WORCESTER, Mass. — Which goal hurt the Portland Pirates the most during Saturday’s 3-2 loss to the Worcester Sharks?
Was it the goal Portland allowed with 1.5 seconds left in the first period?
Or was it the goal the Pirates allowed at 7:54 of the third period that gave Worcester a 3-1 lead?
As the saying goes, a flea couldn’t live on the difference.
“The goal at the end of the first period was a tough one,” Pirates Coach Ray Edwards said. “We should be able to get out of that period, but it gave them momentum.
“I like the way we handled it. We came back and had a good second period. But I didn’t like the third goal, either. It was a floater from the half wall. We have to find a way to stop that one. That hurt us, emotionally.”
Worcester’s Yanni Gourde gave Portland two opportunities to score early when he drew a pair of minor penalties in the first 5½ minutes. But the Pirates, who began the game ranked sixth in the AHL on the power play, twice came up empty.
Just the opposite was the case with the Sharks, who scored on their first power play, at 14:06 of the opening period.
Gourde atoned for his miscues by setting up Freddie Hamilton, who slid the puck past Louis Domingue (34 saves) from a difficult angle to the right of the cage.
The Pirates then allowed a killer goal just before the period ended. Adam Comrie unloaded a slap shot from the left point that eluded a screened Domingue for a 2-0 lead.
The Pirates halved their deficit at 11:18 of the second when Daine Todd carried the puck across the blue line and blasted a slap shot from the left point that glanced in off the glove of Harri Sateri (24 saves).
Worcester’s third goal came when Eriah Hayes beat Domingue to the short side.
“The goal at the end really stung,” Edwards said. “It comes down to one play, and that was the play.”
Portland had a golden opportunity to pull within 3-2 while skating short-handed. John Mitchell stole the puck in the neutral zone and skated in on a breakaway, only to have Sateri make a pad save.
Both plays proved to be crucial, because Portland’s Jordan Martinook buried the rebound of a Lucas Lessio shot with 1:14 left.
The Pirates’ inability to score on the power play (they were 0 for 5) perplexed Edwards.
“We’ve struggled against them all year (on the power play),” Edwards said. “Our numbers aren’t great against Worcester all year. On top of that, we’ve lost some personnel off it. We had some chances, but we didn’t find a way to score.
“For some reason against Worcester this year our numbers aren’t great. There’s something there and we have to figure out that one. The power play’s been getting us a goal a game for a while, but tonight it let us down.”