Maine Hockey Journal

Pirates come just short of the perfect road trip

In the land where gear heads and NASCAR reign supreme, the Portland Pirates had the Checkers in sight, but just ran out of gas, dropping a 5-4 decision to the Charlotte Checkers in front 3,689 at the Time Warner Cable Arena on Wednesday night.

After taking six of eight points on the road, the Pirates can still consider their four-game road trip a success.

There was a time the Pirates looked like they were going to make a clean sweep of the road trip, building a 2-0 lead after 20 minutes of play.

At 5:59, Travis Turnbull was credited with the credited with the goal after deflecting Alex Biega’s slapper from the point, beating Checkers netminder Justin Pogge.

While on the power play, Portland took a 2-0 lead on a goal by Corey Tropp, who managed to find a way to beat Pogge with a shot at the top of the crease at the 12:37 mark of the first period.

The goal was Tropp’s first professional goal in regulation.

Signs the Pirates were running out of gas came in the second period when Checker’s lit the lamp three times in a span of 4:07 to take a 3-2 lead.

Oskar Osala, in front of the net, took advantage of a nifty play by Checker’s defenseman Bryan Rodney while on the power play, scoring into an empty net at the 4:40 mark of the second period.

At 8:05, Nick Dodge dodged a Pirates defender, scooping up the rebound and flipping the puck by Pirates’ starter Alex Petizian.

Petizian, getting the start in place of David Leggio, was recalled late yesterday from the Alaska Aces of the ECHL after Jhonas Enroth was recalled by the Buffalo Sabres.

Flying from Anchorage, Petizian didn’t arrive in Charlotte until 10am, just prior to the Pirates morning skate.

Just 42 seconds after the goal by Dodge, Riley Nash found the back of the net to give Charlotte a 3-2 lead.

The lead only last a little more than two minutes as Luke Adam scored the first of his two goals on the night when he followed up his own play, lifting a backhander by Pogge under the crossbar at 10:41 of the second period. Colin Stuart and Dennis Persson assisted on the play.

Just 96 seconds into the start of the third period, the Checkers regained the lead, 4-3, with a four-on-four goal by Jerome Samson as the rebound squirted past Petizian.

Chris Terry gave the Checkers their largest lead of the night, 5-3, at 15:07 of the final period for his third goal in two day against the Pirates.

With 25 seconds left, the Pirates pulled to within a goal, at 5-4, as Adam scored his ninth goal of the season. Colin Stuart and Matt Ellis were credit with assists on the play. For Stuart, his two assists extended his point-scoring streak to seven games.

Petizian gave himself a good showing, making 37 saves in the loss, while Justin Pogge stopped 25-of-29 shots in the win.

The win by Charlotte was their first victory at home this season, improving to 1-2-0-1.

The Pirates finished the night 1-for-4 on the power play; the Checkers went 1-for-7.

NOTES: Pirates goalkeeper Jhonas Enroth started the night in net for the Buffalo Sabres, but only last one period as Patrick Lalime replaced him to start the second period. The Sabres had a dismal first period where they gave up three goals, which included two shorthanded… Nick Crawford and Jacob Lagace were both scratched.

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