PORTLAND – The Portland Pirates played Saturday night without their leading scorer and team captain, Alexandre Bolduc.
It didn’t go well.
Zach Trotman snapped a tie, scoring his second AHL goal with less than four minutes left, and the Providence Bruins went on to a 5-2 win before 4,307 at the Cumberland County Civic Center.
“It was a good challenge for (the players) and it was good for me to see how guys reacted,” Pirates Coach Ray Edwards said. “I didn’t think we reacted well enough. I thought we needed more from certain guys.”
Bolduc, who missed most of last season while recovering from shoulder surgery, is among the league scoring leaders with a team-high 12 goals. An ankle injury kept him out of the lineup for the first time this season.
In addition to his scoring, Bolduc, who also has eight assists, plays a major role on the penalty kill and provides a spark whenever he’s on the ice.
“He touches games in a lot of ways,” Edwards said. “He plays 18 to 20 minutes each and every night. But again you have to find a way to get past losing particular guys, and other guys have to step up and we just didn’t get that well enough tonight.”
The Pirates held a 2-1 lead at the end of the first period.
Providence right wing Jordan Caron opened the scoring five minutes into the game when he threw the puck out front from behind the net and it went in off the skate of a defender for his fifth goal of the season.
With less than six minutes left, David Rundblad tied it by scoring his fourth goal on a blast from the right point on Portland’s first power play. All of the Swedish defenseman’s goals have come in the last four games.
With less than four minutes left, Ethan Werek made it 2-1 when he hustled down the slot to push the rebound of a shot by rookie Brendan Shinnimin into the open net for his third goal, ending a nine-game scoring drought.
Nine minutes into the second period, Jamie Tardif used the backhand to stick a rebound inside the left post for his seventh goal to forge a 2-2 tie.
Trotman, who scored a goal while playing nine games with the Bruins last season after playing three seasons at Lake Superior State, put in a shot from the top of the slot for a 3-2 lead.
Ryan Spooner and Christian Hanson added empty-net goals.
NOTES: Swedish defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson was back in the Pirates’ lineup. The Pirates’ Joel “Wrecker” Rechlicz and the Bruins’ Bobby Robins threw some bombs in a brief fight shortly after Caron’s goal. Veteran left wing Rob Klinkhammer, 2011 Hobey Baker Award winner Andy Miele and rookie forwards Chris Brown and Brendan Shinnimin are the only players to appear in 20 games for the Pirates. Defensemen Brandon Gormley and Mark Louis were healthy scratches for the Pirates. An upper-body injury kept Jordan Szwarz out of the Portland lineup for the second consecutive game.
Staff Writer Paul Betit can be contacted at 791-6424 or at: