CHARLOTTE, N.C. – It was a productive trip for the Portland Pirates, but it ended with a thud.

The Pirates squandered a two-goal lead and lost 5-4 to the Charlotte Checkers at Time Warner Cable Arena on Wednesday night, ending their four-game winning streak.

The Pirates bolted to a 2-0 lead in the first period but appeared fatigued in the final two periods. They were outshot 42-29, allowed goals on three straight shots in the second period and committed several sloppy penalties.

“I think the week on the road probably caught up with us,” Pirates Coach Kevin Dineen said. “It doesn’t matter who you’re playing, you’ve got to keep your intensity throughout the game. I think we had a letup and thought we could just use our skills. That doesn’t work at this level and in this league.”

“We had some hard-working goals to start and pulled it back to even as we’ve done a number of times, but it looked like we ran out of gas.”

Portland (9-3-0) was 3-1 on the trip and leads the AHL with 18 points. Each of the wins in the four-game streak was by one goal.

The Pirates’ shake-up in goal continued as rookie Alex Petizian made his season debut. He was signed Wednesday from the Alaska Aces of the ECHL after traveling overnight Tuesday from Alaska, reaching Charlotte via Newark, N.J.

Petizian, 23, was in training camp with Portland and played half of its only preseason game. He was Alaska’s third-string goalie and had yet to play.

Dineen said he was forced to use Petizian when David Leggio, who was in goal for Tuesday night’s win over the Checkers, came down with the flu.

Petizian was streaky in his opener. He stopped the first 19 shots, helping the Pirates to a 2-0 lead early into the second period, but things changed quickly.

Charlotte scored on its next three shots in a span of less than five minutes to take a 3-2 lead. Oskar Osala’s power-play goal caught Petizian with his head turned away from the puck after a drop pass by Bryan Rodney.

Charlotte’s next two goals weren’t entirely Petizian’s fault. Nick Dodge had easy access to a rebound and scored to make it 2-2. Forty-two seconds later, Riley Nash redirected a slap shot into Portland’s net.

Pirates rookie center Luke Adam tied the game at 3 with his team-leading eighth goal midway through the second period. His initial shot was stopped by goalie Justin Pogge, but Adam flipped in a backhand rebound as he skated across the crease.

Charlotte (4-6-2) scored the first two goals of the third period for a 5-3 lead. Portland pulled Petizian for an extra skater with 95 seconds left, and Adam scored his second of the game with 24 seconds left to trim the lead to 5-4, but Portland couldn’t get another shot.

“Three and one is a good road trip and it brings us back to 3-3 (away from home) on the season,” Dineen said. “Obviously we would have liked to finish this one off. But if you look at the big picture, there were some emotional games involved and some pretty good time together on the road.”


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.