Monday, December 9, 2013
By Paul Betit firstname.lastname@example.org
Portland Pirates rookie defenseman Brandon Gormley has not-so-fond memories from the games he's played at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee in Lewiston,
WHO: Worcester Sharks (0-1-1, third in AHL’s East Division) at Portland Pirates (0-1, fourth in AHL’s Atlantic Division
WHEN: 7 p.m.
WHERE: Androscoggin Bank Colisee, Lewiston
RADIO: WPEI, 95.5 & 95.9 FM
SHARKS NOTES: LW Tim Kennedy, a former member of the Pirates who spent the 2009-10 season in the NHL with the Buffalo Sabres, is back for his second season with the Sharks. A veteran of three full NHL seasons with the Minnesota Wild, C James Sheppard is making a comeback after missing last season because of a back injury. LW Jimmy Bonneau spent part of the 2008-09 season with the Pirates, racking up 122 penalty minutes in 46 games.
PIRATES NOTES: Defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson, who spent the last 11⁄2 seasons with the parent Phoenix Coyotes, will make his Maine debut. Ekman-Larsson, who scored a goal during the Pirates’ season-opening 6-3 loss to the Adirondack Phantoms last Saturday night in Glens Falls, N.Y, is one of the eight Pirates who spent time in the NHL last season. RW Chris Conner, in his first season with the Pirates, has played a total of 147 games over six seasons with the Dallas Stars, Pittsburgh Penguins and Detroit Red Wings.
– Paul Betit
"The fans who were there were very passionate," said Gormley, who played several games against the former Lewiston Maineiacs while with the Moncton Wildcats in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.
"It got heated a few times," Gormley recalled. "I remember getting in a couple of arguments. You try to stay out of that stuff but you know, they're sitting there right in your ear and the game is not going well, and sometimes it's late in the game and it's hard to hold off."
Most of the fans at the Colisee should be cheering Friday night for the Pirates when they meet the Worcester Sharks in the first of the six American Hockey League games scheduled there this season.
Because of ongoing renovations at the Cumberland County Civic Center, the Pirates won't make their first appearance in Portland until Nov. 2.
Gormley isn't the only Portland player who has been on a visiting junior team at the Colisee.
"On the visitors' bench, the glass was right next to us and the fans were just chirping at us every time we came off the ice," said defenseman Mathieu Brodeur, who played three seasons for the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles.
"I know when Lewiston scored a goal, they would turn off the lights. It was pitch dark and you felt ashamed, and when you went back to the bench the fans would be chirping at you. But it was fun, though."
Veteran center Alexandre Bolduc made several trips to Lewiston during his four seasons with the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies.
"I was trying to go in there and silence the crowd a little bit, which is what you have to do as the opposing team," he said. "But now we'll have (the fans) on our side and I'm looking forward to getting back there."
As of 4 p.m. Thursday, fewer than 200 tickets were available for Friday night's game, according to Jim Mercier, the box office manager.
The arena seats about 3,670 people, nearly 3,000 fewer than the Civic Center for a hockey game.
Last Saturday night, the Pirates, in their second season as the AHL affiliate of the Phoenix Coyotes, opened in Glens Falls, N.Y., with a 6-3 loss to the Adirondack Phantoms.
"For the most part we've been working on the same foundation stuff, your (defensive) zone coverage, your forecheck, your entry, your tracking, just some of your offensive zone plan," Pirates Coach Ray Edwards said.
"There's always layers to what you do, so we've been able to add a couple of layers to some parts of the foundation. It wouldn't have mattered, win or lose that (first) game, we were going to come back and focus on all of those things."
But there were a couple of areas that required some corrective action during this week's practices.
"Watching that game, a couple of things stand out to us," Edwards said. "First of all, our emotional discipline. We've got to be in control better, and the other part was our puck protection has got to be better."
Because of the NHL lockout, all AHL teams are trying to catch up in their training regimen.
"We're still introducing stuff," Edwards said. "It's a little different this year because normally you have rookie camp, you have two weeks of main camp (in Phoenix) and you've got two weeks of training camp.
"We're still just in our third week here. There's still a lot to learn."
Staff Writer Paul Betit can be contacted at 791-6424 or at: