Saturday, March 8, 2014
By Paul Betit
Special to the Press Herald
LEWISTON — The Portland Pirates snapped a six-week winless streak on their home ice Sunday afternoon with their second victory in three nights over the Adirondack Phantoms.
WHO: Pirates vs. St. John’s IceCaps
WHEN: 7 p.m. Tuesday
WHERE: The Colisee, Lewiston
Chris Brown and Brendan Shinnimin put in rebounds in the third period to lift the Pirates to a 2-0 win before 2,251 people at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee.
It was the first time the Pirates had won on their home ice since New Year’s Eve and the first time they’d won consecutive games since Dec. 21 and 26.
Friday night, in their first game back from the All-Star break, they pulled out a 3-2 shootout win over the Phantoms at Glens Falls, N.Y.
“We know we’ve got to play like we played tonight and like we played on Friday night in Adirondack,” said Shinnimin, back in the Portland lineup after missing the last six weeks because of a variety of injuries.
“We stuck together as a team and kept things simple. We followed pucks to the net and that’s how we’re going to generate offense.”
In their last nine games at the Colisee, the Pirates, who came into Sunday’s game with the AHL’s worst home record, had gone 0-6-0-3.
“We’ve had our fair share of missed opportunities, but we’ve got some time, and I think the push is definitely on,” Portland defenseman Chris Summers said.
“We’ve been playing well and not winning, and we’ve won some games we shouldn’t have. It’s just one of those seasons so far, but we’re fine-tuning the details and it’s evident in practice. Hopefully, it will show up in games, and I think it did tonight.”
The game was marred by an on-ice brawl that resulted in a record 304 penalty minutes, including 18 game misconducts to players from both teams during the last 21 seconds of play.
“It was a joke,” Coach Ray Edwards said. “I’m proud of my guys for sticking up for each other, but the whole thing was a joke.”
The previous high for penalty minutes in a Pirates game was on Nov. 25, 2006, when Portland and the Providence Bruins chalked up 273 at the Cumberland County Civic Center.
It took the Pirates more than 41 minutes to get the puck past Adirondack goaltender Cal Heeter.
Their first goal came early in the third period when Brown slid a rebound into the right side for his 13th goal after Heeter stopped defenseman Brandon Gormley’s blast from the top of the slot six seconds into the Pirates’ seventh power play.
With less than seven minutes left, Shinnimin scored his sixth of the season by sweeping in a rebound into the left side while the Pirates had the man-advantage.
“It’s been a long road, but I was excited to get back and fortunately I was able to help the team out and get a big goal there,” he said.
Portland goalie Louis Domingue stopped all 28 shots he faced, but didn’t get credit for the shutout. He was one of 18 players who finished the game in their locker room.