LEWISTON — As Black Friday was winding down, they were seeing red at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee.
After a three-fight first period, the Worcester Sharks lit the lamp twice in less than 6 minutes of the second period and held on for a 3-1 victory over the Portland Pirates on Friday night before a crowd of 2,793.
It was the second straight setback for Portland (7-7-1-2), which lost 4-1 at Hartford on Wednesday in an effort far below Coach Ray Edwards’ expectations. Worcester (8-8-1) has won three straight.
“(Our effort) was better than Wednesday,” Edwards said. “It was good. And to win in this league, it has to be better than good.”
Worcester took command in the second. Bracken Kearns scored first, putting in the rebound of Dan DaSilva’s shot at 3:55. Portland goalie Mark Visentin (24 saves) stopped DaSilva, but the puck dropped to Kearns.
Then James Livingston made it 2-0 Worcester when he finished off a rush at 9:04.
“We got beat in front of our net,” Edwards said. “They were only two goals but they were big goals.”
Brett Hextall cut the Sharks’ lead in half at 5:55 of the third period, when his blast from the right point bounced in the low slot and got by Worcester goalie Harri Sateri (33 saves). Brendan Shinniman started the play, digging the puck free in his own end, streaking up the left wing and snapping a pass back to the trailing Hextall. Jordan Martinook also assisted.
Then Freddie Hamilton put the game away with an empty-net goal with 1:10 left to play.
“Third period, we had a bunch of chances,” Edwards said. “But at the end of the day we didn’t get enough from our best players tonight.”
The scoreless first period looked more like Friday Night Fights than a hockey game, with the three brawls breaking out in a span of 9:02. The downside to that scenario was obvious for the Pirates: It robbed them of the firepower of top-scorer Andy Miele (14 points) and Chris Brown (12), who was making his return from a stint in the NHL with the Phoenix Coyotes.
The opening bout saw Worcester heavyweight Jimmy Bonneau and Portland doorman Kyle Hagel circle and jab to a draw at 10:19, each earning seven minutes in the penalty box.
Then Miele finally had enough of Riley Brace’s antics and dropped the gloves at mid-ice at 12:47. They too fought to a draw, but Worcester won on points: Brace has just two assists this season to Miele’s six goals and eight assists.
The final fisticuffs featured Worcester’s Danill Tarasov’s quick takedown of Brown at 13:25. Tarasov got the better of Brown, but this fight was a wash: Tarasov, like Brown came in with 12 points.
“I didn’t mind the first, it was a highly contested period,” Edwards said.
“We stood up for ourselves. We competed hard. I was on them about their compete level, because on Wednesday it wasn’t good enough. So I give them credit for competing hard. It was better but not good enough.”
NOTES: Phoenix recalled 31-year-old defenseman Rostislav Klesla three days after placing him on waivers.