LEWISTON

A week-night American Hockey League game normally has Portland Pirates managing owner Brian Petrovek worried, with attendance typically low for the team when games are played at the Cumberland County Civic Center.

But, with Wednesday’s contest against the Worcester Sharks at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee, the third of six games for the team in the Twin Cities, Petrovek was happy with the turnout.

A crowd of 3,264 packed into the Colisee for the contest after the building sold out the first two times, both Pirate victories, giving Petrovek a good feeling about the future of the team playing more games up north.

THE PORTLAND PIRATES took on the Worcester Sharks in American Hockey League action at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee on Wednesday, falling 4--2. In the top photo, Portland’s Michael Stone (28) fights with Worcester’s Yanni Gourde, while in photo above, Pirates forward Joel Rechlicz, left, battles for position against Worcester’s Jimmy Bonneau (43) while Sharks goaltender Alex Stalock looks on. A crowd of 3,264 took in the action in the third of six Pirate games in Lewiston.

THE PORTLAND PIRATES took on the Worcester Sharks in American Hockey League action at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee on Wednesday, falling 4–2. In the top photo, Portland’s Michael Stone (28) fights with Worcester’s Yanni Gourde, while in photo above, Pirates forward Joel Rechlicz, left, battles for position against Worcester’s Jimmy Bonneau (43) while Sharks goaltender Alex Stalock looks on. A crowd of 3,264 took in the action in the third of six Pirate games in Lewiston.

“This is great, and really gives us something to think about with regards to playing here in the future for sure,” said Petrovek, who watched his team fall to the Sharks 4-2, the Pirates’ first loss at the Colisee in seven games (5-1-0-1).

In this one, Rob Klinkhammer got the “home” fans into it just 1:08 in, stealing the puck at his own blue line and going end-to-end before wristing a shot past Worcester goaltender Alex Stalock.

Worcester answered 2:29 later on the power play as Sebastian Stalberg tipped a shot past Portland netminder Mark Visentin.

Still tied in the second period, Klinkhammer struck again, this time receiving a pass from Brendan Shinnimin and scoring into a vacated cage for a 2-1 lead through two periods.

However, the Sharks owned the third period, getting the tying goal on a highlight-reel play by James Sheppard, who came out of the penalty box, seemed to stumble, but somehow kicked the puck to stick before firing a shot off the inside of the post and past a surprised Visentin, who had 28 saves, with 8:55 remaining.

Worcester rode the momentum, scoring the go-ahead goal just 1:08 later when Tim Kennedy managed to slip the puck past Visentin, who got a piece but not enough to keep the Sharks from gaining their first lead.

An empty-net goal by Matt Irwin completed the scoring.

“We have to get our guys to be more direct and move the puck and attack,” said Portland coach Ray Edwards after watching his team go 0-for-6 on the power play and outshot 32-22. “It was awful, just awful. I take responsibility for that. I run the power play. We didn’t manage that part of the game very well and just didn’t attack and get the puck to the net.”

Despite the loss, Edwards feels his team gets up for games at the Colisee and looks forward to the future.

“These folks up here have been great,” said Edwards. “We didn’t play very well tonight after two good games here, and we hope when we return (Dec. 14 against the Manchester Monarchs) we give them a better show.”

“We feel at home up here, and still feel a big home-ice advantage up here, with good crowds,” said Pirates forward Brett Hextall. “We are all pleasantly surprised with the lively crowds up here and the building has a great atmosphere. We love playing here.”

The Pirates visit the Connecticut Whale in Hartford, Conn., on Friday before returning to Cumberland County Civic Center on Saturday at 7 p.m. against the Providence Bruins.


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