Maine Hockey Journal

It’s time for roster decisions with preseason complete

Mike McKenna #56 of the Portland Pirates makes a save during the AHL Portland Pirates 2014 preseason opener vs the AHL Manchester Monarchs at the Cross Insurance Arena in Portland, Maine on 10/4/2014. McKenna had 14 saves in the 5-2 win over Manchester. (Photo by Michael McSweeney)

Mike McKenna #56 of the Portland Pirates makes a save during the AHL Portland Pirates 2014 preseason opener vs the AHL Manchester Monarchs at the Cross Insurance Arena in Portland, Maine on 10/4/2014. McKenna had 14 saves in the 5-2 win over Manchester. (Photo by Michael McSweeney)

The Pirates wrapped up its preseason with a 2-1 victory over the Manchester Monarchs Sunday afternoon at Sullivan Arena located on the campus of Saint Anselm College in Goffstown, New Hampshire.

Henrik Samuelsson and Tobias Rieder each recorded a goal, and an assist en route to completing the two-game sweep this weekend.

Now the Pirates attention will turn toward making several final cuts to pare the roster down to roughly 25 players by Tuesday practice.

Pirates’ GM and Head Coach Ray Edwards said that he’d like to have a roster with no more than 15 forwards, nine defensemen and two goaltenders.

He stood back as assistant coaches John Slaney and Trent Whitfield were behind the bench for Sunday’s game.

Samuelsson, who finished Saturday’s game with two points (1G, 1A), scored in his second AHL preseason game at the 9:00 mark of the opening period. Tobias Rieder and Jordan Martinook were credited with the assists on the play.

Rieder was one of the final cuts made in the Coyotes’ NHL training camp, and it showed why as he scored his first goal of the preseason, beating Yann Danis, who entered the game in relief for starter Patrik Bartosak, just three minutes into the third period.

Louis Domingue, another late cut by the Coyotes, perhaps solidified his position as the second goaltender for the Pirates as he was stellar in his first full game of action this preseason. The lone blemish came with 15 minutes left in the final period as Kurtis McDermid snapped a wrist shot on net that was tipped by Andrew Crescenzi past Domingue to cut Portland’s lead, 2-1.

Domingue finished with 26 saves in his only preseason start. Danis took the loss after stopping seven of eight shots he faced while starting netminder Bartosak made 15 saves on 16 shots against for the no-decision.

Based on the weekend there are several players on the bubble to make the team. Edwards said his plan was to begin making cuts following Sunday’s game in Goffstown.

If Portland is going to keep nine defensemen, it safe to bet on Campbell, Reese, McNeill, Gormley, Melindy, Louis, Oberg, Hache and Southron earning those nine positions. Edwards was especially impressed by the play of Southron is Saturday game.

“I really liked some of these guys that are trying to find a way to stay here,” he said. “I thought Jordan Southron was good tonight, just not for the goal, but I thought he made some really nice passes. His feet were good; he was moving.”

Up front, the Pirates only had 18 forwards in camp, meaning three players will be getting pink slips back to the ECHL. Corey Trivino looks to have supplanted Dyson Stevenson for the 15th forward position with his play over the weekend. Again, Edwards singled out Trivino the entire game, and he has given Edwards a reason to keep him around with his work ethic. After all, he was second round draft pick of the New York Islanders. He never signed due to legal issues, but he’s put that behind him and has let his game do the talking for him.

Nathan Burns and Stevenson are likely to join to Joel Hanley and Bretton Stamler in Gwinnett based on performance and ice time this weekend. Lewiston native Mark Anthoine is more than likely off to Evansville, Indiana where he has a one-way ECHL contract with the IceMen.

In goal, it’s a different situation. Adam Brown is expected to be cut, and Mike McKenna and Louis Domingue have earned the two goaltending spots based on their training camp in Portland and Arizona. Mark Visentin’s situation is unclear due to a lower-body injury. It’s possible he could be assigned to Gwinnett to get playing time once he’s ready to play again. Mike Lee is out recovering from a severe hip injury, and his return date is still unknown.

The Pirates will open their season on Saturday against the Providence Bruins at the Cross Insurance Arena. Game time is 7pm.

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