Monday, March 10, 2014
By Paul Betit email@example.com
PORTLAND - The lowly Springfield Falcons caught the Portland Pirates on a bad night.
Pirates goalie Justin Pogge makes a save on a shot by Springfield’s Dane Byers during Portland’s 3-2 loss Friday night at the Cumberland County Civic Center.
Photos by John Patriquin/Staff Photographer
Martin St. Pierre of the Springfield Falcons celebrates the first goal of the game by Cam Atkinson. The last-place Falcons beat the Pirates 3-2 despite getting outshot 31-19.
WHO: St. John’s IceCaps (26-11-5-1, first in AHL’s Atlantic Division) at Portland Pirates (21-17-2-3, fourth in Atlantic Division)
WHEN: 7 p.m.
WHERE: Cumberland County Civic Center
RADIO: WPPI–95.5 FM, WPEI–95.9 FM
TELEVISION: Time Warner Channel 9 or 21
ICECAPS NOTES: The IceCaps, who have the AHL’s best winning percentage on the road, have won four of five games on their current six-game road trip. In five games against Portland, veteran center Jason King, a former Pirate, has scored four goals. Defenseman Paul Postma has seven assists in five games against the Pirates.
PIRATES NOTES: Springfield eked out a 3-2 win Friday night to end the Pirates’ four-game winning steak. Last Saturday night, Portland skated to a convincing 5-2 win against the IceCaps at the Civic Center. Center Brock Trotter, who played two games against the IceCaps for the Hamilton Bulldogs before being traded to the Pirates, has six assists in seven games against St. John’s. Veteran forwards Patrick O’Sullivan and Marc-Antoine Pouliot each have two goals and four assists against St. John’s.
– Paul Betit
The Falcons, the last-place team in the AHL's Northeast Division, eked out a 3-2 win before a crowd of 4,716 at the Cumberland County Civic Center against a team that has been battling the flu all week.
"We have had a bunch of guys with the flu," Portland Coach Ray Edwards said. "It's running through. We've probably have had eight guys (sick) this week. It's that bad stomach virus."
The victory came exactly one week after the Pirates rolled to a 5-3 home win against Springfield, and it ended Portland's four-game winning streak.
"Once a year, this usually happens to a team, where you get this flu that goes through, and we just happen to be going through it now," Edwards said. "We had four guys come down with it this morning."
The flu kept leading scorer Brett MacLean, forward Ryan Duncan and defenseman David Rundblad out of the lineup.
The Pirates, who still had enough firepower to hold a 27-10 edge in shots over the last two periods, got off to a slow start.
"The first period was bad," Edwards said. "We were flat. Once we got going, we were fine. We spotted them the lead, but we gave them some life."
Springfield rookie Cam Atkinson, a former Boston College player, opened the scoring less than 10 minutes into the game when he deflected defenseman Brent Regner's blast from center point. The puck trickled in off goalie Justin Pogge's pads for Atkinson's team-high 24th goal of the season.
Cal O'Reilly, in his fourth game with Portland since being sent down by the parent Phoenix Coyotes, scored his first goal for the Pirates in the second period. O'Reilly got his stick on a rebound and tied the game with a shot from the left circle. Patrick O'Sullivan, another recent addition to the Pirates, set up the goal by taking the puck away from defenseman Dalton Prout. Rookie goalie Paul Dainton ranged far out of the net to poke the puck away from O'Sullivan, but he couldn't get back into the crease in time to stop O'Reilly's shot.
Nearly four minutes later, Prout made up for his turnover by scoring his third goal of the season on a power play.
Dainton, a rookie making fifth start for Springfield, was the difference in the third period, when he made 14 of his 31 saves.
The Pirates tied the score with about 13 minutes remaining when defenseman Michael Stone put in a rebound from the slot for his sixth goal.
But Springfield defenseman David Savard was credited with the winning goal with 7:40 left after Portland defenseman Chris Sommers deflected the puck past Pogge while trying to block Savard's shot from just inside the blue line.
"You can break the game down anyway you want," Edwards said. "The reality is we had enough chances to get some points tonight. We didn't bear down and we made a couple of mistakes."
NOTES: A nose injury kept right wing Ashton Rome out of the Portland lineup.
Staff Writer Paul Betit can be contacted at 791-6424 or at:
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Mathieu Brodeur of the Pirates lunges in an effort to prevent a centering pass from Springfield’s Ryan Garlock.