January 12, 2011

Portland Pirates lose their purpose

Binghamton's best player figures in four goals as the Senators have their way in a 5-2 win over Portland.

By Paul Betit pbetit@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

PORTLAND — The Ottawa Senators called high-scoring center Corey Locke and goalie Robin Lehner to the National Hockey League on Tuesday night.

20110111_Pirates
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Portland’s Brian Roloff, left, beats Binghamton goalie Robin Lehner for a goal as Senators Eric Condra, center, and defenseman David Hale look on Tuesday night. The Senators won 5-2, snapping Portland’s win streak at three games.

Photos by Gordon Chibroski/Staff Photographer

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Binghamton’s Craig Schira, center, has the puck knocked away by Portland’s Dennis McCauley, right, as Matt Ellis trails Tuesday night.

COMING UP
FRIDAY:
Connecticut Whale at Pirates, 7 p.m.
SATURDAY: Worcester Sharks at Pirates, 7 p.m.

Unfortunately for the Portland Pirates, the call-ups came after both played for the Binghamton Senators.

Locke scored two goals and had two assists, and Lehner made 25 saves to help the Senators cruise to a 5-2 win over the Pirates before 4,140 at the Cumberland County Civic Center.

"Our compete level wasn't very high," Portland Coach Kevin Dineen said. "I think it was a very enjoyable game for (Binghamton), but it was a hard game for our guys. You know, we let the pace of play just kind of go on, and when we do that, we have a 50-50 chance of winning or losing."

In snapping the Pirates' three-game win streak, the Senators, playing their fourth game in five nights, extended their win streak to four games.

"I think we've played some pretty good hockey lately," Dineen said. "(There) has been a tendency in our game where we can play three good games in a row, then all of a sudden we start feeling pretty good about ourselves. The guys who have been pretty good for us the last couple of games kind of felt they can play a more offensive-skill role. We lost our identity tonight."

Portland remained five points behind the first-place Manchester Monarchs in the AHL's Atlantic Division. The Pirates, tied with the Connecticut Whale for second place in the division, still hold three games in hand on the Monarchs.

The score was tied 2-2 at the end of the first period.

The Senators held a 2-0 lead less than 12 minutes into the game on goals by Mike Hoffman and Ryan Keller.

With less than four minutes left, Mark Mancari swept a rebound into the right side for his team-high 17th goal to make it 2-1. With 29 seconds left, rookie Brian Roloff tipped in Maxime Legault's centering pass from the right circle for his first professional goal to tie the score.

Binghamton regained the lead 19 seconds into the second period when Locke scored his 14th goal on a shot from the left circle when goalie Jhonas Enroth was late getting back into position. He had gone behind the net to get control of a dump-in pass.

With less than six minutes left in the third period, defenseman Andre Benoit turned a feed from Locke into his fifth goal during the Senators' third power play of the game to make it 4-2.

Locke, who leads the AHL with 40 assists, completed the scoring with an empty-net goal during the final minute.

"The game didn't have any personality to it," Dineen said. "We just made it easy for their best player. It was an easy building for him tonight."

 

NOTES: Portland forward Luke Adam, currently with Buffalo, and defenseman Drew Schiestel were named to the Eastern squad for the 2011 AHL All-Star Classic, which will be held Jan. 30-31 in Hershey, Pa.

 

Staff Writer Paul Betit can be contacted at 791-6424 or at: pbetit@pressherald.com

 

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