The Portland Pirates traded forward Joel Rechlicz to the Hershey Bears in exchange for left wing Matt Clackson Tuesday.

In an unrelated move, the Pirates signed forward Justin Feser to an amateur tryout contract,

Portland Coach Ray Edwards said the trade came about because he couldn’t accommodate Rechlicz’s desire to play more.

“We certainly appreciate all the things he did for us, but I think it was one of those things,” Edwards said. “(Rechlicz) wanted to play more and, in our situation, we just couldn’t do that.”

Rechlicz was a healthy scratch in 14 of the Pirates’ last 22 games.

In 36 games with the Pirates, Rechlicz didn’t have a goal or an assist, but lead the team with 149 penalty minutes. He also had a plus/minus rating of minus- 7. Rechlicz rejoins the Bears after spending most of the last two seasons with them.

Clackson returned last Saturday night in the Bears’ 3-2 win against the Providence Bruins after missing 13 consecutive games (all healthy scratches). In 19 games with Hershey, he had a goal, two assists and 36 penalty minutes.

Like Rechlicz, Clackson, when healthy, is a physical player.

“We wanted to make sure we had that role filled,” Edwards said.

“We’re fighting for a playoff spot here and we need to have that role filled, but this time of year there’s not a whole lot of that type of play.”

Feser, 20, scored 44 goals and had 62 assists to rank fourth in scoring in the Western Hockey League while playing 72 games with the Tri-City Americans.

In five junior hockey seasons. Feser averaged more than 1.5 points per game. In 351 games, he had 155 goals and 353 assists along with 183 penalty minutes.

“He hasn’t been drafted, and, hopefully, this is an opportunity to showcase his abilities,” Edwards said. “We’ll bring him in and take a look.”

After Tuesday night’s 3-2 win by Wilkes-Barre/Scranton over Norfolk, the Pirates hold a one-point lead over the Penguins in the race for the fifth playoff spot of the AHL’s Eastern Conference. Hershey has a two-point lead over the defending Calder Cup champion Admirals in the race for the eighth and final playoff spot.

The Pirates and the Bears each have nine games left in the regular season.

“We’re just focused on trying to get better here,” Edwards said. “We deal with the players we have, not with the players we don’t have.”

The Pirates play at Manchester Friday night.


Staff Writer Paul Betit can be contacted at 791-6424 or at:

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