January 14, 2012

Pirates end skid with comeback victory

Portland erases a three-goal deficit in the third period and beats Springfield in a shootout, 5-4.

By FRAN SYPEK Special to the Press Herald

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. - The start could not have been much worse for the Portland Pirates, but the finish was fantastic Friday night in a 5-4 shootout victory over the Springfield Falcons before 3,396 at the MassMutual Center.

TODAY'S GAME

WHO: Pirates vs. Springfield Falcons

WHEN: 7 p.m.

WHERE: Cumberland County Civic Center

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

PIRATES NOTES: The Pirates carried a three-game losing streak into Friday night’s game against the Falcons at the MassMutual Center. Portland, a dismal 1 for 17 on the power play in those three games, had gone 138 minutes, 23 seconds, without scoring. In their first two games this season against Springfield, the Pirates scored a total of two goals. Veteran left wing Patrick O’Sullivan, assigned to the Pirates by the parent Phoenix Coyotes earlier this week, could provide a lift. Last month, he had two goals and five assists during a six-game stint with the Pirates.

FALCONS NOTES: The Falcons rode a three-game winning streak into Friday night’s game. Left wing Matt Calvert scored a goal in each of those game, and left wing Alexandre Giroux had at least one point in each game. Right wing Cam Atkinson had two goals in his last two games. The Falcons skated to a 4-1 win against Portland on Nov. 11 and a 2-1 win on Dec. 4. Six players scored goals for Springfield in those two games.

– Paul Betit

The Pirates overcame a 4-1 deficit and forced overtime thanks to a potent power play in the third period. Brock Trotter and Ryan Duncan decided the game with shootout goals to offset one by Cam Atkinson as the Pirates ended their three-game losing streak.

"This was a tale of two games and it was nice to get the two points," Pirates Coach Ray Edwards said. "Everything is so tight this time of the year and getting the extra point was so important."

The Pirates dodged a bullet in overtime when an apparent goal by Atkinson was waved off by because Springfield defenseman Nick Holden went down with an injury.

The Pirates were held without a shot for a span of 12 minutes, 37 seconds, allowed two short-handed goals on the same power play and fell behind by three goals in the first period.

"They came at us pretty hard and we just didn't have an answer," Edwards said. "But our power play got us going in the third period."

The teams meet again tonight at 7 p.m. at the Cumberland County Civic Center. Springfield also visits Portland on Jan. 20 and 27.

The Pirates dominated the final 30 minutes and had the upper hand for the whole third period.

Duncan scored an unassisted power-play goal 2:40 into the third to make it 4-2.

Trotter then scored a power-play goal at 9:04. He picked up a loose puck in the slot and beat goalie Mark Dekanich to make it a one-goal game.

Defenseman Michael Stone tied it just 1:40 later.

Jordan Szwarz gave the Pirates some life when he scored on a penalty shot midway through the second period.

The Pirates were far too soft defensively in the first period, and the deficit could have been more damaging had the Falcons not hit the post and missed an open net.

Portland started to play better in the second period. But Dekanich came up with several big saves during a power play to leave the Pirates frustrated.

Szwarz converted his penalty shot at 9:27 to slice Springfield's lead to 3-1. Springfield's Maksim Mayorov then extended his scoring streak to six games when he connected just after a power-play expired at 11:45.

With Alexandre Giroux in the penalty box for tripping in the first period, the Falcons struck for a pair of short-handed goals in a 28-second span, by Ryan Garlock and Atkinson.

NOTES: The Phoenix Coyotes assigned Swedish defenseman David Rundblad to the Pirates. Rundblad, 21, had two assists in two games with the Coyotes since his acquisition from Ottawa on Dec. 17. ... The Bridgeport Sound Tigers signed former Bowdoin defenseman Jon Landry to a professional tryout contract. Landry had 12 goals and 18 assists in 35 games with the ECHL's Colorado Eagles.

 

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