Maine Hockey Journal

McKenna stymies the Pirates as Devils win

Portland, ME – TJ Brennan scored his first AHL goal, but it wasn’t enough as former Pirate Mike McKenna made 29 saves for the Lowell Devils en route to a 2-1 win over the Portland Pirates in front of 2,772 at the Cumberland County Civic Center.

McKenna nearly had a shutout until the 13:47 mark of the third period when Brennan sent a blast from the top of the right face off circle by the Devils’ netminder.

“I heard my water bottle get hit. That was the extent of it,” said McKenna. “If you can’t see it then it must have been a pretty good shot, and if he knocks the water bottle flying on a screen shot, it’s a pretty good shot, so credit to him.”

Brennan glad to get his AHL goal out of the way, was disappointed with not getting the win after uninspired start by the Pirates.

“Lowell doesn’t give you a lot of options,” Brennan said. “We just have to capitalize on our opportunities. We only had one (power play) goal, but we had five or six chances. We’ve got to capitalize on those.”

“We need to find a way to win these types of game.”

Portland outshot the Devils early on, but it was the Devils who found the back first when Patrick Davis, beat Pirates’ goalie Jhonas Enroth between the legs, after picking up a chip shot from Ryan Murphy, which sprung Davis in on a breakaway.

“I wasn’t unhappy with the way we played,” said Pirates’ head coach Kevin Dineen. “Our special teams had to be better. It was a flat game.”

“It wasn’t an emotional game. It was just played out”

The Pirates found themselves in penalty trouble, giving the Devils a back-to-back five-on-three and Lowell made sure to capitalize as they made it 2-0 when Alexander Vasyunov batted home the rebound to the right of Enroth, after Matt Taormina fired a blast from the left point.

“(Lowell) had a little better execution,” said Dineen. “Obviously, the six minutes in penalty was the game deciding factor.”

The Pirates had several chances to tie the game including a breakaway by Mark Mancari, but McKenna stood tall making the save.

Fortunately, for the Pirates they are going to get an opportunity for revenge as they play the Devils three of the next four games including tonight’s game.

“The margin of error is very small against (Lowell) so you have to stay extremely sharp in all areas of the game, you have to stay discipline and keep putting pucks at the net for good things to happen,” said Dineen.

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