December 31, 2011

Phantoms slip past Pirates in shootout

A key save by Justin Pogge forces overtime and gives Portland a point, but Adirondack finishes with the win.

By BILL TOSCANO Special to the Press Herald

GLENS FALLS, N.Y. - It was pretty clear Friday wasn't going to be Portland's night.

TODAY'S GAME

WHO: Pirates vs. Worcester Sharks

WHEN: 5:30 p.m.

WHERE: Cumberland County Civic Center

RADIO: WPPI-FM (95.5), WPEI-FM (95.9)

SHARKS NOTES: In their last 10 road games, the Sharks, who rallied to pull out a 3-2 overtime win last Monday, have earned 15 of a possible 20 points. Going into Friday night's game against the Connecticut Whale, veteran defenseman Sean Sullivan had a four-game point streak. In three games against the Pirates, forward Nathan Moon had scored two goals, while forwards John McCarthy and Curt Gogal each have a goal and an assist.

PIRATES NOTES: In their last 10 home games, the Pirates, who are 2-0-1-0 against the Sharks this season, have earned 15 out of a possible 20 points. Going into Friday night's game against the Adirondack Phantoms, forward Brett MacLean had scored 10 goals in his previous 10 games, and center Brock Trotter had posted a point in seven of the last eight games. In three games against the Sharks, defenseman Tyler Eckford has two goals.

-- Paul Betit

The Pirates lost winger Spencer Bennett to an upper body injury in practice Thursday, and Andy Miele's return flight from a stint in Phoenix did not arrive in time for him to play.

Add to that an inability to convert on the power play and two players hitting the post during the shootout, and Portland's 3-2 loss to Adirondack in front of 3,210 at the Glens Falls Civic Center was no shocker.

Still, Coach Ray Edwards was not down after the game

"We gave ourselves some chances. We were very, very determined," Edwards said. "I thought we showed some real resilience."

In the 12th round of the shootout, Tyler Brown skated in hard on Portland goalie Justin Pogge and shoved the puck in to give the Phantoms a 2-1 edge in the shootout. Denis Hamel had the other shootout goal for Adiorndack, and Brock Trotter was the only Pirate to beat Jason Bacashishua. Ryan Duncan and Tyler Eckford each hit the post.

Portland was 1 for 6 on the power play, with the goal coming on a two-man advantage. Portland did kill three of four penalties.

The last time Portland was in Glens Falls, Ethan Werek won the game for Adirondack on a short-handed goal with less than 20 seconds left. On Friday, the Phantoms nearly did the same.

Ben Holstrom picked up a loose puck on a Portland power play and went in on Pogge with less than 50 seconds left. He was pulled down from behind, but Pogge knocked his shot wide.

"That was crucial for us," Edwards said. "That sent it into overtime and got us the point. If we lose it there, that's really disheartening."

Adirondack's Mike Testwuide got the game's first goal, ramming a rebound past Pogge with 6:51 left in the first period.

Pogge made a series of nice saves in the opening period, several with his glove, a couple with his stick and one with his right pad when Testwuide tried to slip the puck in after swinging behind the net. The period was fairly even as Portland finished with a 12-11 advantage in shots. The Pirates failed to convert on one power play in the period and failed on a second that bridged the first and second periods.

Adirondack converted its first power-play chance when Eric Wellwood skated in on Rogge, faked a shot then slapped it past him at 3:35 of the second period.

Portland needed a 5-on-3 advantage to finally get its first goal. The Pirates worked the puck around effectively, and Ryan Duncan got his sixth goal of the season when he pushed it past Bacashihua with 1:53 left in the second period.

Werek tied it at 2-2 after a scuffle in front of the Adirondack net with 13:23 left. Brock Trotter got the assist.

Portland had several power-play opportunities late in the third period, including more than a minute at 4 on 3, but could not convert.

 

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