Friday, March 7, 2014
By Paul Betit firstname.lastname@example.org
PORTLAND - After losing three consecutive games to the Worcester Sharks, the Portland Pirates figured out how to beat them Friday night.
Pirates goalie Chad Johnson braces for a shot from Worcester’s Matt Tennyson during Friday’s game at the Cumberland County Civic Center. Portland won, 4-3.
Photos by Gordon Chibroski/Staff Photographer
Pirates defenseman Maxim Goncharov, left, checks Worcester’s Curt Gogol as Frazer McLaren of the Sharks looks on Friday night at the Cumberland County Civic Center.
WHO: Providence Bruins (8-8-0-1, fifth in AHL’s Atlantic Division) at Portland Pirates (9-8-1-1, tied for third in Atlantic Division)
WHEN: 7 p.m.
WHERE: Cumberland County Civic Center
TELEVISION: Time Warner Cable Channel 9
RADIO: WPEI (95.5 FM & 95.9 FM); WPEI; WOXO (92.7 & 100.7 FM)
BRUINS NOTES: Rookie goalie Niklas Svedberg, who has won eight of his 12 starts, made 36 saves in a 2-1 win at the Civic Center two weeks ago. Veteran right wing Jamie Tardif scored two goals Friday night to lead the Bruins to a 4-2 win against the Connecticut Whale. Chris Bourque, son of NHL Hall of Famer Ray Bourque, has two goals and a team-high 12 assists.
PIRATES NOTES: The Pirates have earned points in six of their last 10 games. Center Alexandre Bolduc leads the Pirates and ranks second in the AHL with 12 goals. Defenseman David Rundblad has a three-game goal scoring streak.
– Paul Betit
They kept their cool.
Veteran center Alexandre Bolduc and rookie center Chris Brown scored 41 seconds apart during the second period to spark the Pirates to a 4-3 win before 3,578 at the Cumberland County Civic Center.
"I thought we played 60 minutes tonight," Portland Pirates Coach Ray Edwards said. "We stayed more composed and didn't get involved in the extra-curricular activities stuff, which is hard. They're a hard team to play against."
In their second game of the season on Oct. 19, the Pirates skated to a 7-4 win against Worcester at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee in Lewiston.
The Sharks, though, outscored Portland 12-4 in three consecutive wins against Portland earlier this month.
"The last game in Worcester we had our chances early, and we didn't convert them," said Bolduc, recalling how Worcester cruised to a 5-1 win at the DCU Center last Saturday night.
"They score early, and that was the difference."
Friday's game was different, as the Pirates took the lead for good midway through the second period.
"We're a good team when we have the lead," Bolduc said, "and we finally got the lead on them, and we got to play our style instead of catch-up hockey."
Less than a minute after serving a two-minute minor, Bolduc snapped a 1-1 tie by flipping a rebound into the right side for his team-high 12th goal of the season. The goal came after Alex Slalock stopped a shot by rookie defenseman Brandon Gormley.
Brown made it 3-1 when he scored his eighth goal on a shot from the top of the slot five seconds into Portland's third power play of the game.
With less than four minutes left in second period, Worcester's James Sheppard converted a turnover from behind the Pirates' net into his third goal of the season, scoring on a shot from the slot.
But Chris Conner, who missed five of the previous six games because of an upper-body injury, fought off a defender to score on a breakaway with two minutes left in the period, restoring Portland's two-goal advantage.
Worcester's Tim Kennedy, who played for Portland during the 2008-09 season, scored his eighth goal of the season on a shot from between the hash marks 1:51 into the third period. But the Pirates held on to pull into a third-place tie with the Sharks in the Atlantic Division.
The score was tied 1-1 at the end of the first period.
Less than five minutes into the game, Kennedy tipped in defenseman Michael Brennan's blast from the right point.
Midway through the period, David Rundblad put in a shot from the left point, eight seconds into the Pirates' first power-play opportunity. It was the young Swedish defenseman's third goal in as many games.
NOTES: Portland defense-man Oliver Ekman-Larsson, who spent the last 1½ seasons playing in the NHL for the parent Phoenix Coyotes, was a healthy scratch for the second time in seven games. An upper-body injury kept right wing Jordan Szwarz out of the lineup for the first time in 10 games.
Staff Writer Paul Betit can be contacted at 791-6424 or at:
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Pirates defensemen Brandon Gormley, left, and Mark Louis, right, keep an eye on the puck as well as Worcester’s Yanni Gourde.