PORTLAND – The Portland Pirates will try to get their offensive game together when they play the Manchester Monarchs for the second time in four days tonight at the Cumberland County Civic Center.
The Pirates (1-1-0-1) spent Tuesday morning’s practice addressing their offensive shortcomings. In three games, they have seven goals.
“For me, it was a few things structurally we have to get better at, but the reality is it’s a mentality to do certain things offensively that really comes down to buying into a structure and an identity,” Portland Coach Ray Edwards said. “We tried to get to some of that stuff (Tuesday). We had a nice video session, and we addressed some of this stuff. Hopefully, (tonight) we’ll see some improvement in those areas and continue to build from that.”
Last Saturday night, the Monarchs spoiled the Pirates’ home opener with a 5-1 win in Portland. Sunday afternoon, the Providence Bruins, after limiting Portland to one shot during the first period, pulled out a 3-2 shootout win at home.
“We looked at our five-on-five play, and it just isn’t good enough,” Edwards said.
“We’re not creating enough scoring chances. We got outchanced, 15-5, on five-on-five during the two games (last weekend).”
The penalty kill has been the one bright spot for the Pirates, who have killed off all 15 power plays.
“I would have loved to start 3-0, but that is secondary, right now,” Edwards said.
“What we have to do right now is to establish a standard, establish our identity, and it’s going to take a little time to get there.”
While the Pirates have a lot of experience in goal and on defense, six of their forwards are rookies.
“We’re a new group, and we’re trying to get adjusted to each other,” said left wing Mathieu Beaudoin, a fifth-year pro who had a career-high 21 goals and 30 assists for the San Antonio Rampage last season. “We’re trying to get together as a group here, getting our young guys and older guys to mesh together.”
Less than two weeks into the season, only one rookie – Kris Newbury of the Connecticut Whale – ranks among the top 50 players in goals, assists or points.
“It’s a brand new group, and we’ve just got to be patient,” Beaudoin said. “Everybody is going to get their goals, here and there, and it’s just a matter of time before we make it happen.”
NOTES: Pneumonia is expected to keep Portland’s veteran center Marc-Antoine Pouliot, who averaged more than a point per game for the Norfolk Admirals last season, out for the third consecutive game…. A stomach ailment will keep Portland rookie center Ethan Werek out of the lineup.
Staff Writer Paul Betit can be contacted at 791-6424 or at: