Maine Hockey Journal

Mikkelson net OT goal to put Pirates within reach

Portland, ME – The Pirates have made it a series – at least for now – as Brendan Mikkelson scored at 5:20 of overtime to give the Pirates a 4-3 victory.

With the win, the Pirates have cut into the Bruins lead, 2-1, in the best-of-seven Atlantic Division final.

From the outstart of this series, this was very much the type of game that was expected. It was going to be a tight checking, physical game and the team who could with stand the punishment over a seven game series was going to be moving on. On this night, the Pirates work ethic and character came through as it was only a week ago when the Pirates were not so much feeling sorry for themselves, but definitely disappointed in their play in Providence. In the first two games of the series, Portland was outscored 11-1 and was outshot 74-47, but with the week off, it gave the Pirates an opportunity to regroup.

“Everybody in the room believes,” said Bobby Ryan. “We knew that (Providence) weren’t going to quit, we knew they were going to throw everything at us… We looked at this game as our season was on the line. If you go down 3-0, you’re in a lot of trouble.”

“To pull back within reach was our main priority.”

Regrouping wasn’t the Pirates only need after games one and two, but it gave them a chance to get healthy. Especially for J.S. Aubin who returned to the line up after missing the first two games of the series with what Pirates coach Kevin Dineen called “bumps and bruises”.

“That’s a character win,” said Dineen. “We always felt that the series doesn’t start until we get home in front of our own fans. It would have been nice to get a spilt on the road but this gives us a little stepping stone to build on.”

Speaking of Aubin’s return, it didn’t come at a better time for the Pirates as he played superb in the game. He stopped 26 shots; including making several key saves when the Pirates were caught back on there heals in the third period. However, in the OT, it appeared Aubin might have re-injured himself while making a save on Pascal Pelletier.

He was very slow getting up and appeared to moving gingerly in the crease and when Mikkelson scored a short time later, he went directly off the ice in what looked like obvious pain.

This could be costly to the Pirates if Aubin is out, again. The Pirates were already short two players with the loss of Tyler Bouck, who left early in the first period and then losing Bruno St. Jacques, but in the mean time the Pirates will seize what momentum they have and try to tie the series up on Sunday after noon.

“Momentum is funny thing,” said Dineen. “It’s kind of swings back and forth, not only from game to game, but also during the game.

“I was please with our effort.”

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