Thursday, April 24, 2014
By MIKE SCANDURA Special to the Telegram
WORCESTER, Mass. - Portland Pirates Coach Ray Edwards knew what to expect going into Saturday night's game against the Worcester Sharks.
PORTLAND PIRATES SUNDAY
WHO: Manchester Monarchs (24-24-2-3, 4th in AHL’s Atlantic Division) at Portland Pirates (30-19-1-1, 2nd in Atlantic Division)
WHEN: 4 p.m.
WHERE: Cumberland County Civic Center, Portland
RADIO: WPEI 95.5FM & 95.9FM WPEI; WOXO 92.7 & 100.7 FM
MONARCH NOTES: Going into Saturday night’s game against the Sound Tigers in Bridgeport, Conn., the Monarchs, who are 4-4 against the Pirates this season, had points in only three of their previous 10 games. In eight games against the Pirates, rookie right wing Tyler Toffoli has scored nine goals, while rookie left wing Tanner Pearson and right wing Linden Vey each have six assists. Right wing Brandon Kozun, who leads the Monarchs with six game-winning goals, hasn’t scored against the Pirates.
PIRATES NOTES: Going into Saturday night’s game against the Sharks in Worcester, the Pirates, who have earned points in four of their eight games against the Monarchs this season, had won six of their previous eight games. In eight games against Manchester, veteran forward Rob Klinkhammer has three goals and four assists. In six games against the Monarchs, veteran center Alexandre Bolduc has a goal and four assists. The Pirates will be without defenseman Michael Stone, called up by the parent Phoenix Coyotes after registering six assists in three games.
– Paul Betit
Whatever Edwards said to his team fell on deaf ears.
Worcester jumped out to a 3-0 first-period lead and basically coasted to a 4-1 victory.
"We knew they would be hard," Edwards said. "They didn't play well (Friday) and got beat in their own rink (7-2 by Manchester). We talked about it before. We knew what we were going to face.
"We talked about it until we were blue in the face but we didn't address it. We didn't show up to start the game. The first period was unacceptable and we're down 3-0."
Ironically, the Sharks had lost seven consecutive games on home ice and over their previous 23 games, were averaging a miniscule 2.0 goals.
Yet Worcester almost blew Portland out of the DCU Center in the first period and chased rookie goalie Mike Lee (3 goals on 13 shots) in the process.
Danny Groulx ignited that three-goal outburst when he unloaded a slap shot from just outside the left circle that clanged in off the crossbar at 13:15.
Then, with Portland on a power play, John McCarthy stole the puck in his zone and fed Bracken Kearns, who sailed into the Pirates' zone on a clean breakaway. Kearns beat Lee at 15:25 for a short-handed goal.
"It wasn't good," Edwards said. "It was a matter of not being prepared for the faceoff and not being prepared to make the right decision.
"You have all week off. We've had a couple of these now where we've had all week off and we show up on the first game of the weekend and don't play well. I've got to change the way we do things during the week in these situations because it's not working."
Jimmy Bonneau ended the first-period rout when he beat Lee with a snap shot just inside the left post at 17:24.
Louis Domingue (22 saves), another rookie, replaced Lee in the second period and was impressive early when he robbed Matt Pelech and Bonneau on breakaways.
But the Sharks still increased their lead to 4-0 while each team was skating short-handed when Matt Tennyson snapped home a wrist shot at 16:52.
Portland finally beat Alex Stalock (36 saves) at 4:47 of the third, when Phil Lane corralled a Rob Klinkhammer rebound behind the boards, circled around and whipped the puck inside the left post.
The last thing Edwards was inclined to do was blame his goalies, who were playing in place of the injured Chad Johnson and Mark Visentin.
"I made the goalie change to try to spark the group," Edwards said. "It had nothing to do with Mike. I thought Louie came in and played well for us.
"We had too many players who didn't play well tonight."