SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — Even though the Portland Pirates erupted for four goals in the third period Friday night to rally for a 6-3 victory over the Springfield Falcons, Coach Kevin Dineen wasn’t exactly wearing a smile on his face after the game.

“I thought we were too cute,” Dineen said after his team’s fifth straight win. “We didn’t do what we usually do to be a successful team. It was an extremely sloppy hockey game from our point of view.

“I don’t think we played well at all. We were very fortunate. We got some good breaks in the third period to score some goals. We found a way to win, and that’s always a good thing. You don’t critique the wins too badly. But it doesn’t feel like a good hockey game for us tonight.”

Dineen was irked by the Pirates’ inability to put shots on net. Springfield, which has the AHL’s worst record, outshot Portland 27-19, including 13-4 in the first period.

“I guess I’ve got to try and spell it out for them that we would like to get shots on net and not try fancy plays at the blue line,” Dineen said. “Obviously, it looked like a sloppy game from our perspective, and that’s a reflection on us (coaches).

“Those are the areas we’re going to need to emphasize moving forward; going in and trying these little flip passes across the middle are not very effective plays for this team. They haven’t been this year and they don’t continue to be.


“We’ll take the two points,” Dineen added. “This team sometimes is hard-headed, and it takes a lot for them to learn. But we’ll have some video (today) to show them the areas where they need improvement.”

Portland got off to an auspicious start when Philip Gogulla stole the puck in the neutral zone, skated in on a breakaway and beat Bryan Pitton with a high shot at 9:19.

Colton Fretter tied it at 10:22 when he snapped home a wrist shot from the right circle, and Rob Hisey gave Springfield a 2-1 lead with a power-play goal at 12:36, beating J.P. Lamoureux with a slap shot from the left circle.

Portland tied it when Paul Byron blasted a slap shot from the right circle that Brad Larsen deflected past Pitton 55 seconds into the middle period.

But the deadlock lasted only until 6:40, when Springfield’s Chris Minard whipped a slap shot past Lamoureux for a 3-2 lead.

Portland, though, scored four third-period goals on only six shots, the last an empty-netter by T.J. Brennan with 14 seconds left.


Cody McCormick ignited the rally by blasting a slap shot from just inside the blue line that deflected in off Pitton’s pads at 3:19.

Travis Turnbull put the Pirates ahead at 12:35 when he carried the puck down the left wing and slid a backhander under Pitton.

Turnbull then set up Larsen’s second goal just 1:15 later.

Portland pulled within three points of Worcester for the Atlantic Division lead because the Sharks lost 3-1 to Providence. But even that result failed to have a positive impact on Dineen.

“They’re going to be hard to catch,” Dineen said. “Not only are they a good hockey team but they’re also consistent. They haven’t rattled off too many losses in a row.

“Basically, our thought process is to take care of our game in Bridgeport (tonight). We have a lot of things to address in the next 24 hours to prepare for this game and give ourselves a chance to be a more successful hockey team.”


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