ALBANY, N.Y. — They couldn’t control their fortunes, but the Portland Pirates also failed to manage their discipline Saturday against the Albany Devils.
As a result, the Pirates’ hope for a perfect start to the post-Christmas portion of their American Hockey League schedule dissolved in a sea of penalties.
The Devils scored three times in a five-minute span of the second period to break open a scoreless game and carry out a 4-1 victory over the Pirates, whose two-game winning streak was snapped.
Although Albany failed to capitalize on eight power-play opportunities, two goals came shortly after Portland penalties expired.
“We took four offensive-zone penalties,” Pirates Coach Ray Edwards said. “I thought we were too caught up in the refereeing. We didn’t handle that part well enough to win the game.”
Coming off Thursday night’s 4-1 victory over league-leading Manchester, the Pirates hoped to manifest this two-game trip into momentum for the new year. The Devils entered the game fourth in the Eastern Conference, 10 points ahead of the 11th-place Pirates.
Daine Todd had a breakaway in the second period but shot over the net. Albany goalie Keith Kinkaid was caught out of the net in the third period, leaving Brandon Yip with an open cage, but his shot rattled off the post.
“If we score there,” Edwards said, “how does that change the game? If Yipper … that’s a wide-open net, the poor bugger. If that goes in, that changes the whole dynamic of the game as well. We were around the game. We shot ourselves in the foot.”
While spending more than a quarter of the game killing off penalties, the Pirates had only three man-advantage opportunities, and two were shortened by Portland penalties.
“Any momentum you get, it sucks the life out of you and you use players too much,” Edwards said.
“You can’t get other players in the game. You can’t use your whole bench. You get guys who are out there too much. When you take that many minors, it’s tough to have success.”
Mathieu Brodeur was just skating into the play, six seconds after his delay-of-game infraction ended, when Albany’s Joe Whitney fired from the slot and beat goalie Mark Visentin for the game’s first goal at 9:35 of the second.
Andy Miele, who scored the Pirates’ goal late in the second period, lost a defensive-zone face-off just 1:35 later. Scott Timmins drew the puck back to defenseman Seth Helgeson, who recorded his first goal in 34 career games. The Devils’ Mike Sislo made it 3-0 at 14:24, two seconds after a slashing penalty to Portland’s Lucas Lessio.
“If you don’t stay disciplined and you’re down five-on-four for that much of the game, it takes away a lot of chances to build momentum and scoring opportunities,” Miele said.