Maine Hockey Journal

The Civic Center’s character gives Portland an advantage

Portland, ME – There is no place like home for the Pirates.

Heading into the Game three of the Eastern Conference Final against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, the Pirates hope to keep it that way, as the next three games will be played at the Cumberland County Civic Center.

The Pirates did what they set out to do in the first two games of the series, earning the spilt on the road and now the Pirates hold the advantage, thanks to the schedule makers. So far, during the Calder Cup playoffs, they have yet to lose a game at the old barn by the sea beating Hartford in two straight games and then rebounding from a disastrous start against Providence to win three straight games including two in overtime in route to winning the Atlantic Division title.

“It’s not a favorable place to play (for the visiting team),” said Pirates’ defenseman Brian Salcido. “It’s a different place to play; it’s an older building — cold and dark.”

While it might be cold and dark compared to some of the newer building in the AHL, it has character. After 30 year’s of wear and tear, the building has developed a bit of swagger and it’s morphed onto the Pirates when they play at home.

During the regular season, the Pirates were tied for second in wins at home (27), two behind Chicago so their success during the playoff shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, it doesn’t to the Pirates as they expect to win every game at home.

“For other teams, it’s a bit darker then in other buildings,” said Pirates’ forward Bobby Ryan. “(The Civic Center) is not homey at all unless you play here all year, it’s a tough building to come in too and get any energy when you have no support.”

The player’s have enjoyed playing at the Civic Center because of its character. The fans are on top of the opposing team all game and even if only 3,000 show, they make it sound like 8,000, which can rattle the opponent on any given night.

“Our fans have been great lately and they been coming out in full force and the building has been loud and that’s all we can ask for,” said Ryan. “It’s a Portland Pirates rink through and through and it’s been around for so long that you can feel it when you walk in, you feel the history and we love calling it home.”

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