Defenseman Dylan Reese scored a goal with 1:15 left in overtime as the Portland Pirates snapped a six-game losing streak in dramatic fashion Saturday night.
Reese scored his third goal of the season on a shot from the left circle to lift the Pirates to a 4-3 win against the Worcester Sharks in an AHL game at the Cross Insurance Arena.
Reese put in a shot from the left circle while the two teams were skating three-on-three.
“A guy went fishing on their team,” he said. “He tried to poke check, and it cost them.”
The Pirates lost in overtime Friday night, 3-2, to the Providence Bruins when rookie sensation David Pastrnak scored on a two-on-none break while the teams skated three-on-three.
This year, the AHL changed its overtime rules. Overtime is seven minutes long and starts four-on-four until the first whistle following three minutes of play (four minutes remaining) when it goes to three-on-three.
“It’s a different part of the game, and no team has really experienced it too often,” Reese said. “We were just a little bit more cautious and didn’t take too many risks tonight with the puck.”
It was the Pirates’ first win in two weeks.
“I’m not going to complain about two points, but there were a lot of issues in that game from my perspective,” Portland Coach Ray Edwards said. “I won’t get into them right now. We got the two points, and it’s Christmas.”
The phenomenal play of goalie Mike McKenna enabled the Pirates to win a game they could easily have lost. In his 14th start in the last 15 games, McKenna made 43 saves, including three during overtime.
“He’s been our MVP without a doubt this season,” Reese said. “He’s been fantastic every single game minus one or two. You can’t ask anymore out of a goalie.”
The score was tied 1-1 at the end of the first period.
Greg Miller gave Portland a 1-0 lead with his first AHL goal 14 minutes into the game when he got control of a rebound and slipped the puck under goalie Troy Grosenick’s pads.
With less than two minutes left in the period, Mike Haley tied it for Worcester with his team-high 10th goal of the season.
The Pirates took a 3-1 lead on goals by Darian Dziurzynski and Miller in the first seven minutes of the second period.
Dziurzynski put in a rebound for his fifth goal after Grosenick deflected Corey Trivino’s tip of defenseman Philip Samuelsson’s shot from the right point.
Miller scored on a breakout started by McKenna’s clearing pass.
It was the goalie’s first assist of the season.
“It’s such a great feeling to be able to contribute, kind of get off the snide here a little bit,” Miller said.
With less than 12 minutes left in the period, Worcester left wing Bryan Lerg jammed the puck under McKenna’s pads for his second goal. Three minutes later, Adam Burish was credited with his second goal when the puck went in off McKenna’s pads.