December 18, 2011

Pirates produce shootout victory

Brett MacLean scores two more goals and Portland hands St. John's a rare road loss, 4-3.

By Paul Betit
Staff Writer

PORTLAND - The Portland Pirates took on the toughest road team in the American Hockey League on Saturday night and won in a shootout.

Patrick O'Sullivan, Andy Miele and Brock Trotter scored in the shootout to lift the Pirates to a 4-3 win against the St. John's IceCaps at the Cumberland County Civic Center.

The teams play again at 4 p.m. today at the Civic Center.

The Pirates killed off eight minutes of penalties in the final 15 minutes of regulation to send the game into overtime.

"We had good resiliency to our game tonight," Portland Coach Ray Edwards said. "We stayed positive. We didn't give up. There were times when it got frustrating but we handled it the right way."

"It just shows the guys that we can play with anybody in the league when we play our game and stick to our system," said Brett MacLean, who scored two goals for the third time in his last four games. "We can be better but beating them is real big for us."

The IceCaps, who have earned at least one point in all 12 of their road games, continue to lead the Atlantic Division.

St. John's jumped into the lead 17 seconds into the game when former Portland defenseman Brett Festerling scored his third goal of the season on a shot from the left point.

"They scored real quick, and some nights we fold right after that," said MacLean, who leads the Pirates with 10 goals.

Marc-Antoine Pouliot made it 1-1 later in the first by redirecting defenseman Nathan Oystrick's shot from the left point for his fourth goal.

Less than two minutes into the second period, defenseman Jason DeSantis scored a power-play goal on a shot from center point to give the IceCaps a 2-1 lead.

About two minutes later, St. John's goalie David Aebischer, who has played 210 NHL games with the Colorado Avalanche, Montreal Canadians and Phoenix Coyotes, made a pad save on Matt Watkins' penalty shot.

The Pirates continued to apply pressure, and it paid off near the 12-minute mark when MacLean whirled around and got his stick on a rebound near the bottom of the right circle.

MacLean finished off a two-on-one break during a power play two minutes later, giving Portland its first lead.

But rookie center John Albert tied it with 33 seconds left in the period, with a nifty one-on-one move down the right side of the slot.

"We took a few too many penalties in the third period, but I think we responded a lot better," MacLean said. "We took a lot of penalties against Manchester Wednesday night, and we fell apart."

NOTES: Marc Cheverie, who was called up from the ECHL's Gwinnett Gladiators, served as Portland goalie Curtis McElhinney's backup for the second time this season following Justin Pogge's recall by the Phoenix Coyotes. ... After Pouliot scored the Pirates' first goal, fans tossed more than 1,000 stuffed animals onto the ice for a Toys For Tots collection. ... Portland forward Ashton Rome left late in the second period after taking a puck on the right ankle and didn't return.

Staff Writer Paul Betit can be contacted at 791-6424 or at:

Twitter: PaulBetitPPH


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