The Pirates picked up a point Wednesday night, but it seemed as though a victory was well within their grasp.

“A lot of chances,” said Portland Coach Ray Edwards after the Pirates fell 3-2 in a shootout to St. John’s before a crowd of 1,709 at Cross Insurance Arena. “We should find a way to win that game. Unfortunately, we didn’t.”

Jordan Southorn scored Portland’s second power-play goal of the night to force overtime, but St. John’s goalie Connor Hellebuyck denied the Pirates in both the seven-minute overtime period and in three shootout attempts by Jordan Szwarz, Justin Hodgman and Alexandre Bolduc.

Hellebuyck finished with 41 saves, including 20 in a scoreless second period while he protected a 1-0 lead.

“They got a lot of shots, but they were from the outside,” said Hellebuyck, who played at UMass-Lowell before turning pro. “We had some penalty trouble in the second period, that’s why there were 20 shots. But even with all that trouble, I think we did a really good job of controlling where we wanted the shots to come from.”

The Pirates finally converted two power plays in the third after failing in their first five attempts with a man advantage. They also couldn’t convert on two five-on-three power plays in the second despite swarming around the St. John’s net.


“It’s tough,” Hellebuyck said, “but you try to find your lane as best as possible and get as big as possible and hope things hit you.”

The shootout loss drops Portland into a tie with St. John’s for fourth place in the Atlantic Division, each with 60 points. Providence at 62 sits in the eighth and final Eastern Conference playoff berth.

Chase Balisy converted the only goal of the shootout. Louis Domingue (24 saves) stopped a second IceCaps shot and the visitors didn’t need a third.

Portland outshot the IceCaps 39-24 in regulation and 4-2 in seven minutes of scoreless overtime action, the last minute of which was played three-on-three.

Despite early chances by Jordan Martinook and Phil Lane, the Pirates trailed 1-0 after the first period when Patrice Cormier deflected Julien Brouillette’s blast from the blue line past Domingue.

The Pirates finally broke through 30 seconds into the third on a power-play goal by Philip Samuelsson, his second of the season. Passes by Bolduc and Joel Hanley set up Samuelsson’s one-timer from the top of the right circle, which caught a piece of Hellebuyck on its way into the net.


The 1-1 tie lasted 38 seconds. A deflection by John Albert caught the post and caromed in for a 2-1 St. John’s lead.

After killing off two penalties, the Pirates got one last chance when former UMaine player Will O’Neill was called for slashing with just under three minutes remaining. Southorn wasted little time on the power play, driving the net and flipping the puck past Hellebuyck for the equalizer 19 seconds into the man advantage. Assists went to Bolduc and Evan Oberg.

The Pirates return to action Saturday night in Portland against Manchester.

NOTES: Arizona called up left wing Henrik Samuelsson, just in time for the 2012 first-round draft pick to make his NHL debut in front of his father. Ulf Samuelsson is an assistant coach with the Rangers, and the Coyotes are facing off against them in New York on Thursday night.

In 50 games with the Pirates, Samuelsson had 10 goals and 15 assists.

To make room for Samuelsson, Arizona returned forward Martinook to the Pirates. In eight NHL games this season, Martinook registered one assist. In 44 games with the Pirates entering Wednesday night, Martinook had 11 goals and 17 assists.


Arizona hopes to break a seven-game losing streak Thursday night in New York. The Coyotes finish their East Coast swing in Boston Saturday.

Edwards said Patrick McNeill may return Saturday after missing nearly the whole season because of injury.

Glenn Jordan can be contacted at 791-6425 or

[email protected]

Twitter: GlennJordanPPH

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. 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.