December 19, 2011

Pirates tripped up by IceCaps, 5-2

By Paul Betit pbetit@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

PORTLAND - The St. John's IceCaps remained the American Hockey League's kings of the road Sunday afternoon.

click image to enlarge

Arturs Kulda of the St. John’s IceCaps tries to shield the puck from Portland’s Brett Hextall during Sunday’s game at the Cumberland County Civic Center.

Photos by Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer

click image to enlarge

Pirates goalie Curtis McElhinney and forward Ryan Duncan watch the puck pass in front of the net during Portland’s 5-2 loss Sunday to the St. John’s IceCaps.

NEXT GAME

WHO: Pirates vs. Worcester IceCats

WHEN: 6:30 p.m. Dec. 26

WHERE: Cumberland County Civic Center

The IceCaps ran away with a 5-2 win against the Portland Pirates at the Cumberland County Civic Center, maintaining their status as the only AHL team not to lose a road game in regulation this season.

St. John's 10th road win came less than 24 hours after the Pirates eked out a 4-3 shootout victory.

An affiliate of the Winnipeg Jets, the IceCaps go into their 10-day Christmas break with a 17-7-4-1 record -- good enough for first place in the AHL's Atlantic Division.

"To be undefeated (in regulation) on the road up until Christmas says a lot about the character of the guys in our locker room," St. John's Coach Brian McCambridge said.

The IceCaps have earned at least one point in each of their 13 road games.

It was a frustrating loss for the Pirates, especially after battling so hard to pull out Saturday night's win.

"Over the past six or seven games, we've played some good games and we've played some poor games," Portland Coach Ray Edwards said. "I haven't been able to find a way (for us) to be consistent, and I've got to do it. It's on me."

The Pirates take a 13-12-1-2 record into the Christmas break. Portland is in fourth in the five-team Atlantic Division.

"We've shown we can be a good team but we're inconsistent," Edwards said. "Until we become consistent, we're not a good team."

Patrice Cormier struck first for the IceCaps, scoring on a rebound five minutes in while the teams skated four-on-four.

Later in the first, Brett MacLean tied it by popping the rebound of his own shot inside the right post during a power play for his seventh goal in five games.

St. John's scored three goals in the second period to take control.

Jason King snapped the tie when he knocked in a rebound for his 10th goal of the season.

St. John's then took advantage of a steady parade of Portland players to the penalty box. The Pirates were called for six penalties during the last 10 minutes of the period, and the IceCaps scored on two of the power plays.

"Once again tonight, we got into penalty trouble, and our attitude got going, and our work stopped," Edwards said. "We start worrying about things we've got no control over and the game starts going in the other direction."

Rookie Carl Klingberg, just back from playing six games in the NHL, put in a rebound for his 10th goal. Two minutes later, Cormier slid in a shot from near the right hash mark to make it 4-1.

Patrick O'Sullivan scored a short-handed goal for the Pirates less than three minutes into the third, but Kevin Clark answered less than a minute later.

NOTE: Portland forward Ashton Rome, who left Saturday's game late in the second period after taking a puck on his right ankle, did not suit up for Sunday's game.

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

pbetit@pressherald.com

Twitter: PaulBetitPPH

 

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