ST. JOHN’S, Newfoundland — After their disappointing 5-1 road loss Wednesday night to St. John’s, Portland Pirates Coach Ray Edwards said his team was unable to handle the IceCaps’ momentum after giving up a four-goal second period.
The Pirates found some momentum of their own Friday night and snapped the IceCaps’ nine-game winning streak, and their own four-game losing streak, with a wild 7-4 victory.
Tobias Rieder, Brandon Yip, Jordan Szwarz and Darian Dziurzynski scored in the first period for Portland (22-29-8-2) to put the IceCaps in a 4-0 hole.
The IceCaps (37-20-1-3) mounted a comeback attempt with goals from rookie Adam Lowry and defenseman Will O’Neill in the second period to make it 4-2.
After a quick power-play goal from Lucas Lessio early in the third restored the Pirates’ three-goal lead, the IceCaps got goals from Patrice Cormier and J.C Lipon just 3:09 apart, pulling within 5-4.
But Phil Lane of the Pirates capitalized on a Brenden Kichton offensive zone turnover, and Jordan Martinook scored late into the empty net.
The Pirates went 2 of 4 on the power play, while the IceCaps scored one power-play goal on four opportunities.
Louis Domingue finished the game with 26 saves for the Pirates.
Michael Hutchinson of the IceCaps also had 26 saves.
Edwards was pleased to snap the losing streak but wasn’t happy about letting the IceCaps back into the game in the third period.
“Obviously I liked the first period,” Edwards said. “We got a nice cushion and scored on our opportunities. This team, we know their momentum swings have been killing us all year. Tonight we were able to stay above it.”
The Pirates held strong when the IceCaps came out skating hard in the final period and while they weathered the storm, Edwards said that he still needs to see more execution from his team.
“We handled (the momentum) well, but we still have to handle it better than we did,” Edwards said. “It was better than we have dealt with in the past but it’s not nearly good enough.
“When that game is 4-0, it should stay 4-0. It shouldn’t turn into a 7-4 game.”
While it may not have been the prettiest victory that the Pirates have come up with this season, a win is a win and Edwards and company are just happy to be on the right side of a victory celebration for the first time since March 2.
“I’m happy for our guys to get a win,” he said. “They needed to smile a little bit and feel some joy. There are still so many areas to get better at.
“For us right now, it’s about trying to feel better. We have some young guys in the lineup for the first time so we’re getting the chance to see them. They’re bringing good energy to our group and we have some guys that have hope to see time in the NHL this season. There are still a million reasons to keep playing.”
The rubber match of the three games between the teams on this trip for the Pirates is scheduled to start at 6 p.m. Eastern time Saturday at Mile One Centre.