Maine Hockey Journal

Pirates finish strong against the River Rats

Portland, ME – Derek Whitmore scored a pair of goals including the game winner as the Portland Pirates defeated the Albany River Rats, 4-2, in front of 4,507 at the Cumberland County Civic Center on Sunday afternoon.

The win improved the Pirates record to 5-2-1 as they finished up an eight game stretch in the last 10 days.

“We played real well,” said Pirates’ head coach Kevin Dineen. “It was a goal to gobble up a lot of points. The way we started we would have liked to have kept it going, but we certainly had a strong finish in these last two games.”

“If you told us we would take 11 out of 16 points in this eight (games) in 10 (nights), we might have laughed at you,” said Derek Whitmore. “It was great we were able to battle back, especially with the two losses in the middle. We did a great job sticking together and staying with it.”

After a scoreless first period, the Pirates jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the second period with a little help from unlikely sources.

“With how the schedule has been setup you’re going to have to get a contribution not only on the offensive side of the scoresheet, but on the defensive side as well,” said Dineen.

The Pirates got things started with a goal from Kyle Rank at 2:55 of the period when he broke in behind the Rats’ defense, snapping a quick shot by former UMaine goalie Mike Morrison.

At 5:06, the Pirates made it 2-0 on a goal from Brad Larsen as he picked up the puck from Mark Mancari, driving to the net and stuffing it by Morrison on the shortside.

“In the second period, we smelled blood and we kept getting in on them with our forecheck,” said Whitmore.

With 1:16 left in the period, the Pirates were on a power play and once again were able to convert.

Mike Kostka fired a rising slap shot from the right point with Whitmore in front the net, deflecting it by Morrison.

The Pirates dealing with the rigors of playing three in three, and their eighth game in the last 10 games began to show their weariness.

Just 31 seconds into the third period, the River Rats finally beat Pirates’ goalie JP Lamoureux when Jerome Samson drove to the net, finding the rebound to cut into the Pirates lead 3-1.

At 13:44, Albany pulled to within a goal, at 3-2, as Chris Terry beat Lamoureux, but less than two minutes later the Pirates would strike back.

At 15:22, Whitmore scored his second of the game as he finished off a cross-ice play from defenseman Dennis Persson, who was playing forward for the second straight game.

With the game nearing an end, it was marred by a crosscheck from Albany’s Jay Harrison to the face of AHL leading rookie Tyler Ennis, leaving him visibly shaken.

After the game, both teams came together at center ice for a meeting of the minds including Pirates’ head coach Kevin Dineen, who need to be pulled back by assistant coach Eric Weinrich. A pair of fights did occur, which resulted in the ejection of Matt Generous and Travis Turnbull for Portland and Mike Angelidis and Brad Herauf for Albany.

“He’s got a concussion,” said Dineen. “He’s seriously hurt. You could see it when he got up, and it’s mind-boggling that a guy would only get two minutes in that situation.”

“It was a lack of a respect for a player… You’d like to think that the league wants to protect average player, let alone one of its top rookies. It was really an unnecessary play and really unfortunate that a really well played game had to end that way.”

It remains to be seen if suspension will be handed down, but the league will certainly be looking at tapes of the incident.

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply