Wednesday, March 12, 2014
By FRAN SYPEK Special to the Press Herald
SPRINGFIELD — The Portland Pirates dropped their second straight game Friday night, allowing three third-period goals in a 4-1 loss to the Springfield Falcons before 3,505 at the MassMutual Center.
The Falcons broke it open with two goals in 41 seconds early in the third period, snapping a 1-1 tie. Martin St. Pierre and Ryan Russell scored.
St. Pierre snapped a tie at 4:07 when he took a pass from David Savard and beat Curtis McElhinney from the high slot. Russell converted a feed from Wade McLeod at 5:34.
The Pirates showed why they are one of the league's best penalty-killing teams, holding the Falcons without a goal in five power-play opportunities.
"Our penalty killers worked their tails off," Coach Ray Edwards said. "But in the third period they sensed the momentum swing and they pounced on it."
McEhinney turned in two solid periods in goal until the Falcons got to him early in the third.
Now the Pirates will be hoping to build off the things they did well when they return home, where they have a 1-4 record.
They were pressing hard to find their offense before allowing an unassisted, short-handed goal to Andrew Joudrey that gave the Falcons a 4-1 lead.
The Pirates allowed only 16 shots in the first two periods. They yielded 14 in the third.
"We had too many passengers," Portland Coach Ray Edwards said. "After the first period we could have competed a lot harder."
One thing Edwards wants his team to realize is hockey is a 60-minute game.
"They got that goal (by St. Pierre) and we just sort of deflated," Edwards said. "They've got to realize that there's still plenty of time left."
Edwards and his team will chalk this one up to experience and hope for better days ahead.
"We've got to get more from more players and we've got to get better at home," Edwards said.
The Pirates spent a good portion of the second period killing penalties and only managed three shots on goal.
Ryan Duncan of the Pirates had a wide-open net during a power play but sailed a shot wide of the goal.
Adam Mair came from behind the net and tried to sneak a shot past McElhinney late in the second period but was denied.
The Pirates pulled even with a power-play goal late in the first period. Michael Stone scored his first goal of the season on a tip-in at 16:58.
Andy Miele sent a cross-ice pass to Nathan Oystrick stationed in the right faceoff circle. Oystrick took a shot from a sharp angle that Stone redirected past Springfield goalie Danny Taylor to tie the game at 1.
"That was a nice play by (Miele) finding (Stone) on the back side," Edwards said.
The Falcons opened the scoring early in the game when Cam Atkinson scored from the slot. The rookie from Boston College, who was a finalist for the Hobey Baker Award won by Miele last season, flipped a shot past McElhinney at 4:06.