WORCESTER, Mass. — Brutal.
That’s the only adjective to use when describing the Portland Pirates’ performance Friday against the Worcester Sharks.
The Sharks hooked the Pirates 8-2, which resulted not only in Portland’s fourth consecutive loss but also in the most goals the team has allowed in a game this season.
“The effort was really disturbing,” Coach Ray Edwards said. “Not only was the effort disturbing but the lack of execution as far as our structure was concerned was disturbing. We looked like we didn’t have an idea of how to play.
“That’s really discouraging after a week of practice thinking you’re in a certain situation to be prepared to play. To come out and play like that is pretty disappointing.”
One stat spoke volumes about Portland’s performance in the first period: shots on goal.
Worcester had a 16-5 advantage.
The Pirates’ five shots were one more than their season low in a period while the Sharks’ 16 equaled the most they’ve had in a first period this season.
The Pirates didn’t put their first shot on net until 7:11 remained in the first when Kevin Veilleux stole the puck in the neutral zone and unloaded a blast that was blocked by Harri Sateri (27 saves).
“We didn’t start,” Edwards said of his team’s first-period play. “It was bad. It was as bad as I’ve seen it in this league.
“We obviously have some work to do.”
Worcester grabbed a 1-0 lead at 14:29 of the first period when Matt Neito’s shot from the right circle was blocked by goaltender Mark Visentin, and Freddie Hamilton (two goals, two assists) tapped the puck inside the right post.
The Sharks made it 2-0 at 15:28 due in large part to Marek Viedensky, who deked a Portland defenseman and left a drop pass for Eriah Hayes who flicked the puck by Visentin.
The ice again was tilted in Worcester’s favor in the second period when the Sharks scored three goals before Portland finally beat Sateri.
Nieto (two goals, three assists) gave Worcester a 3-0 lead at 1:15 of the second.
Then Daniel Tarasov chased Visentin at 3:10.
Altogether, Visentin allowed four goals on 21 shots.
Visentin’s replacement, Mike Lee (16 saves), didn’t fare much better.
“Neither (goalie) had much support,” Edwards said. “But we had a lot of bad players. It wasn’t one or two guys. We didn’t have many good players tonight and that’s disappointing. We’re trying to give guys opportunities to play up in the lineup and we’re trying to do things the right way.”
Gilbert Brule netted a power-play goal late in the second and Brendan Shinnimin scored in the third for Portland.
“Accountability is a big part of this business,” Edwards said. “The problem with tonight is you could hold 15 guys accountable.”