PORTLAND – Bridgeport rode goalie Kevin Poulin’s record-setting performance to a 4-0 victory Saturday night against the Portland Pirates.
Poulin ran his shutout string to a franchise-record 198 minutes, 17 seconds as the Sound Tigers beat the Pirates for the first time in three games this season, before a crowd of 5,058 at the Cumberland County Civic Center.
It was a frustrating loss for the Pirates, who had climbed to within a point of third-place Worcester in the AHL’s Atlantic Division by earning points in nine of their last 11 games going into this weekend.
Portland lost 4-1 Friday night against the Providence Bruins, who are in last place in the Atlantic Division. Saturday night, another last-place team made it look easy, as the Pirates were dominated by the Northeast Division cellar dwellers.
“We got outworked,” Portland captain Dean Arsene said. “We came across two teams that were kind of at the bottom of the conference, and they made a push. They came out hard, and we didn’t. We didn’t match them. We got embarrassed.”
“Whether we’re playing the last-place team or the first-place team, you have to have the same mentality. Unfortunately, the biggest problem with this team is we haven’t found the consistency in that area to come prepared to work. It’s very frustrating.”
It was only the second time the Pirates have been shut out this season.
Poulin, making his ninth consecutive start, became the first Bridgeport goalie to post three straight shutouts. His string of shutout minutes eclipsed the record of 156 minutes, 9 seconds set by Rick DiPietro during the 2001-02 season.
“I didn’t think we tested him near enough,” Edwards said. “Our power play was (from the perimeter).” The Pirates failed to score on five power-play opportunities.
The Sound Tigers scored all of their goals during the second period.
Kael Mouillierat opened the scoring six minutes into the period when he sent a rebound into the right side of the goal from just inside the right circle with 10 seconds left on Bridgeport’s second power play of the game.
Four minutes later, Rhett Rakhshani scored his sixth goal on a right-handed shot from the left side of the slot to make it 2-0.
With less than nine minutes left in the period, Mathieu Aubin, a former Lewiston Maineiac playing his third game with Bridgeport after starting the season with the ECHL’s Cincinnati Cyclones, finished off a rush for his first AHL goal of the season.
After that goal, Justin Pogge replaced Pirates goalie Curtis McElhinney.
Bridgeport made it 4-0 with four minutes left in the period when Mouillierat jammed a rebound under Pogge’s pads with 13 seconds left on the Sound Tigers’ third power play of the game.
NOTES: Joey Haddad and Blair Riley, who started at the wings for Bridgeport, spent part of their preseason with the Pirates before going to the ECHL’s Gwinnett Gladiators. … The Pirates leave at 10:45 a.m. today for a 3 p.m. game against the Worcester Sharks at the DCU Center. … Former Portland tough guy Trevor Gillies has been out of the Bridgeport lineup since Nov. 26 because of post-concussion syndrome.
Staff Writer Paul Betit can be contacted at 791-6424 or at: