WORCESTER, Mass. — Frustration.
One didn’t have to be a mind reader to discern the look on Portland Pirates Coach Ray Edwards’ face after Sunday’s 1-0 loss to the Worcester Sharks.
The reason was obvious: After winning six consecutive games, Portland (14-13-0-0) has lost four in a row while scoring a total of five goals.
“We have no offense,” Edwards said. “We’re not creating any offense. We’re not scoring goals. We’re defending well enough.
“Every game it’s two, three or one goal against. But we’re not scoring. You can win some games when you defend well. But when you don’t score, you can’t win. You have to find some way to score, and we haven’t been able to do it.”
What made Sunday’s loss particularly frustrating was the fact that Worcester has scored the fewest goals (62) in the Eastern Conference and was 2-10-1-0 in its last 13 games. But, as Edwards noted, Portland’s problems are many.
“Execution, skill, want, will … all that stuff,” Edwards said while describing the Pirates’ shortcomings. “Some nights it’s execution. Some nights it’s will. Some nights it’s skill.
“Tonight was a little bit of all of it.”
The Sharks (11-12-2-0) were on a power play early in the first period when they were whistled for a pair of minor penalties, which gave Portland a five-on-three advantage for 1:14. But as has been the case in recent weeks, the Pirates came up empty.
Worcester, which entered the game ranked 28th in the AHL on the power play, broke a scoreless tie in the second period on its third power play of the game.
Matt Taormina, who was positioned in the high slot, passed to Bryan Lerg at the inside edge of the right circle, and Lerg snapped a shot that Michael Haley deflected past Mike McKenna (33 saves) at 4:22.
Even though Edwards pulled McKenna in favor of an extra skater with 1:37 left, Portland wasn’t able to avoid its fourth shutout of the season. Worcester’s J.P. Anderson (25 saves) recorded his first shutout.
One stat that has been a major factor in Portland’s erratic season is the team’s inability to score on the power play.
After going 0 for 4 Sunday, the Pirates are in a 3-for-63 slump.
“I think it’s a little bit of bad luck,” Pirates center Dan O’Donoghue said. “We have the right guys out there. It seems like guys are working hard. But it’s not getting the right balance that we need.
“I feel like once we get that one then more will come. But the thing is just sticking to the process and battling through the adversity that we’re facing right now on the power play. Once our power play gets going, I feel like we could be a real dangerous team.”