LEWISTON — The calendar changed.
The Pirates? Not so much.
The team that formerly called the Cumberland County Civic Center home continued its winless ways in the Androscoggin Bank Colisee, losing 7-1 to the Binghamton Senators on a fight-filled Saturday night before 2,939.
“It’s frustrating,” said Coach Ray Edwards, who saw his Pirates rack up a franchise-record 134 minutes in penalties one night after giving up five power-play goals in a 7-4 loss to St. John’s. “It was a hard game, and obviously our team was frustrated over the last couple games. We’ve got to handle it better.”
One month and one day into the new year, the Pirates are still seeking their first 2014 victory in Lewiston. Their next chance comes Sunday afternoon when they play their third home game in three days, against Manchester, which beat Binghamton 5-1 Friday night in New Hampshire.
“We didn’t play very well (Friday) night and I think Portland got our wrath,” said Senators Coach Luke Richardson. “I thought when they scored to make it 2-1 we were in for a battle, but we got some good luck on that delayed penalty where (Jim) O’Brien got that next goal, and that really got us off to a good start.”
The Senators, making their only trip to Maine this winter, are third in the Eastern Conference. The Pirates entered the game in 12th, four spots and 11 points away from a playoff berth.
On Friday night, Edwards lamented his team’s lack of discipline after the Pirates gave St. John’s 10 power plays.
On Saturday night, the Pirates cut down on their penalties … at first. Binghamton took a 3-1 lead in the first period on goals by Chris Wideman, Danny Hobbs and O’Brien.
It was 2-0 when Brandon Yip broke through for the Pirates on the power play. Brandon McMillan and Lucas Lessio assisted.
The game got out of hand midway through the second, as Corey Cowick managed to nudge a puck initially covered by Pirates goalie Louis Domingue just over the line. Domingue pulled it back quickly, but the goal withstood a video review.
Meanwhile, skirmishes broke out as Binghamton celebrated, resulting in game misconducts for Portland’s Brett Hextall and Binghamton’s Darren Kramer as well as for Portland’s Kyle Hagel, who went after Kramer after officials had wrestled the earlier combatants toward the penalty box.
The Pirates were five seconds from killing off Hextall’s roughing penalty when O’Brien scored again to make it 5-1. Edwards had pulled Domingue – who stopped 10 of 14 shots – during the disputed goal review and replaced him with Mark Visentin, who made 12 saves on 15 shots.
Binghamton scored the only goals of the third, thanks to David Dziurzynski, the older brother of Pirates winger Darian Dziurzynski, and Hoffman, who has 23 on the season and is second in the AHL in scoring.
The third period included four fights, including two in the final 30 seconds. Officials handed out 224 minutes in penalties: 26 infractions for the Pirates and 20 for Binghamton.
When asked if the long trips to Lewiston are wearing on the team, Edwards said, “To me, that’s an excuse. It’s a crutch. You’ll never hear us complain about that. It is what it is. We’ve been talking about it from Day 1.
“We’re here. We haven’t played well here and I’ve got to figure out the reason why.”
Glenn Jordan can be contacted at 791-6425 or at: