PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Even though his team lost a 4-3 shootout to the Providence Bruins on Friday night, Portland Pirates Coach Ray Edwards wasn’t inclined to trash the team’s locker room.
“If you’re a pro, you learn from it and you move past it,” Edwards said. “You got a point on the road. You don’t necessarily like how it ended. But we played a pretty smart game for two periods.
“We lost two guys after the morning skate today with the flu and other stuff going on. We put it together with patchwork – like they did. Both teams I think had eight or nine guys out of our lineups. Both teams were in the same boat. I give our guys a lot of credit to fight and get a point on the road. We’ll learn from that last goal.”
The “last goal” Edwards referred to came with 29.9 seconds left in regulation and Portland nursing a 3-2 lead.
Providence Coach Bruce Cassidy pulled goaltender Niklas Svedberg (13 saves) in favor of a sixth skater and the move paid off when Alexander Fallstrom deflected in a Bobby Robins shot.
Ironically, Fallstrom was the only player on either team who scored in the shootout.
“Obviously you don’t want to lose a game like that,” Portland defenseman Brandon Gormley said. “I thought we played a smart game at the start. We knew it was going to be one of those games where a couple of mistakes here and there would make the difference.
“We tried to keep things simple and play hard and battle as hard as we can.”
Barely three minutes had elapsed after the opening faceoff when Portland grabbed a 1-0 lead as Chris Brown snapped home a shot from the right circle.
That lead lasted until 11:28 when Providence tied it on a goal by Andrew Cherniwchan, who was recalled Friday from the ECHL’s South Carolina Stingrays. Cherniwchan buried the rebound of a Fallstrom shot.
Portland went into intermission leading 2-1 after Daine Todd scored a power-play goal at 13:41.
Daine, who’s normally a defenseman, played right wing because Portland was short-handed up front. He blasted home a slap shot from the top of the right circle for his second goal in two games.
Providence tied the game at 8:20 of the second when David Warsofsky’s wrist shot from the high slot tricked through the pads of Louis Domingue (25 saves).
The Bruins came within inches of a 3-2 lead in the final minute of the period when Seth Griffith stole the puck in Portland’s zone only to hit the right side of the net. But Portland did take a 3-2 lead on a power-play goal by Kevin Veilluex at 9:12 of the third.
Gormley unloaded a slap shot and Veilleux deflected it by Svedberg.
“We’ve taken five out of the last six points and I think we’ve gone four games without a loss in regulation,” Edwards said.
“To me, we’re playing better. We’re doing some better things. We just have to be consistent and find a way (Saturday) to be good and get points again.”