March 26, 2012

Bad fortunes continue for Pirates in loss

Portland loses a third-period lead and then is beaten by Providence in a shootout.

By MIKE SCANDURA Special to the Press Herald

PROVIDENCE, R.I. - Furious.

UP NEXT

WHO: Pirates vs. Manchester Monarchs

WHEN: 6:30 p.m. Wednesday

WHERE: Cumberland County Civic Center

OF NOTE: The Pirates are three points out of a playoff spot

Livid.

Outraged.

Take your pick but each describes Portland Coach Ray Edwards' mood after the Providence Bruins edged the Pirates 2-1 in a shootout Sunday at the Dunkin' Donuts Center.

Portland led 1-0 early in the third period before Providence tied it on Nicolas Tremblay's goal.

Then, after a scoreless overtime, Providence outscored Portland 4-2 in the shootout for its fourth consecutive victory.

"We didn't get the two points," Edwards said quite succinctly. "We weren't good enough. It's that simple.

"I'm not very happy right now and don't have very many positive words. It's frustrating."

The Pirates are three points out of the Eastern Conference's final playoff spot with nine games remaining.

Portland's play this weekend was a microcosm of its inconsistent season.

After winning 4-1 Friday at Connecticut, the Pirates were blanked 5-0 Saturday at Manchester.

"We came out Friday against a top Connecticut team and really outplayed them," Ethan Werek said. "We played a full 60 there. But yesterday and today, we didn't play to our game plan.

"Going into this week, we have a short week. We're back at it Wednesday (at home vs. Manchester). We have to start climbing back up again because we're on the outside looking in.

"We've kind of been splitting weekends. Going into the last (9) games, we really have to play to our game plan. We're better than that. Tonight, we showed streaks of that. But at this point of the year, teams are going to capitalize on any mistakes. But, again, we have to play our game for a full game."

Portland played well enough to carry a 1-0 lead into the second intermission, thanks to Nathan Oystrick's goal at 5:37 of the second period.

Andy Miele fed Oystrick, whose wrist shot beat a screened Michael Hutchinson (29 saves).

At the other end, Justin Pogge (24 saves) played well enough to shut down a team that had scored 13 goals in its previous three games.

"I thought we played well in front of him," Edwards said. "He didn't have to make a lot of saves. But we weren't good enough to get two points. That's been the story of our season we've been a step behind."

Providence tied the game when Tremblay beat Pogge from the top of the right circle at 13:18, which capped a three-on-two rush.

"We had a 1-0 lead and we turned the puck over and it's 1-1," Edwards said. "We're in control of the game and we lose the game. It's that simple."

Providence bolted to a 3-1 lead in the shootout on goals by Craig Cunningham, Tremblay and Jamie Arniel.

Brett Sterling's backhander pulled Portland within 3-2. But Josh Hennessey scored for a 4-2 lead in the fourth round and Hutchinson clinched the victory by making a pad save on Mathieu Beaudoin.

 

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