Maine Hockey Journal

Pirates lack passion in loss to Norfolk

Portland, ME — It was yet again another lackluster performance by the Portland Pirates, and by their own admission, it’s beginning to cost them in the standings. Tonight was no different as the Pirates dropped a 2-1 decision to the hands of the Norfolk Admirals at the Cumberland County Civic Center in a game that showed little emotion from either team.

The Pirates, beginning a stretch of games this week, will see themselves play five games over the next seven days, providing them with a chance to make a gain in the Atlantic Division standings.

“It’s a lot of hockey in a short period of time and then we’ve got a big long break,” said Pirates’ head coach Kevin Dineen. “The players are aware of the schedule as are we as coaches and we know the importance (of this stretch). We’ve got to keep scratching our way back to respectability. It’s a hard climb for us right now.”

The Pirates are currently in last place in the league with a 6-10-2-0 record, something the Pirates haven’t been accustom too since Pirates head coach Kevin Dineen been at the helm five years ago.

Neither team began the game with any sort of emotion. Shots were in favor of the Pirates 2-1 by the 10 minutes mark when Norfolk registered their first shot of the game. The Pirates broke the scoring open a short time later, at 12:29, when Kyle Wanvig tipped Mike Weber’s blast from the left point by Admirals goalie Dustin Tokarski.

“It was a “nice” game, it was very calm out there. Not a lot of intensity, and that’s good way to play a road game, not the best way to play a home game,” Dineen said.

It remained a 1-0 game for much of the second period, until Norfolk found the back of the net with 36 seconds left in the period.

Radek Smolenak sent a quick wrist shot on goal, beating JP Lamoureux under the crossbar, tying the game at 1-1.

“We didn’t generate much offense,” Dineen said. “There wasn’t much generated at both ends. It wasn’t a sloppy game, there just wasn’t much passion in it. When you take that out of the game, you’re hoping for bounces, and they don’t get the bounces.”

Pirates’ defenseman Joe Dipenta understands Dineen’s concerns about the state of the team.

“Passion is important… It was definitely a lack of passion,” he said. “When you have that passion, and that hunger, it takes you a long way and I think that’s what’s missing from the game tonight and I think we have to look ourselves in the mirror and (ask) why don’t we have that passion and how can we bring it tomorrow.”

Lamoureux got the start in the game after Dineen indicated he wasn’t happy with Pirates’ #1 goaltender Jhonas Enroth last start in Bridgeport.

“Jhonas didn’t play well his last game… That’s that.”

After a scoreless third period, that saw neither team pour on the offense, Norfolk scored the game-winning goal at 2:33 of the overtime period when Brandon Bochenski ripped a shot from the left circle, beating Lamoureux over the shoulder with a power play goal after Dennis Persson took a minor for 24 seconds earlier.

“We’re (squandering) away at points,” Dineen said. “We need wins right now. In our world, it’s an overtime loss, and there’s a lot of areas we need to be better.”

“That was a very winnable game.”

NOTES: The Pirates infirmary is getting a little bigger as Philip Gogulla is out of commission due to an undisclosed injury. Portland is already with Marc-Andre Gragnani (right leg), Brad Larsen (fractured left foot) and Felix Schutz (shoulder). Dineen didn’t expect any of them to be available this week.

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