LEWISTON-The Portland Pirates finished their season’s run at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee in tremendous fashion Sunday afternoon.
Chris Brown scored two goals as the Pirates skated to a 6-1 win against the St. John’s IceCaps before a sellout crowd of 3,750 to run their record to 5-1 at the legendary arena.
“It’s always nice to get out here,” Brown said. “There’s a lot of fans showing up, and we’ve had some success here.”
The Pirates also have had some success playing against the IceCaps this season, running their record to a 3-0-1-0 against the AHL affiliate of the Winnipeg Jets.
“Their team is similar to the team they had last year and for whatever reason they’re struggling and we’ve had a decent record against them,” Portland Coach Ray Edwards said. “Give the credit to our guys. They’re just playing hard.”
The victory kept the Pirates (30-18-1-1) within one point of Atlantic Division leader Providence Bruins, who skated to a 3-1 win against the Worcester Sharks for their ninth win in 10 games.
“We’re trying really to establish the same game every night and trying to find a way to get points every night,” Edwards said “The conference has tightened and there’s a lot of good teams, and you can’t afford to not play well for a stretch.”
Portland, which has earned points in six of the last eight games, put the game out reach early by scoring its first three goals during the final five minutes of the first period.
Rookie Phil Lane opened the flurry when he turned Rob Klinkhammer’s feed from the left wing off the rush into his fourth goal of the season. With a little more than two minutes left in the period, Brown scored from the right circle 27 seconds into Portland’s first power play. With less than a minute left, Evan Brophey turned a nifty feed from Jordan Szwarz into his fourth goal.
The Pirates, who came into the game ranked 10th among the AHL’s 30 teams on the penalty kill, started the scoreless second period by killing off a four-minute power play and ended it by killing off another minor infraction.
Early in the third period, Portland killed off two more power plays, including a 1:38 segment when the IceCaps skated with a two-man advantage.
“Our players have bought in,” Edwards said. “They have a real identity on the PK. We have a lot of guys who can do it, and they take a lot of pride in it. Those type of players are battlers. They’re not afraid to block shots or take a hit to make a play or get the puck out.”
Portland killed off all seven St. John’s power plays.
The Pirates moved into a 6-0 lead during the third period.
Less than five minutes in, Alexandre Bolduc scored his team-high 19th goal on a breakaway while Portland skated short-handed. Three minutes later, Brown scored his 16th goal on a shot from the slot. With two minutes left, rookie Brendan Shinnimin lifted his ninth goal into the right side.
Rookie goalie Mike Lee made 31 saves to record his fifth win. With 29 seconds left, Jason Gregoire spoiled Lee’s bid for his first AHL shutout with his eighth goal.
NOTES: Springfield Falcons forward Wade MacLeod was stable and alert after suffering a seizure following a hit into the glass during the second period of Sunday’s game against the Adirondack Phantoms.
MacLeod was brought by ambulance to Baystate Medical Center in Springfield. Players and coaches on each team agreed to postpone the game.
Staff Writer Paul Betit can be contacted at 791-6424 or at: