PORTLAND — John McCarthy put in a wide-angled shot from the bottom of the right circle 2:56 into overtime to lift the Worcester Sharks to a 3-2 victory Monday night against the Portland Pirates.
The Sharks rallied from a two-goal deficit to pull out the win before a crowd of 5,130 at the Cumberland County Civic Center, but Pirates Coach Ray Edwards was still able to find some positives.
“We made a few mistakes but what I liked about our team tonight is we competed hard,” Edwards said. “We had a will to compete.”
In some of their most recent losses, the Pirates (13-13-1-2) have seemed to stop competing at crucial times in games, but that didn’t seem to be the case Monday night.
“Our team is in a state right now where we’re trying to become a better team,” Edwards said. “Not the structure side of it. Just chemistry, cohesiveness, togetherness. So I thought today we took a stride. Now we’ll see what the next game brings.”
Rookie forwards Andy Miele and Brett Hextall ended long scoring droughts to stake the Pirates to a 2-0 lead in the first period.
Less than a minute into the game, Miele, who had gone 10 games without a goal, got a perfect feed out of the left corner from Brett MacLean and slipped the puck inside the near post while skating past the crease for his eighth goal.
With less than eight minutes left, Hextall, who had gone 17 games without a goal or an assist, tipped in Brock Trotter’s pass from the left boards for his fourth goal with 17 seconds left on the first power play of the game. It was his first goal on Civic Center ice.
Nathan Moon and Jimmy Bonneau scored less than three minutes apart in the second period to pull the Sharks into a 2-2 tie.
At 11:10, Moon jammed the puck past goalie Justin Pogge for his fourth goal, 6 seconds into Worcester’s first power play of the game.
At 13:11, Bonneau, who played for the Pirates in the 2008-09 season, scored his first goal of the season during a scrum in front of the Portland net.
“They’re a heavy team, and they pushed hard and they got two quick ones on us,” Edwards said.
“I thought we responded well afterwards. We had numerous chances to score.”
The Pirates, who were coming off an eight-day break in their schedule, held a 35-25 edge in shots.
“We had numerous odd-man rushes on the power play that we didn’t convert on,” Edwards said. “We’ve got to bury one more of those, or two more of those, and the game is totally different.”
NOTES: It was the eighth start of the season for Pogge, who got the nod after Curtis McElhinney was called up by the Phoenix Coyotes, the Pirates’ NHL parent. Marc Cheverie, on his third call-up from the ECHL’s Gwinnett Gladiators, served as Pogge’s backup. The Coyotes recalled right wing Patrick O’Sullivan, who had two goals and five assists in his six-game stay with the Pirates. Defenseman Chris Summers was back in the Portland lineup after a three-game absence following his third call-up to Phoenix. Ashton Rome, out since blocking a shot with his right leg in a Dec. 16 game against the St. John’s IceCaps, returned to the Portland lineup. Former UMaine center Ben Guite is recovering from an upper-body injury and didn’t make the trip with the Sharks.
Staff Writer Paul Betit can be contacted at 791-6424 or at: [email protected]