Thursday, April 17, 2014
By MIKE SCANDURA Special to the Press Herald
PROVIDENCE, R.I. - To say Portland's Jordan Szwarz was observant during Friday night's game against the Providence Bruins would be an understatement.
WHO: Connecticut Whale (16-19-3-1, fourth in AHL’s Northeast Division) at Portland Pirates (24-13-1-1, first in AHL’s Atlantic Division)
WHEN: 7 p.m.
WHERE: Cumberland County Civic Center
RADIO: WPEI (95.5 and 95.9 FM); WOXO (92.7 and 100.7 FM)
WHALE NOTES: The Whale, who lost their first three games against the Pirates this season, cruised to a 6-1 win against Portland on Tuesday night at the Cumberland County Civic Center. In that game, Kris Newberry scored two goals. The NHL parent New York Rangers have recalled former Pirate forward Brandon Segal, who has scored a team-high three goals against his old team.
PIRATES NOTES: Dating back to the start of last season, the Pirates have won eight of their last 12 games against the Whale. Portland should get a lift from the return of center Andy Miele, a second-year pro who missed three games while at the NHL parent Phoeix Coyotes’ training camp. The Pirates have won eight of their last nine home games while playing at the Civic Center or the Androscoggin Bank Colisee In Lewiston.
– Paul Betit
Szwarz's goal in the seventh round of a shootout gave the Pirates a 3-2 victory over Providence.
"Before the game we got our scouting reports on the goalie (Niklas Svedberg)," Szwarz said. "But going into the seventh round in the shootout you watch closely and you notice a few things. I noticed one thing he was doing was dropping early.
"When I was heading down there I wanted to get in a good pump fake and see if he would drop. He did and I had a good shot."
Szwarz's shot helped ease the sting of a 6-1 pasting the Pirates suffered at the hands of Connecticut on Tuesday, and it underscored Portland's resiliency. The Pirates twice overcame one-goal deficits.
"We've faced that a lot this year, coming back from one-goal deficits and battling back," Szwarz said. "We've got a hard-working team. We're a team that doesn't quit.
"To bounce back after that 6-1 loss was big for us. This was a divisional game, standings-wise. All in all it was a good road win for us."
Providence's Ryan Spooner scored in the first round of the shootout, and that goal held up until the fifth round when Chris Conner tied it.
After Providence's Carter Camper and Portland's Ethan Werek traded goals in the sixth round, Pirates goalie Chad Johnson (37 saves in regulation and overtime) made a pad save on Chris Hanson.
Rookie Darien Dziurzynski played a major role in enabling Portland to reach overtime, scoring his second and third goals of the season.
Spooner gave Providence a 1-0 lead at 4:26 of the second period on a power play when his wrist shot from the right circle beat Chad Johnson.
Dziurzynski tied it at 7:09 when he stuffed home the rebound of a Brandon Gormley shot.
Providence regained the lead at 9:10 when Bobby Robins flicked in the rebound of a Kevan Miller shot from outside the right post. But Dziurzysnki struck again, this time at 10:29, when he sailed in on a breakaway and beat Svedberg (18 saves) with a high backhander.
"This was a big night for him," Coach Ray Edwards said. "We needed somebody to create because we weren't creating a lot of offense. Both of his goals were timely. The first was a shift after a goal, and the other was shortly after a goal.
"We were able to get some momentum back from those goals and just hang around the game. When you're on the road -- and we lost one of our centers (Evan Brophy) early in the game -- our mind-set was to hang around the game and find a way. That's what we did. Once you get that tying goal, it settles the game down a bit."
Another reason Portland was able to hang around was the play of Johnson.
"He was solid," Edwards said. "In the shootout he gave us a chance to win."
NOTES: Forwards Rob Klinkhammer and Nick Johnson, and defensemen Michael Stone and Boris Vilabek are expected to join the Pirates on Saturday. Klinkhammer and Stone will return after spending time this week at the Phoenix Coyotes' training camp. Johnson, who had eight goals and 18 assists in 77 games with the NHL's Minnesota Wild last season, will join the Pirates after collecting one assist in five games with the ECHL's Idaho Steelheads this season. Vilabek, who was signed last week, will report after traveling from the Czech Republic.