Maine Hockey Journal

Offense lifts Pirates to first road win of the season

The offense came to life for the Portland Pirates in the second period, as they finally earned their first road win of the season with a 6-5 victory over the Norfolk Admirals before a crowd of 3,342 at the Norfolk Scope on Saturday night.

It was a well-rounded effort by everybody on the Pirates as several players had multi-points on the night including newcomer Kyle Wanvig, who scored a goal and an assist in only his second game with the team since signing a PTO.

Photo by Dan Hickling

Photo by Dan Hickling

It didn’t appear the Pirates were going to break their losing streak on the road as they gave up the first goal of the game just 1:19 into first period when Juraj Simek found the back of the net, beating Pirates’ goalie JP Lamoureux, who was getting his second start of the season.

At 4:27, Kyle Wanvig fired a shot by Admirals’ goalie Dustin Tokarski, tying to the game 1-1 for the Pirates.

In the span of 46 seconds, Matt Lashoff and Justin Keller scored for the Admirals as the Pirates found themselves looking at a two-goal deficit after 20 minutes of play.

In the second period, Pirates’ defenseman Mike Kostka scored his first goal of the season, on the power play, when he launched a rocket past Tokarski just 2:08 in the period. It was only the Pirates second power play goal of the season on the road.

Pirates’ forward Jeff Cowan found the back of the net to the tie the game at 3-3 with 12:30 to play in the period. It was his 50th-career AHL goal in 288 AHL games.

At 14:36, the Pirates grabbed their first lead of the night, 4-3, when Mark Mancari ripped a shot over the glove of Tokarski. It was only the second time this season, the Pirates held a lead while on road, and the first time they took the lead after giving up the first goal of the game on the road.

It was a lead that didn’t last long as Justin Keller scored his second goal of the night only 44 seconds into the third period.

Portland didn’t give up, as Kyle Rank pounced on a long rebound from Tokarski, firing a hard shot into the back of the net as the Pirates regained the lead, 5-4, at 4:20 of the third period.

The Pirates took their biggest lead of the night just a short time later, 2:05 later, to be exact when Tyler Ennis scored his team-leading sixth goal of the season. Wanvig and Nathan Gerbe were credited with assists on the play.

With 5:04 left in the game, the Admirals pulled back to within a goal as Ryan Craig scored his sixth of the season, but that was as close as Norfolk could get, although, they had a couple of chances in the dying seconds of the game.

JP Lamoureux earned his first career AHL win, stopping 21 of 26 shots; meanwhile, Dustin Tokarski made 17 saves in the loss.

NOTES: The Pirates were without Marc-Andre Gragnani, who suffered an undisclosed injury during Friday night’s game in Norfolk. As a result, Drew Schiestel dressed for the Pirates. Portland was also without Dennis Persson (injury), Brad Larsen (injury), and Cody McCormick (suspension). Portland will conclude their five-game road trip with 5pm game against the defending Calder Cup champion Hershey Bears.

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