Maine Hockey Journal

Pirates ice Caps with five third period goals

Pirates' defenseman Andrew Campbell celebrates his second goal of the night. The Pirates defeated the St. John's IceCaps 7-3. (PHOTO: Rosina Vacchiano)

Pirates’ defenseman Andrew Campbell celebrates his second goal of the night. The Pirates defeated the St. John’s IceCaps 7-3. (PHOTO: Rosina Vacchiano)

PORTLAND – Although the Portland Pirates trailed for nearly two-thirds of the night, they never gave up and were rewarded as the floodgates opened in the third period. The Pirates scored five times in the final frame to knock off the St. John’s IceCaps, 7-3, before 1,495 at the Cross Insurance Arena.

The Pirates (4-5-0) remain unbeaten on home ice while the IceCaps (3-5-3) look to regroup from the start of a six-game New England road trip that will see them away from Mile One Centre until Nov. 13.

“We stuck together 60 minutes,” said Pirates’ defenseman Andrew Campbell, who finished the game with two goals. “We didn’t get discouraged or hang our heads when we got down by a couple goals. We stuck with what we were trying to do. I thought we controlled the play for most of the night.”

Despite controlling the play, Portland trailed by two goals twice during the game.

Trailing by a goal after the first period, St. John’s only needed 12 seconds into the second period to regain its two-goal lead. IceCaps’ forwards Carl Klingberg found the loose puck in front of Pirates’ goaltender Louis Domingue, batting it into the net for his third goal of the season to put the IceCaps up 3-1.

The Pirates offense, which has sputtered along this season, scoring a measly two goals per game, kicked into high gear starting with Andrew Campbell’s first of the season at the 5:40 mark of the second period, pulling the Pirates back within one, 3-2.

In third period, Campbell scored Portland’s second power-play goal of the game, snapping a wrist shot from inside the left circle, beating IceCaps’ goalie Connor Hellbuyck to even the game, 3-3, at 8:24 of the period.

“The power play goals were big,” said Pirates’ GM/Coach Ray Edwards. “We were trying to be a little simpler. (Campbell) just fired a couple shots, and they found their way.”

Defenseman Brandon Gormley gave the Pirates their first lead of the game at 12:25 of the third period.

Gormley snapped a shot from the right circle after picking up a drop pass from Alexandre Bolduc, beating Hellbuyck high over the glove, giving Portland a 4-3 lead.

The Pirates got an insurance goal from Tobias Rieder with 2:42 left. Bolduc registered his third point of the game with an assist on the play, moving him to within three points of the league leader in AHL scoring.

Brandon Shinnimin and Darian Dziurzynski added goals in the final two minutes, scoring only 15 seconds apart, handing Portland its biggest lead of the season, 7-3.

“The work (ethic) has been good the last handful of games,” said Edwards. “We’ve won three of out four.”

“I thought we just needed to stay five-on-five and keep pushing,” said Edwards. The kill at the end of the second was important, but we knew going down 3-2 at the end of the second that if we kept the five-on-five game going, we’d give ourselves a chance.”

The Pirates dominated through the first half of the opening period, outshooting the IceCaps, 9-0, but back-to-back penalties resulting in 44 seconds of a five-on-three power play stymied the momentum as St. John’s jumped out to a 2-0 lead.

Ben Chiarot fired a one-timer from the point past Domingue at the 11:23 mark to give the IceCaps a 1-0 lead. It was followed up less than two minutes later just as the minor penalty to Mark Louis expired when John Albert beat Domingue with an easy tap in from the left post at the 13:15 of the period.

Only 19 seconds later, the Pirates cut the lead in half, 2-1, as defenseman Evan Oberg fired a shot that beat Hellbuyck through a screen.

“We just had to stay with it,” Edwards said. “I thought five-on-five we were pretty good. We took some (bad) penalties again. We lost momentum from doing that in our scoring. The five-on-five is what drive us. For us to be a good team, we have to have that five-on-five play.”

NOTES: The Pirates finished the game two-for-two on the power play and improve to 7-for-37 (18.9%) on the season. Six of the seven power play goals have come on home ice… Forward Paul Bissonnette, who signed a PTO earlier this week, has arrived in Portland but was not in the lineup for the Pirates… Arizona Coyotes Asst. GM Darcy Regier was in Portland on Friday to scout the Pirates. Regier was the GM of the Buffalo Sabres while affiliated with the Pirates from 2008 til 2011.

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