Maine Hockey Journal

Pirates’ offense explodes against IceCaps

(PHOTO: Rosina Vacchiano)

(PHOTO: Rosina Vacchiano)

The Portland Pirates scored early and often as they hammered the St. John’s IceCaps, 8-1, Friday evening in front 5,629 at Mile One Centre in St. John’s, Newfoundland.

The Pirates are without several key contributors who are currently on recall to the parent club, Arizona Coyotes, but still managed to find offense as all but one player (Cory Trivino) recorded at least one point in the game.

“We’ve talked to our group about that with what’s going on right now (in Arizona),” said Pirates’ GM/Coach Ray Edwards. “We need to have everyone contribute. We can’t afford to have one guy have a bad night for us. It has to be a full team effort every time we play for us to muck through this road schedule and the lineup the way it is.”

The Pirates (26-18-3) only needed one minute to get on the board as Henrik Samuelsson chipped the puck past IceCaps’ goalie Connor Hellebuyck on a rebound shot at the right post to give Portland a 1-0 lead.

Greg Carey and Francis Wathier each added a goal for the Pirates in the first period as they jumped out to a 3-0 lead after twenty minutes of play.

Wathier’s goal with 3:13 left in the period, a centering feed from Eric Selleck, ended the night for Hellebuyck as Jussi Olkinuora replaced the struggling netminder.

It didn’t get any better for the IceCaps as Joel Hanley, Jordan Szwarz and Jordan Martinook added three more goals to give the Pirates a commanding 6-1 lead.

The lone goal from the IceCaps came on a the power play as Kyle MacKinnon redirected a pass from the left circle by Brenden Kitchon past Pirates’ goalie Mike McKenna just 1:09 into the second period.

Joel Haley tallied his first career AHL goal at 8:20 of the second period, snapping a shot from the left circle and beating Olkinuora five-hole for a 4-1 lead.

To tell what type of game it was going to be for the IceCaps, one just had to look at Martinook’s goal with a minute left in the second period as he gathered the long ice feed from Dylan Reese and fired a wrist on net from just outside the blueline, beating Olkinuora between the legs.

“It was one of those games where everything we shot went in and I know their goaltenders would like to have a bunch of those back,” said Edwards. “I thought we worked extremely hard tonight and a lot of the time when you do that; you make your own breaks.

Darian Dziurzynski surpassed his career-high for goals as he scored his 10th of the season just a minute into the third period, snapping a shot on a partial breakaway by Olkinuora.

Jordan Southorn, who spent time at forward as the Pirates dressed 11 forwards and seven defensemen, made it 8-1 with 9:31 left in the game.

Mike McKenna finished with 23 saves on 24 shots while Connor Hellebuyck took the loss with eight saves. Olkinuora went 17 for 22 in relief.

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