March 10, 2010

Pirates change usual pattern

RACHEL LENZI

— By

Staff Writer

PORTLAND — Brian Petrovek hopes a few tweaks in this season's Portland Pirates schedule will translate into a few more days of rest for his players.

This year's schedule includes 36 games at the Cumberland County Civic Center. Eight will be on Tuesdays and Thursdays, a break from the usual weekend-heavy home dates.

''The Tuesday approach was an opportunity to spread out the schedule a little bit more for the players,'' said Petrovek, the Pirates' CEO.

''We've gotten so heavy on weekends that it puts a strain on the players. We owe it to the NHL affiliate (Buffalo) to give the guys a little more rest.''

The Pirates and the American Hockey League released their schedule Thursday. The Pirates open Oct. 3 at Springfield, then play their first home game Oct. 10 against Providence.

The Pirates will play two games at HSBC Arena in Buffalo, N.Y., home of their parent team, the Sabres. The Pirates are the designated home team in games against Rochester on Nov. 12 and March 7. The Pirates also will play two games in Lewiston -- Dec. 4 against Providence and March 21 against Manchester.

Portland won't play at Alfond Arena in Orono, as it had the past two seasons.

''We experimented and we gave it two years,'' Petrovek said. ''We had better results in the first year (attendance 3,500) than the second (2,797) ... We're not criticizing Orono or the facility, but with the cost responsibility, unless the economics and the ticket sales work, there's no sense taking the players that far north.''

The Pirates also will host the AHL All-Star Classic on Jan. 18-19.

The Pirates play 58 of their 80 games against teams in the Atlantic Division -- Lowell and Manchester, 10 each; Bridgeport, Providence, Springfield and Worcester, eight each; and Hartford six.

The Pirates will play East Division teams twice, except for Albany and Norfolk (four each).

The Pirates' lone venture to the Western Conference is four games against Rochester.

The regular season ends April 11.

NOTES: Petrovek said he anticipates Mark Jeanneret, the team's new play-by-play announcer and director of communications, to join the organization by the end of the month. ... Season tickets are on sale now. Individual game tickets will be on sale in late September.

Staff Writer Rachel Lenzi can be reached at 791-6415 or at:

rlenzi@pressherald.com

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