Maine Hockey Journal

It was just plain ugly

Portland, ME – The Portland Pirates missed out on an opportunity to make a statement in the Atlantic Division.

In what has to be the most grotesque game from the Pirates, this season, as they were manhandled by the Hartford Wolf Pack, 3-1, in front of 4,485 at the Cumberland County Civic Center.

“We didn’t do what we set out to do in the game plan and a better team totally outworked us,” said Pirates’ assistant coach Eric Weinrich.

“It’s really disappointing.”

With 52 seconds left in the first period, Patrick Rissmiller, blasted a rocket by Portland goalie Jhonas Enroth as part of his three points (1g, 2a) on the night, beating him past the inside post as the Wolf Pack tied the game after one period of play.

In the second period, the wheels completely fell of the bus for the Pirates as they took several undisciplined penalties, which led to the Wolf Pack, scoring a pair of goals in the period.

At 5:28, former Pirate Pierre Parenteau scored his 28th goal of the season as he redirected a feed from Rissmiller by Enroth, giving the Wolf Pack a 2-1 lead.

The Wolf Pack got under the skin of the Pirates as Parenteau agitated Nathan Gerbe into taking a cross checking penalty at 13:28 of the period. Hartford capitalized as Brian Fahey fired a wrist shot from the top of the slot, beating Enroth at 14:17 of the second period as the Wolf Pack took a 3-1 lead into the locker room.

“That’s what good teams do,” said Parenteau. “They get under the skin of the other team and frustrate them into taking stupid penalties.”

“(Portland) did that tonight and we took advantage.”

For most of the period, the Pirates looked out of their element, as they never were able to generate an attack. They were outshot 16-4 by the Wolf Pack in the second period.

The Pirates tried to regroup in the third period, but the damage was done as the Wolf Pack shut down Portland, limiting their scoring chances to easy saves for Wolf Pack goalie Miika Wiikman, who made 22 saves on the night.

After the game, the Pirates held a close door meeting for nearly an hour as Pirates’ head coach Kevin Dineen refused to comment to the media or make the players available to media after the game as well.

The Pirates lone goal of the game came in the first period as Nathan Gerbe netted his 25th of the season, while on the power play. One bright spot for the Pirates is they’ve gone 8-for-20 on the power play in recent games.

Gerbe, at the left point, fired a slap shot through a screen, stunning Wiikman as the puck went into the net at 12:06 of the first period.

“We let them dictate the play and their agitators got under our skin and we didn’t do what we had to do,” said Weinrich. “We lost to a team ahead of us.”

NOTES: The Pirates haven’t faired well against the Wolf Pack this season, especially at the Cumberland County Civic Center, going winless in all four game, falling to 0-3-0-1. The Pirates only win against the Wolf Pack this season came back on Nov. 19 in Hartford, a 4-2 win, as Adam Dennis made 34 saves. Jhonas Enroth hasn’t had the same luck against the Wolf Pack, as he remained winless against Hartford, falling to 0-2-1-0, this season. It hasn’t been for a lack of effort on Enroth’s part as he had a 2.48 GAA with a .933 save percentage. Dineen failed tonight in his bid to pass Pirates legendary and hall of fame coach Barry Trotz for the most wins in franchise history. Both are currently tied with 189 wins in their fourth season as head coach of the Pirates. Trotz left the Pirates after the 1996-97 season to take over as the head coach of the Nashville Predators, a position he still holds today.

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