WORCESTER, Mass. – Officially, the Portland Pirates dressed 20 skaters for Tuesday night’s game against the Worcester Sharks.
Unofficially, half acted like spectators in a 3-2 loss.
“We had some shifts where we got some stuff going but ultimately I didn’t feel like we had enough,” Coach Ray Edwards said. “I found the only time we had anything going was when certain guys were on the ice. The other guys were sort of giving them a rest. You can’t win like that. It’s a lesson that, hopefully, they’ll learn at some point because you can’t stay in this league playing like that. And you certainly can’t have an opportunity to play higher.
“Those are lessons we’re trying to teach some of these players. You’re being evaluated and we didn’t get enough from enough guys tonight.”
Portland has lost 18 one-goal games.
“There are a number of reasons why we are where we are and obviously that’s one of them,” Edwards said.
The Pirates were eliminated from the playoffs with the loss.
Even though the Pirates were outshot 11-6 in the first period they only trailed 1-0.
Travis Olesuk collected a pass from Eriah Hayes, skated in from the right circle and slid the puck under Louis Domingue (32 saves) at 7:44.
The Pirates almost scuttled themselves early in the second period when Joe Hanley and Brandon Yip were assessed minor penalties within a span of 41 seconds.
Worcester capitalized on the five-on-three situation when Freddie Hamilton and Matt Tennyson worked a give-and-go with Hamilton whipping home a shot at 3:43.
Portland killed off the remaining five-on-four and got closer when Tobias Reider scored at 8:17. Reider deflected Andy Miele’s shot between the pads of Troy Grosenick (21 saves).
Momentum definitely was in Portland’s favor, but Matt Pelech regained Worcester’s two-goal lead by scoring at 6:32 of the third. Micro Mueller unloaded a shot and Pelech’s deflection beat Domingue between the legs for a 3-1 lead.
Reider scored again for the Pirates off a scrum in front of Worcester’s goal at 9:31.
“It’s a different matchup for us,” Edwards said while explaining why Worcester finished with an 8-4-0-0 advantage in the season series. “We have some skill and speed. We’re not a big, heavy team like Worcester. They’re big and heavy and control the puck. They go to the net and we have a heck of a time managing that.
“We haven’t had success against Worcester because we don’t match up. They’re big, strong and heavy and lean on us. They get pucks and people to the net and every game it kills us. Tonight it killed us again.”