Maine Hockey Journal

Pirates end 2007 with a bang

Portland, ME – On their annual New Year’s Eve game at the Cumberland County Civic Center, the Portland Pirates made it look easy as Brandon Segal notched two goals and Mike McKenna made 16 saves as they cruised to an easy 3-0 victory over the Lowell Devils.

First Period: The Pirates dominated the first period against the Devils outshooting them 15-3 in the first 20 minutes. The Devils didn’t register their first shot on net until halfway into the period and they were never a threat to McKenna, who was making his first start since December 15, a 4-3 win against Springfield. McKenna has been a really nice find for the Pirates since the Nashville Predators prospect joined the club at the beginning of the season. In earning his first career AHL shutout, he extended his win streak to four games. He won eight of his last 10 starts for the Pirates this season. If Gerald Coleman continues with his off-again, on-again play, the door is certainly open for McKenna to seize the opportunity and become the number one netminder for the Pirates.

Portland grabbed a 1-0 lead when Simon Ferguson scored his first goal of the season with a fair amount of hard work. Rushing down the left side, he stuffed the shot between the legs of Devils’ goaltender Jordan Parise at the 4:20 mark of the first period. Here’s a little trivia footnote. Ferguson is one of only two Pirates left from the 2005-06 season when Anaheim came to Portland as their NHL affiliate, Geoff Peters in the other.

One thing that became apparent is the Pirates ability to control Lowell along the boards. They dominated the Devils along the boards, winning most of the battles and more times then not if you win those battles, you’ll win the game.

Second Period: Brandon Segal hopes he lifted the monkey off his back as he scored two goals in the second period. Prior to his two-goal outburst, he only had one goal since November 11. Segal had his first of the night at 2:58 when he converted a pass from Matt Christie. In a perfect example of the Pirates doing the little things right, Christie jumped into a passing lane, picking off the Devils, breaking up the ice on an odd-man rush. Segal just drove to the net, flipping a backhander by Parise.

With 4:33 left in the second period, Segal added his second goal of the night as he connected on a one-timer from Christie.

Third Period: One thing that really symbolized the game was the Pirates ability to hit. Any time something in a red jersey touched the puck, they were usually clobbered by the Pirates. Lowell was just helpless against the Pirates tonight; playing their third game in as many nights, they looked worn out and ready to head back to Massachusetts.

Quotes of the Game:

“You’ve got to give everyone credit on our team,” said Brandon Segal. “They’re out there and they worked hard, doing the little things right, the penalty killing was great and great goaltending by Mike McKenna, it was great to see Fergy get his first. It was a hell of a night.”

“That’s our game. We’re tough down low in the corners and everyone worked the cycle really well,” said Segal.

“We’ll take that one,” said Pirates coach Kevin Dineen. That was a well-rounded (game) starting in goal and on defense, we were just kind of (commenting) that our (defense) really didn’t do anything special, but they were very solid in their own end.”

“Not too make Lowell look bad or anything, but with the exception of one or two saves tonight, we could have had an orange road cone in net tonight and probably would have won the game,” said Mike McKenna.

Notes: John Laliberte from Saco, who played his high school hockey for Thornton Academy, signed a Professional Try-out with the Milwaukee Admirals of the AHL. He was playing for the Augusta (GA) Lynx of the ECHL, parent club of the Pirates where he was one of the top scorers with 15 goals, 13 assists for 28 points in just 29 games… The Pirates released Gordie Dwyer from his PTO on Saturday as he signed with the Schwenningen Wild Wings, a division two team in Germany. In 13 games with the Pirates, he posted a goal and two assists… Geoff Peters has resumed skating with the Pirates in practice after recovering from off-season sports hernia surgery.

Official Scoresheet:

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