February 25, 2010

Pirates still looking for their first win

MIKE MACADAM

— By

Special to the Press Herald

ALBANY — The Portland Pirates spent much of the first period killing penalties Friday night against the Albany River Rats, and by the time they had some man-advantage chances, the game was pretty much out of reach.

The River Rats were 3 for 6 on the power play and beat Portland 5-2 at the Times Union Center, dropping the Pirates to 0-2 heading into their home opener at 7 tonight against Providence.

Zach Boychuk had a goal and two assists for the River Rats.

After going 0 for 7 on the power play in their season-opening loss at Springfield, the Pirates failed to score on five chances against the River Rats.

''We're zero percent on the power play and our penalty kill's not very good, so special teams (are) a big issue with our team right now,'' Portland Coach Kevin Dineen said. ''We have to be sharp on one side and more disciplined on the other.''

The score was tied 1-1 after the first period, even though Albany outshot the Pirates 16-5.

Brandon Sutter was credited with the first goal at 4:10, with a slight deflection of Brett Carson's slap shot from the point during Albany's first power play.

Portland tied it at 9:02 when Cody McCormick took a pass from Nathan Gerbe and floated a shot past the blocker of goalie Justin Peters.

The Pirates generated more chances in the second period but fell behind 3-1 on goals by Drayson Bowman and Jerome Samson.

Bowman banged one home from the right post during a power play at 5:49, and Samson stuffed in a rebound after Jhonas Enroth had gone to the ice to make a difficult save on a Boychuk breakaway at 13:31.

Portland had a power play bridging the second intermission and another 1:35 into the third but didn't get any good scoring chances.

''It's funny how the game works,'' Dineen said. ''You're down 3-1 after two, and you're starting that third period with another power play and you'd like to see a pop out of that. But it's not only the lack of production on the scoresheet, our execution's not very good right now. That makes it hard for our guys coming out of those plays.''

Boychuk and Chris Terry scored in the third period for Albany before a late goal by Gerbe.

''We were 0 for 7 last game (on the power play) and I don't know what we were this game, but it was pretty lop-sided,'' Dineen said. ''I was using a lot of power-play guys on the penalty kill. That's just the nature of the thing.

''I'm having a tough time finding anybody that we would have anything good to say about tonight. Tonight was a real eye-opener for a lot of us, that we have a lot of work to do all over the ice.''

NOTES: Tickets for the AHL All-Star, which will be held Jan. 19, at the Cumberland County Civic Center, are now available at the Civic Center box office.

Tickets are $49 and $42 and include entry to the skills competition on Jan. 18.

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