Friday, March 7, 2014
By Paul Betit
Special to the Press Herald
LEWISTON — No lead was safe for the Portland Pirates Friday night as first they lost a 3-0 edge to the Norfolk Admirals and upon regaining the advantage, surrendered the tying goal with just 24 seconds left in regulation prior to falling in the shootout for a 5-4 loss at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee.
SATURDAY: Pirates at Bridgeport Sound Tigers, 7 p.m.
SUNDAY: Pirates at Worcester Sharks, 3 p.m.
Norfolk’s John Kurtz and Jessee Blackett scored in the shootout while goaltender Brad Thiessen stopped four Pirates.
“It was horrible because we lost, but I thought we played a hard game,” Pirates Coach Ray Edwards said. “Five on five, I really liked our game. I liked our work ethic. I like the way we skated. We played with pace and we played hard. We don’t like the score, but you like a lot of things about that game, at least I did.”
But Portland still snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. Up 4-3 when rookie Tobias Rieder poked a rebound past Thiessen with less than three minutes left in regulation, the Pirates again squandered the lead when Max Friberg banked a power-play goal in the waning moments to bring on overtime.
The Admirals stayed in the game by scoring on three of their four power plays.
“We can’t get too upset with our penalty-kill unit,” Edwards said. “They’ve been top five most of the year, but we couldn’t get the job done. Give (Norfolk) credit, they made some nice plays and executed very well, and their power play kept them in the game.”
The Pirates held a 2-0 lead after one period.
Moments into his first shift, Andy Miele swept in a shot from the middle of the right circle for his team-high 15th goal a little more than a minute into the game. It was the 50th career goal for Miele, in his third season with the Pirates.
With less than nine minutes left in the first period, defense man Chris Summers put in a blast from center-point for his second goal of the season. Miele, who leads Portland with 16 helpers, drew an assist.
Ethan Werek made it 3-0 two minutes into the second period with his second goal of the season.
The Admirals’ first goal came less than seven minutes into the period when Devante Smith-Pelly’s wide-angled shot from the bottom of the left circle deflected past goalie Mark Visentin.
With 15.1 seconds left in the period, Friberg scored his 10th goal on Norfolk’s second power play.
Midway in the third period, Norfolk’s Emerson Etem made it 3-3 with another power-play goal.
“They’re good team, so you’re not going to have momentum the whole game.” Edwards said. “They got momentum back, and we fought to try to get it back.”
It was the Pirates’ first loss at home since dropping a 4-3 decision to Manchester in a Dec. 7 shootout.
“We’re playing better here and for us to make a push we’re going to have to win more games here,” Edward said.
The Pirates, who have earned points in their last six home games, play 25 of their final 43 games in Lewiston.