Friday, December 6, 2013
By MIKE SCANDURA Special to The Press Herald
WORCESTER, Mass. -- Officially, Andy Miele's goal at 5:53 of the third period proved to be the difference because it broke a 2-2 tie and gave the Portland Pirates a 3-2 victory Sunday over the Worcester Sharks
WEDNESDAY: Springfield Falcons at Pirates, 7 p.m.
SATURDAY: Pirates at Manchester Monarchs, 7 p.m.
Unofficially, the goal that really jumped off the proverbial stat sheet was the one scored by Brendan Shinnimin early in the first.
Matt Tennyson wasted little time in giving the Sharks a 1-0 lead when he scored on the power play goal just 1:23 into the first period.
But Portland needed a mere 13 seconds to tie it when Shinnimin one-timed from the slot a pass from Jordan Szwarz.
"We can handle giving up a goal," Portland Coach Ray Edwards said. "We can manage that. But to come right back, it really gives you the momentum back.
"For Brendan to come back and score a nice goal in that slot area gives the bench a good feeling and you're feeling better about yourself."
Shinnimin, for his part, realized that falling behind so early after the opening faceoff was far from the ideal way to start a game.
"They scored that power-play goal and we needed to respond as quickly as possible," Shinnimin said. "We got some offensive zone time down there right after (Tennyson's goal). Jordan Szwarz made a great to pass to me in the slot and I got it away pretty quickly.
"Obviously, it was a huge goal. It put momentum back in our favor."
In retrospect, momentum has been in the Pirates' favor for a couple of weeks.
Not only did they exit The DCU Center with a season-high five-game winning streak but over their last 11 games, they've earned 16 of a possible 22 points.
"This group understands the way we want them to play to be successful," Edwards said. "There's a total commitment to defending. We're getting good efforts from most players on every night. When you have everybody pulling on the same rope, you find a way to win games.
"From our goaltender out, we're getting good efforts. There's a buy-in to the type of hockey we have to play to be successful."
The Sharks retook the lead at 11:47 of the first period when James Sheppard deflected a centering pass by Chad Johnson (22 saves). But the Pirates tied it at 2:11 of the second on the power play when Brandon Gormley deflected in a cross-ice pass from Alexandre Bolduc.
Miele's goal came after he stuffed a rebound past Harri Saleri (29 saves), who had blocked two shots.
"As of late, we've been playing pretty good hockey," Shinnimin said. "Throughout the year we've been down by goals a lot but we've come back in the third to win. That's something that, being a young team, we find that extra push by having fresh, young legs out there to get the job done.
"It was a great weekend in all to get six points."