Maine Hockey Journal

Statement game from the Pirates

The Pirates sent a statement tonight, for sure.

They let the rest of the league know that Portland will be a team to be reckoned with for the rest of this season in a convincing 4-0 win, over the top team in the AHL, the Providence Bruins.

After playing a less then stellar game against the River Rats on Friday night, the Pirates held a closed-door meeting for a little more than hour to address several issues.

“We’ve played a lot of hockey lately, they decided they wanted to sit down and talk over a few things together,” said Pirates coach Kevin Dineen. “They realize they’ve got something special, there’s some chemistry among this group. They want to succeed.”

Bobby Ryan noted that Portland many not have but their best foot forward on Friday.

“The main issues we addressed in the meeting was the lack of discipline to the game style we played last night,” said Ryan. “Certainly, I think you saw a tremendous turnaround tonight.”

It was a tremendous turnaround as the Pirates manhandled the Peebs for pretty much the whole sixty minutes.

At 5:34 of the first period, Brendan Mikkelson at the right spot and the right time snapped a quick shot by Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask in the slot. Platt feed a long cross-ice pass to Ryan, who wasted little time in getting it to an open Mikkelson.

With the Pirates up 1-0, Bobby Ryan had to score the nastiest goal of the season on a breakaway. After corralling the puck at mid ice on a pass from Petteri Wirtanen, he made about several head, body and stick fakes on Rask before he snapped the puck into the net.

I joked in the press box that he looked like a margarita shaker.

Exactly five minutes later, the Pirates, if they learned anything from the River Rats game, essentially put this game out of reach when Drew Miller scored his fifth of the season, fifth since he’s been assigned to Portland. Eric Weinrich fired a bullet at the point and Miller with his stick on the ice, just redirected the shot by a helpless Rask.

To Rask’s credit, he played well as the Pirates could have just blown the doors of the P-Bruins by six or seven goals. Providence just looked tired, but more so then that, they didn’t expect the Pirates to be this prepared. The Bruins have held the Pirates in check for the most part this season, as they were 4-1-1-0 against the Pirates without a regulation loss at the Civic Center. Going back to what Dineen and Ryan talk about after the game, this is a special group with Platt, Ebbett and King and since the arrival of Ryan and Miller, it has put the team on a whole new level.

At the other end of the ice, Mike McKenna was outstanding in net. He stopped all 25 shots he faced in the victory, but more importantly he rebounded from a game that he even admitted wasn’t his best effort.

He’s aggressive style really bogs down the P-Bruins because they like to make that one special play, sort of like the Monarchs, but when McKenna is aggressive, he’s in the shooting lanes and it drives the opposition nuts.

In the third period, like I said for all intent and purpose the game was over, but Ryan added one for good measure.

As the game worn down, you could feel the Peebs frustration boil over as they picked up the chippy play. This is where a Darryl Bootland comes in handy; he makes sure the other team doesn’t take liberties on the “high-priced talent”. He’ll even draw a penalty or two as he did with Dwayne Zinger in the third period. He basically goated him into a fight that he had no intentions on fighting, but he felt the momentum swing and as such, he took the wind out the sail of the P-Bruins as Ryan scored shortly after for his second goal of the game.

With about a minute left in the game, it really over flowed as Bootland just took it to Matt Hendricks in a real mismatch fight. It further escalated when Steve MacIntyre, 6-6, 265-pounds jumped Andrew Ebbett 5-9, 174 from behind. I’m sorry, but I have a real problem with that because A.) Someone is going to get killed and B.) Why?

Why didn’t he grab Joe Callahan, who he eventually pair up with? He has almost a foot in height and about 100-pounds advantage on Ebbett. That’s just bush hockey to me and it has no place in the game as far as I’m concerned.

Overall, it was a night the Pirates can be happy about. They did some good things and if they can maintain this level for second half of the season, they will make some noise.

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