February 1, 2013

Pirates collect shootout victory

Mike Lee takes advantage of an infrequent start, leading Portland to a 3-2 win over Worcester.

By Paul Betit pbetit@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

PORTLAND - Rookie goalie Mike Lee turned in his third strong performance of the season Friday night to lead the Portland Pirates to a 3-2 shootout win against the Worcester Sharks.

SATURDAY'S GAME

WHO:  Albany Devils (17-15-1-8, third in AHL’s Northeast Division) at Portland Pirates (25-16-1-1, first in AHL’s Atlantic Division)

WHEN: 7 p.m.

WHERE: Cumberland County Civic Center

RADIO: WPEI (95.5 and 95.9 FM); WOXO (92.7 and 100.7 FM)

TELEVISION: Time Warner Cable Channel 9

DEVILS NOTES: The Devils have appeared in an AHL-high nine overtime games and have lost every one of them. In his last four games, left wing Joe Whitney has three goals and an assist. Center Steve Zelewski had a four-game points streak snapped during a 5-1 loss at Providence on Friday night.

PIRATES NOTES: Over the past five seasons the Pirates are 13-8-1 against Albany. Portland is 2-3 in its last five games. The Pirates will
play their second consecutive game without forward Andy Meile, the team’s second-leading scorer before his call-up to the parent Coyotes. Rookie forward Darian Dzuirzynski has points in four of his last six games.

– Paul Betit

Lee, who has spent most of the season in the ECHL playing for the Gwinnett Gladiators in Georgia, made 36 saves in regulation and overtime and didn't allow a goal during the shootout as the Pirates eked out a win before 4,280 at the Cumberland County Civic Center.

"He (was) just solid back there," Portland Pirates Coach Ray Edwards said. "He gave us a chance to win. We just hung around the game and found a way to get two points."

Nearly half of Lee's 31 saves during regulation came while the Pirates successfully killed off 8 of 9 Worcester power plays, and he made it look pretty easy.

"Part of my game is not making things look spectacular, " said Lee. "Make it boring. Get in front of pucks. Cover up loose pucks. All the little things, just keep goals off the board."

Lee got the start because Chad Johnson traveled from Arizona on Friday after two sensational performances for the Phoenix Coyotes and was not ready to play.

"(Lee) played a great game the other night before the (all-star) break, and he's been an all-star in the (ECHL)," Edwards said. "We got an opportunity with (Johnson) being up to play him again."

Rookie Chris Brown was the only player from either team to score during the five-round shootout. He put a shot between the pads of Worcester goalie Harri Saleri, snapping an 0-for-15 streak for Saleri's shootout opponents.

The Pirates held a 1-0 lead at the end of the first period.

Less than five minutes into the game, Rob Klinkhammer converted Phil Lane's feed from the left circle into his 12th goal of the season, finishing a three-on-three rush.

Ethan Werek made it 2-0 less than nine minutes into the second period when he popped his eighth goal of the season into the left side of the net. The goal came 42 seconds into Portland's fifth power-play opportunity, after Klinkhammer threaded a pass from the bottom of the right circle.

Tim Kennedy, a former Pirate who leads Worcester in scoring, put the Sharks on the board with less than five minutes left in the period. He finished off a four-shot barrage with his 13th goal during Worcester's seventh power play of the game.

Danill Tarasov tied the score with less than four minutes remaining in regulation, slipping a rebound under Lee's pads moments after the Sharks' ninth power play ended. 

NOTES: Portland rookie defenseman Brandon Gormley never returned after being helped off the ice following an injury to his left leg with 6:10 left in the first period. Andy Miele, who has 11 goals and 16 assists in 40 games for the Pirates, was called up to the Coyotes, who now have 15 forwards on their active roster. Veteran defenseman Bryce Lampman, who has appeared in seven games for the Pirates, was a healthy scratch. Defenseman Maxim Goncharov and center Evan Brophey remain out with injuries. 

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

pbetit@pressherald.com

Twitter: PaulBetitPPH

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