Maine Hockey Journal

Poor start leads to a poor finish for Pirates

Portland, ME – It was a first period the Portland Pirates would like to forget.

The Manchester Monarchs scored three goals in the first period en route to a 3-1 win over the Pirates in front of 3,606 at the Cumberland County Civic Center.

The Monarchs now head home with a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven Atlantic Division Semifinal.

Despite being down in the series, Pirates’ head coach Kevin Dineen still feels that his team can overcome the deficit. Portland has comeback from 0-2 in a series under Dineen in the past. In 2008, the Pirates were down two games to the Providence Bruins before winning the next four games to take the series.

“As easily as it swings one way, it swings another,” he said. “We still have belief in ourselves. We have a resume that says we are a good team, and we’re a hard working team and we’re going to have to start believing that.”

“At the end of the day if I’m from Manchester I’m feeling pretty good about our last 24 hours in Portland.

The Pirates were out of sync in the first period, turning the puck over and giving up several breakaways.

By the end of the period they were outshot 21-5.

“We weren’t sharp,” said Pirates’ defenseman Joe DiPenta. We were foggy and you could say we were over thinking it. We just weren’t playing with our instinct. For whatever reason we didn’t have it the first period.”

“It’s inexcusable,” he added. “We need to have a starting point and that starting has to happen Monday night.”

Manchester opened the scoring at 11:26 of the first period when Mark Mancari turned over the puck in the Pirates offensive zone to Corey Elkins, who skated in on Pirates’ goalie JP Lamoureux, lifting a backhander into the net while off-balance.

It was only a short time before that Pirates defenseman Mike Kostka over-turned the puck for a 2-0 breakaway forcing Lamoureux to make a gigantic save to keep the game scoreless.

Less than two minutes later, Andrew Campbell snapped a shot on net, but the rebound came to the stick of Bud Holloway, who shoveled the puck by Lamoureux to give the Monarchs a 2-0 lead.

Manchester’s Trevor Lewis was credited with the goal, giving the Monarchs a 3-0 lead, when he deflected the puck over Lamoureux’s right leg pad at 17:00 of first period.

Besides Manchester, very few were people were happy in Civic Center.

“It was a tough start,” said Dineen. “We set a pretty good trap for them to think that they could roll all over us in the first five minutes. I thought that things would change, and not only did the ball start rolling downhill, but they rolled right over us in the first.”

“It was frankly quite embarrassing that we played that way in front of our own fans, and in front of ourselves,” he added. “We have a lot higher expectations for ourselves than we showed in that first period.”

The game shifted in the second and third periods, and was much more even, but the by then the damage was done as Jonathan Bernier held the fort for the Monarchs, stopping 22 of 23 shots he faced.

The lone goal came in the second period when Derek Whitmore scored his second of the series, a power play goal, when he snapped a shot from the left post over Bernier at 9:33 of the period.

“You can say what you want about the final two periods,” Dineen said. We’ve scored two goals in two games so our offensive game needs a lot of work.”

NOTES: Luke Adam made his professional debut tonight for the Pirates, playing on a line with Cody McCormick and Paul Byron. Adam was drafted by the Buffalo Sabres in the second round of the 2008 NHL draft… Brad Larsen was in the lineup after missing most of Game One after a shot hit his left leg… Philip Gogulla was an injury scratched, but Dineen didn’t disclose the injury.

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