Maine Hockey Journal

Pirates clip Falcons

Portland, ME – Special teams were the name of the game for the Portland Pirates. They would score three power goals, two by Nathan Gerbe as the Pirates defeated the Springfield Falcons, 3-2, in their home opener in front of 5,813 at the MassMutual Center on Saturday night.

Entering the night, the Falcons were a dismal 70% on penalty kill and things weren’t going to get much with the Pirates in town, who was ranked third in the AHL at 28.6%.

In the first period, Portland would score a pair of goals with the man-advantage, setting the tone for the rest of the game.

At 6:27, Colton Fretter tipped Mike Kostka’s shot from the left faceoff circle by Falcons’ goaltender Devin Dubnyk for the 1-0 lead.

Less than two minutes later, the Pirates made it 2-0 when Nathan Gerbe scored his first of the season on a nifty little play. Forward Tim Kennedy worked the puck down low where he found Gerbe in the slot, who gave a shifty little move to pull Dubnyk out of position as he slipped the puck underneath.

“It’s early, but he’s showing a lot of enthusiasm,” said Dineen. “It’s a real encouraging thing to see a player who is making plays and doing a really good job.”

With less than 30 seconds to play in the period, Springfield would finally get on the board after being outshoot (15-6) miserably in the period.

Falcons’ defenseman Robbie Schremp fed a cross-ice pass to Colin McDonald in the left circle, who ripped it upstairs on Pirates’ goaltender Adam Dennis.

It could have been a momentum changer for the Pirates, but they regained the two-goal lead in the second period, again on the power play, this time a five-on-three as Gerbe scored his second of night and the season when he banked the puck off Dubnyk right pad into the net at 9:36 of the period.

The Pirates held nearly a 3-to-1 (30-13) shots advantage on the Falcons going into the third period, but as with Pirates teams of the past regardless of affiliation, they seem to want to sit on that lead.

The Falcons turned up the pressure with a constant forecheck and it began to payoff as they had more of the quality chances in the final period.

At 12:08, Sebastien Bisaillon pulled the Falcons to within a goal of Pirates on a blast from the right point. Dennis never had a chance to make the save as the puck has some serious heat on it.

The remaining 7:52 was all Falcons as they pressured the Pirates, but Dineen liked the response of his club, yet admitting they still had work to do.

“It wasn’t a masterpiece, but at the end of the day (we) walked out with two points,” said Dineen. “It was a lot of hard work and good effort (by the players); we still have a lot of work to do.”

“I’m encouraged, but we still have a lot of hockey to play this weekend.”

The Pirates return to the ice tomorrow when they take on the Providence Bruins at the Cumberland County Civic Center. Game time is 4:00pm.

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply