Maine Hockey Journal

I gave up my Sunday for…..THIS???

That was an embarrassing loss for the Pirates.

Radek Smolenak scored two goals to propel the Norfolk Admirals easily past Portland, 5-1. The loss came less than 24 hours after the Pirates played what had to be one of their better games of the season against the Worcester Sharks – a 6-1 win in Worcester.

After the game last night, it was a very somber Pirates’ locker room with not much being said.

Really, what could they say?

It was an ugly game from the opening puck drop, but with that said, the Pirates were still in the game even in the second period when Petteri Wirtanen tied the game up at 1-1. Jonathan Boutin wasn’t happy camper after the goal because Bobby Ryan went right through his kitchen and Boutin made sure Terry Koharski knew it too.

But, shortly after Portland tied the game, J.P. Levasseur let in a goal I’m sure he’d wish he could have back when Norm Milley ripped a slapper from about 45 feet out, beating him between the legs. It was so bad that I’m not sure if Levasseur knew how to react as he was checking his pad looking for that puck size hole.

“There’s nothing I can really say about it,” said Pirates’ Coach Kevin Dineen referring to the team’s play. “We’ve all been there regardless whether you’re 19 or have played as many years as (Weinrich). You always try to guard against it. Your heart might be in it, but obviously the legs weren’t.”

Ryan shed a little more light on the situation as he mentioned playing three-in-three and getting home late from the game in Worcester, but he was quick to point out that it wasn’t an excuse. Norfolk was in the same boat (figuratively speaking of course), playing their fourth game in five nights as they’re in the midst of a nine game road trip over the next 16 days.

“We were missing some of the effort (tonight) and the lackluster performance was a little more common for us tonight and that’s not acceptable,” said Pirates’ forward Bobby Ryan.

The Ads certainly have to be given proper credit because they schooled the Pirates, playing one of their best games defensively. Ads coach Steve Sterling gave the best line of the night after the game.

“Solid defense breeds offense,” he said referring to the Bobby Knight.

“That might have been our best game of the year,” said Sterling. “We were a little disappointed in ourselves for (Saturday) – a 7-6 loss to the Manchester Monarchs – because we let a point get away.”

“For the first time, we were really smart tonight. We weren’t trying to do stuff that we aren’t capable of doing so we just tried to play within our abilities.”

Over the past 16 games, the Admirals are 10-3-1-2 and Sterling’s comments really summed up the game.

They played smart and the Pirates didn’t.

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