Maine Hockey Journal

Live Game Blog — Portland @ Lowell 01/21/09

Lowell, Mass. — The Pirates roster is nothing but a bungled mess right now with the all the injuries. For those who read my earlier story on the injuries, that may have changed since then. Tyler Bouck accompanied the team and may play tonight, but it remains to be seen until the team comes out for warmups.

By the way, I’m just sitting here at Tsongas Arena, which is a beautiful arena and the attendance is just awful. It’s 40 minutes to the drop of the puck and I just counted 18 people in the stands –That’s right 18 people. How is this team able to survive is beyond me. Both teams have come onto the ice for warmups and it looks like Kennedy is going to play tonight, he’s wearing a full cage to protect his mouth. This kid certainly has more brawn then me to eat that much composite and only miss one game.

Based on warmups, Tyler Bouck is back tonight. Lines appear to be Mancari-Zagrapan-Darche; Campbell-Schutz-Fretter; Bonneau-Whitmore-Rank and Kennedy-Bouck-Slattengren. Scratched from the lineup will be Baier, Weber, Hunter, Card, Murphy, Gerbe and Funk. Enroth will be in net for Portland and Jeff Frazee for Lowell. Speaking of Frazee, he hasn’t lost to Portland this season, going 3-0 with a 2.00GAA and a .950 sv%.

FIRST PERIOD:
7:02pm — It’s puck drop and there are 184 people in the stands… I took the time to count because this place it bare. Lowell is missing a couple big names in their lineup… Petr Varna, Chad Wiseman, Vladimir Zhakov, Brad Mills and Pascal Rheaume.

7:13pm — That was ugly… Devils score after the Pirates defense was caught badly out of position. Actually, bad is not the right word. It was worse. Tarkir and Macdonald attacked Nicklaus Bergfors along the boards and somehow find DiSalvatore, who a clean shot for a breakaway, beating Enroth with a shot under the crossbar. The Pirates are on PP as Bergfors is off for hooking. Portland is 15.2% (34/224) on the PP, but they have a better PP on the road at 23.5% (23/98).

7:18pm — Make that 23-for-99 on the PP as the Pirates couldn’t score. They had a couple chances, but they couldn’t beat Frazee.

7:22pm — The Pirates are applying a lot of pressure on Lowell, but Frazee is holding the fort, stopping all 14 shots so far. This could still be a 0-0 game, if it wasn’t for the mistake by Tarkir and Macdonald. They have been split up as Macdonald is playing with MacAuley and Tarkir is with Loya. Lowell goes on the PP and scores as Patrick Davis tipped the shot by Enroth. DiSalvatore fired the shot from the top of the left circle and Davis deflected it by Enroth as Lowell takes a 2-0 lead on Portland.

7:32pm — End of one period. Portland is down 0-2 to Lowell, but the scoreboard shouldn’t be an indicator of the play. The Pirates outplayed the Devils, but two mistakes equal two goals and that’s the story of the game so far.

SECOND PERIOD:
7:50pm — Frazee looks unstoppable right now. He’s seeing everything and not allowing many rebounds.

7:53pm — Blind passes are a Pirate killer… Kostka slips a blind backhander to a Devil in front of Enroth. It was bobbled and cleared, but that could have been 3-0. This team needs to stop getting cute and start playing with a little more responsibility when they have the puck in the defensive zone. It’s not the same skilled team as it was three months ago.

7:58pm — The Pirates go on the power play as Anssi Salmela is called for holding at 16:49 of the period.

8:08pm — This game is a snoozer… Lowell is sitting back four deep, not allowing Portland to generate much. If I didn’t say any better, this would look like the infamous Devils’ trap.

8:15pm — End of two periods. It’s still 2-0 for Lowell or I should say Frazee two and Portland zero. He’s been lights out for Lowell so far in the game. There is a reason why he is going to the All-Star Game in Worcester this weekend.

THIRD PERIOD:
8:32pm — The next goal is going to be huge. If Portland can get something by Frazee, it may give them some confidence to get something going. If Lowell scores, it’s over.

8:35pm — Not a good way to start… Mancari is called for tripping at 1:42 of the period. This is a must kill for Portland. The 100+ plus fans here are trying to start a chant, but you can still over hear the players on the ice.

8:41pm — Jimmy Bonneau just had his first fight since returning to the lineup from a broken hand. He didn’t fair so well against Pierre-Luc Leblond. Both are off for five minutes, but if the referee wanted to give double minors, it would be acceptable.

8:46pm — Portland is running out of time. There is 10 minutes left in the period and Frazee is stopping everything at this point. Tim Kennedy just went down awkwardly and has gone to the bench double over. It’s looks like an ankle or foot injury.

8:49pm Derek Whitmore finally beat Frazee with a shot over the goalie as he was down. Pirates’ defenseman Cliff Loya just threw a soft shot on net from the slot and Whitmore, at the right post, picked up the rebound and beat Frazee with 7:37 left in the game. Devils lead 2-1.

8:52pm — Enroth just made a big save by stopping Nick Bergfors on a two-on-one.

8:54pm — Gragnani is not a happy camper after he was called for holding and as a result he was called for an unsportsmanlike after he slammed his stick. Portland is going to be shorthanded for pretty much the rest of the game. There will be only about 20 seconds left.

9:04pm — Portland will have a chance now. Matt Corrente just took a stupid penalty, slashing Darche after the whistle. Portland can pull Enroth and go five-on-four until Gragnani’s penalty expires and then six-on-four for 27 seconds.

9:05pm — Game over… Portland falls 2-1

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