November 26, 2011

A win for Pirates, that's the bottom line

Portland is outplayed by Worcester but scores in overtime for a 4-3 victory at home.

By Paul Betit
Staff Writer

click image to enlarge

Igor Gongalsky of the Portland Pirates, left, attempts to take the puck from Matt Pelech of the Worcester Sharks. The Pirates won in OT.

Photos by Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer

click image to enlarge

Portland goalie Curtis McElhinney keeps his eye on the puck Friday night as it bounces in front of the net and Tommy Wingels of the Worcester Sharks tries to put it in. Chris Summers, left, and Dean Arsene help on defense.

Additional Photos Below


The Pirates' next seven games are on the road, starting today at Worcester (7 p.m.)

The Pirates' next home game is Dec. 14 (6:30 p.m.)

PORTLAND - Defenseman Tyler Eckford scored his second goal of the game 3:19 into overtime Friday night as the Portland Pirates beat the Worcester Sharks 4-3 at the Cumberland County Civic Center.

It was a game the Pirates could have lost. The Sharks outplayed them for much of the way.

"We can't continue to play like this and continue to get points," Portland Coach Ray Edwards said. "We had a goaltender who stood on his head and we found a way to get some points. Getting points early in the year is important but we've got a lot of things to clean up."

Curtis McElhinney stopped a season-high 44 shots in regulation. The Sharks didn't put a shot on goal in overtime.

"We got lucky," said Eckford, who won it with a shot from the right circle on a power play. "Our third periods have got to get better. We build a lead and we just kind of back off and kind of play cautious."

It was the fifth consecutive home win for Portland, which earned points for the sixth consecutive game to take sole possession of third place in the Atlantic Division.

The Sharks held a 29-15 edge in shots after two periods, but the Pirates (9-7-1-1) took a 3-1 lead when Andy Miele scored twice in the last six minutes.

Miele, who had a six-game points streak end Wednesday night, snapped a 1-1 tie 14 minutes into the period when his shot from point-blank range hit the shaft of goalie Harri Saleri's stick and bounced over him.

With less than three minutes left in the period, Miele got his stick on the puck and slid it past Saleri for his team-high seventh goal on Portland's first power play of the game.

Worcester closed within a goal when Curt Gogol finished off a rush by scoring his third goal on a shot from the right circle with more than 11 minutes left. With less than nine minutes left, Tommy Wingels tied it when he scored his third goal of the season with a shot from the bottom of the right circle.

"We can't sit back when we have the lead," Miele said. "We've got to keep going and keep doing what we've been doing all game."

"We have a good team," Eckford said. "We just need to play a full 60 minutes."

The score was 1-1 at the end of the first period, when the Sharks held a 15-6 edge in shots.

The Pirates opened the scoring 5:08 into the game when Eckford scored from the right point.

Exactly one minute later, Benn Ferriero redirected John McCarthy's shot from the left circle into the net while standing in front of the crease for his sixth goal.

The goal came less than a minute into the first of Worcester's three power plays in the first period.

NOTES: Justin Pogge, who missed the previous four games because of a lower-body injury, served as McElhinney's backup. A broken right foot kept former UMaine center Ben Guite out of the Worcester lineup for the eighth consecutive game.

Staff Writer Paul Betit can be contacted at 791-6424 or at:

Twitter: PaulBetitPPH


Were you interviewed for this story? If so, please fill out our accuracy form

Send question/comment to the editors

Additional Photos

click image to enlarge

Ivan Bloodoff of the Portland Pirates attempts to gain control of the puck while checking Taylor Doherty of the Worcester Sharks along the boards.


Further Discussion

Here at we value our readers and are committed to growing our community by encouraging you to add to the discussion. To ensure conscientious dialogue we have implemented a strict no-bullying policy. To participate, you must follow our Terms of Use.

Questions about the article? Add them below and we’ll try to answer them or do a follow-up post as soon as we can. Technical problems? Email them to us with an exact description of the problem. Make sure to include:
  • Type of computer or mobile device your are using
  • Exact operating system and browser you are viewing the site on (TIP: You can easily determine your operating system here.)



Clearing the Bases - TODAY
Pitching, pitching, pitching

More PPH Blogs

Winter sports 2013-2014

High School Football 2013

Fall sports photos