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply