PORTLAND – The lowly Providence Bruins handed the Portland Pirates their first home loss of the season Saturday night.
Jamie Arniel’s shot from the right circle went in off the crossbar after 1:25 of overtime to lift the Bruins to a 5-4 victory before 4,274 fans at the Cumberland County Civic Center.
The Pirates, who won their first seven games of the season at the Civic Center, managed to salvage a point despite trailing 3-0 early in the first period.
“You’d like to think we’d get off to a better start at home and it didn’t happen,” Portland Coach Kevin Dineen said.
“We had a good battle to come back, but it’s not only hard to come back from three goals, it’s tiring as well. It takes a lot of effort to do it.”
It was the sixth game in nine nights for the Pirates, who returned home Thursday from an eight-day trip during which they won three of the four games they played in Virginia and North Carolina.
“We may have been a little bit tired in the end, and that was the difference in the hockey game,” Dineen said. “We won’t critique that one. We’ll just look at it as a game where we got a point at home.”
The Bruins, in last place in the American Hockey League’s Atlantic Division, took a 3-0 lead in the first seven minutes on goals by Levi Nelson, Jordan Knack-stedt and Joe Colborne.
The Pirates, in first place in the seven-team division, rallied during the final five minutes of the first period.
Center Paul Byron finished off a three-on-two rush with a goal, and defenseman T.J. Brennan poked in a rebound for his second goal of the season on a power play to bring Portland within 3-2.
Four minutes into the second period, Byron made it 3-3 when he scored on another power play.
With less than three minutes remaining in the period, Portland defenseman Dennis Persson broke the tie by scoring his second goal in as many nights on a shot from inside the left circle.
The Pirates’ lead was short-lived. With less than a minute left in the period, Colborne scored his third goal of the season on a two-on-break to make it 4-4.
It was the first loss of the season for goalie David Leggio, who had won his first six starts.
NOTES: Team captain Matt Ellis, who had two goals and five assists in the Pirates’ previous six games, was called up to the NHL following an injury to Buffalo Sabres forward Drew Stafford. Drew Schiestel, a second-year defenseman who went into Saturday’s games leading the league with a plus-13 rating, was a healthy scratch for Portland.
Staff Writer Paul Betit can be contacted at 791-6424 or at: