Maine Hockey Journal

Pirates head home with series tied

Wilkes-Barre, PA. – It was mission accomplished for the Portland Pirates.

While the ultimate goal – winning the Calder Cup – is still on the horizon, Portland was able to get done what they set out to do in Pennsylvania.

Bobby Ryan, in another tight defensive game, scored two goals as the Pirates prevailed, 3-2, over the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins before a crowd of 4,891 at Wachovia Arena on Thursday night.

The Pirates will now head back to the cozy Cumberland County Civic Center for games 3, 4, and 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals with the best-of-seven series tied at one game apiece.

“When you’re down (in the series) and you play two games on the road that’s always your goal,” said Bobby Ryan. “It would have been nice to have last night, I thought we deserved a better fate, but at the same time we achieved our goal and now we go home to our barn were nobody likes to play in.”

Both teams were scoreless until the Pirates opened scoring on the power play with 10:01 left in the second period. Andrew Ebbett, in front of Penguins’ goalie John Curry, redirected Brian Salcido’s laser from the high slot. The power play tally was the first goal allowed by the Penguins netminder vs. the Pirates, snapping a 149:49 scoreless streak.

The Pirates added to the lead only a short time later when Ryan scored the first of his two goals on night.

Ryan, in what has to be one of the nastiest goals of the playoffs this season, picked off Ben Lovejoy’s outlet pass to Alain Nasreddine at the blueline setting up a one-on-one showdown with Curry.

Curry tried to poke the puck away from Ryan, but as so many times this season we’ve seen Ryan just embarrass the opposing goalie with a series of moves.

Speaking of moves, Ducks GM Brian Burke continues to look like a genius for selecting Ryan as the second overall pick in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft. After spending a quarter of the season in Anaheim, Ryan has shown why he was the Ducks top pick. He’s developed into a mature power forward and if Wilkes-Barre wants to have any success, they’re going to have find out a way to shut him down, which hasn’t been easy – just ask Providence and Hartford.

In the third period with the Pirates holding onto a one-goal lead, Ryan restored the Pirates’ two-goal lead when Brian Salcido threaded the needle, sending Ryan for a breakaway on Curry.

Looking hesitant, Curry stayed in his crease as to what he’s done in the past when he’s challenged the shooter. Ryan snapped the puck low glove side on the confused netminder, for a 3-1 lead with 4:37 left in the game.

At the other end of the ice, J.S. Aubin (26 saves on 28 shots) once again stood on his head especially in the third period when the Pirates were badly outshot 16-2, sitting on the lead. So far during the playoff’s, Aubin is 9-2 with a 2.24 GAA and a .918 save percentage.

“For us to hold (Wilkes-Barre) to two goals per game speaks large volumes about our defenseman and certainly your goaltender on top of that,” said Dineen.


After missing the last two games with an unspecified injury, Pirates defenseman Brett Festerling returned to the line up.


All nine of Portland’s wins during the playoffs have been by one goal.

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