PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Sometime between training camp and Saturday’s 5-1 loss to Manchester, the Portland Pirates forgot about one ingredient that’s essential to playing winning hockey.
“Going into this weekend, work ethic for me I thought, boy, we’ve got it,” Coach Ray Edwards said Sunday after the Providence Bruins won 3-2 in a shootout. “We’d shown it in every practice and every exhibition game. And then this weekend, for whatever reason, that work ethic wasn’t real work.
“Sometimes we work. Sometimes we don’t. We never thought that was going to be an issue by what we’ve seen the last three weeks. But this weekend it was an issue and we’ll nip that in the bud.”
That might be another way of saying it won’t be a fun week of practice for the Pirates. And the first period Sunday certainly wasn’t fun for the Pirates, who were outshot 12-1 and trailed 2-1 at the break.
In fact, a case could be made that Portland lost this game in the opening period instead of the shootout.
“We had a hangover from (Saturday) that carried over to tonight,” Edwards said. “I thought we weren’t great in the first period. That falls on me. I’ve got to have these guys ready.
“We got better as the game went on. I thought we executed really well in the 4-on-3 (in overtime) but we didn’t score. We had a couple of tips at the net that were real close. But we didn’t play well this weekend at all so we’ve got a lot of work to do.”
Ironically, the Pirates — who were on a power play in overtime — came quite close to scoring when Nathan Oystrick’s shot hit the right post.
Then, in the shootout, Providence’s Jamie Arniel beat Justin Pogge (25 saves) to his glove side but Portland’s Ryan Duncan tied it with a wrist shot that clanged in off the crossbar.
Zach Hamill won it in the fourth round when he deked Pogge and beat him to his glove side.
Andrew Bodnarchuk gave Providence a 1-0 lead at 5:25 of the first when he buried the rebound of a Kirk MacDonald shot.
The Pirates tied it on their only shot of the period, at 11:36, when Matt Watkins deflected Michael Stone’s slap shot by Anton Khudobin (21 saves).
Tyler Randell gave Providence a 2-1 lead heading into intermission when he flipped in a loose puck at 13:25.
But Portland tied it again on a power play at 5:03 of the second when Ryan Duncan stuffed home the rebound of a Stone shot.
If the Pirates were to take any solace from this game it was because they killed off all five Providence power plays and are 15 for 15 on the penalty kill for the season.
“We had some big (penalty kills) tonight one in the third was big for us,” Edwards said. “That’s a bright spot right now. But it’s early and we have a ton of work to do.”