LEWISTON — For the first time since late November, the Portland Pirates came up empty at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee.
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton jumped ahead early and never trailed for a 4-2 American Hockey League victory Saturday night before a crowd of 2,961 at the Colisee, where the Pirates had managed at least a point in their previous seven games.
“We worked hard,” said Portland head coach Ray Edwards. “We’re doing some good things and not winning, and that’s the discouraging part.
“Honestly, I thought we were good enough to win,” Edwards added. “We held them to limited opportunities. It was another game we could have won and we let get away from us.”
Simon Depres scored twice for the Penguins, who converted a power play in the game’s second minute and never trailed. Philip Samuelsson added a goal and three assists.
The Pens were coming off a 5-1 loss in Providence Friday night. On Saturday, Scott Harrington converted a power play 67 seconds after the opening puck dropped and the Penguins protected their lead throughout a minute and 42 seconds of a 5-on-3 advantage later in the period.
“Anytime you come off a loss like that you want to have something good happen early,” said Pens head coach John Hynes, “whether it’s good play, a good penalty kill, a goal. We were able to have a combination of those things and that helped us get ourselves going early.”
The Pirates trailed 4-1 when Brandon Gormley pounced on his own rebound and put it home for a power play goal that cut the margin in half. Portland came no closer over the final 10 minutes, even with a 6-on-4 skater advantage in the last two minutes with goalie Mark Visentin on the bench and a Penguin in the penalty box.
Edwards blamed himself for not calling time before the lengthy 5-on-3 power play in the first period, after Andy Miele left the ice to get a concussion test.
“Just to make sure they knew what the plan was,” Edwards said. “That’s a crucial part in the game. We got a couple chances, but I thought we could have been cleaner there.”
The Pirates managed an even-strength goal seven minutes later when Brandon McMillan scored from a tough angle. Gormley and Connor Murphy assisted.
The Penguins took a 3-1 lead into the third after scoring twice in the second, both on slap shots from the point through traffic. The first came courtesy of Depres, who entered the contest leading his team with a plus-14 rating, and the second was from Samuelsson, whose father Ulf won two Stanley Cups with Pittsburgh.
Visentin finished with 18 saves. Eric Hartzell made 27 for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.
The Pirates continue their four-game homestand Tuesday night against Worcester.
NOTES: Biddeford native Brian Dumoulin started at defense for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, skating on the Colisee ice for the first time since Biddeford High beat Lewiston 4-1 for the 2008 Class A state title in Dumoulin’s junior year. The Tigers also won a state title his sophomore year and he went on to win two NCAA championships with Boston College before turning pro with the Penguins.
Glenn Jordan can be contacted at 791-6425 or at: