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Friday, April 29, 2011

Raymond Goal Lifts Senators Past Pirates 5-3

It was the call the wasn't made that was the difference, as the Binghamton Senatators defeated the Portland Pirates in Game 2 of the Atlantic Division Finals at the Cumberland County Civic Center. Bob Raymond scored the winning goal in transition late in the third period, after a linesman determined he was not offsides. Kaspars Daugavins scored his second goal into an empty

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net with just seconds left as the Senators scored 5 of the last 6 goals of the game to take a 2-0 series lead.

For the second game in a row it was the Pirates taking a 1-0 lead into the first intermission. Derek Whitmore scored 13 minutes in to give the Pirates the early lead. Mark Voakes and Maxime Legault assisted on the goal, and the Pirates were determined to take control of the game early after last night's let dwown. Jhonas Enroth stopped all 10 shots he saw in the period, as he got the start over Dave Leggio after getting sent down from Buffalo when the Sabres were knocked out of the NHL playoffs.

The Pirates extended the lead just over a minute into the second period, as Mark Snapped took a pass from Luke Adam and fired it past Binghamton goalie Robin Lehner. The Pirates kept up the offensive pressure as they had a 5-0 shot advantage through the first 7 minutes of the period.

The Pirates went on the power play 7:32 into the period, hoping to improve on a weak part of their game. They found a way to make a ineffective power play even more so, as Daugavins scored a shorthanded goal midway through the man advantage, cutting the Pirate lead in half. The Senators took the momentum and ran with it, just as they did in Game 1, as they tied it 3 minutes later. Zack Smith took a feed from Corey Locke and fired it past Enroth for the equalizer. It was Smith's second goal in as many games, as he keeps finding ways to put daggers through the hearts of Pirates fans.

After scoring with a man down and even strength, the Senators finished the scoring trifecta as Bobby Butler scored on the power play with under 4 minutes to go in the second period. After such a great start to the game and the period, the Pirates found themselves down a goal heading into the locker rooms. Facing them was a 2-0 series deficit and 3 games away from home to try and extend their season.

The line of Mancari, Adam, and Matt Ellis had a strong start to the third period, as the Pirates were looking to go down swinging in the final 20 minutes. Mancari would smack the Senators right in the mouth midway through the period, taking a shot from between the circles that zoomed past Lehner into the back of the net. The Pirates had some solid chances to take back the lead, as Adam failed to light the lamp on a breakaway with 7 minutes to go, and they couldn't take advantage of Lehner without a stick a couple minutes later.

Raymond did take advantage of a linesman's controversial non-call, as he put the game-winner past Enroth with 4 minutes to go. Pirates coach Kevin Dineen and Mancari both were livid after the game, feeling that the linesman took the game out of their hands. Daugavins added an empty-netter with 3.1 seconds left much to the chagrin of the Civic Center crowd.

It is now a tall task for the Pirates, as they must win 2 out of 3 games on the road to bring the series back to Portland.

Zack Smith was named the #3 Star of the Game after scoring the game-tying goal in the second period.

Mancari was named the #2 Star after scoring twice for the Pirates and playing what he said was a much better game than last night.

Raymond was named the #1 Star after scoring the game-winning goal late in the third period. He won't be Portland Pubic Enemy #1, as that honor goes to the most hated linesman in the Dineen household.

The teams get a day off as the series shifts to Binghamton for Game 3 on Saturday

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Coach Kevin Dineen
Pirates Mark Mancari
Pirates Matt Ellis
Pirates Jhonas Enroth

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Senators Outlast Pirates, Take Game 1, 3-2

The Portland Pirates got off to a hot start in Game 1 of the series against the Binghamton Senators, taking a 1-0 lead into the first intermission. The next 40 minutes belonged to the Senators, however, as they outskated, outshot, and outlasted the Pirates, winning 3-2. Zack Smith and the game-winning goal and added an assist to lead Binghamton.

The Pirates camped out in the Binghamton zone for much of the first 4 minutes of the game, capped off by Maxime Legault's goal from the right side of the net, past Senators goalie Robin

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Lehner. The play started with a pass from Matt Ellis on the left side to mark Voakes out in front, who took a shot that Legault put back. Legault would take a hooking penalty 8 minutes in that the Pirates killed off, but it seemed to finally give Binghamton some momentum. The Pirates would go on the power play 12 minutes in, but could only muster 2 shots, while giving Binghamton 2 short-handed chances. At the horn, it was 1-0 Portland, but momentum seemed to be swinging away from the Pirates.

The Pirates seemed to come out of the locker room with momentum, and 2 minutes in Colin Stuart and Mark Parrish had a solid chance in front of the net that Lehner denied. Portland was the much more physical team, trying to slow down Binghamton's fast-paced style. Mark Mancari had a breakaway chance 4:30 in, but his first attempt was stuffed, and he couldn't corral the rebound for another try.

That big save by Lehner energized the Senators, who finally lit the lamp 2 minutes later. Ryan Keller got a shot past Dave Leggio to even the score at 1-1. Ryan Potulny and Smith assisted on the goal. Binghamton would go on the power play less than a minute later, and would quickly take their first lead of the game. Bobby Butler netted the goal for the Senators, and he was assisted by Andre Benoit and Corey Locke.

The Pirates were lucky to be only a goal down, as Leggio faced many open shots throughout the period, making sprawling saves on many of them. Portland pulled the momentum back towards their side late in the period as Stuart raced down the ice in transition, collecting a lob pass from Corey Fienhage, and wristing it past Lehner from the right circle. The Pirates got a chance to take back the lead a minute later, going on the power play after Locke was called for interference. The sluggish-looking Pirates couldn't get a shot on net and it was 2-2 heading into the second intermission.

The Pirates fired a couple shots from the blue line early in the third period, trying to take back the lead and gain some positive momentum. The idea failed, and the Senators started teeing off on Leggio again. He stopped a wide open shot by Colin Greening 2:45 in, and had to jump on a puck in the crease a couple minutes later to keep the game tied.

The Senators finally got one past Leggio, as Smith ripped a shot in from a tough angle on the right side. Poltulny and Benoit notched assists on the goal. Binghamton kept up the pressure, pelting Leggio with open shot after open shot as the Pirates couldn't keep up with the Senators' puck movement.

Portland's best and last chance to net the equalizer came with 2 minutes to go as Paul Byron found Parrish for a shot in front of Lehner, but the Senators netminder turned the attempt away. The Pirates wouldn't get another good look as Binghamton picked up an important road win in Game 1.

Leggio stopped 40 of 43 shots that came his way, as it could have been a much more crooked number that Binghamton put up in this one.

The Pirates were out shot 34 to 24 in the final 2 periods, as Binghamton seemed to dictate the tempo for much of the game.

Zack Smith was named the #1 Star of the Game after picking up a goal and assist.

Ryan Potulny was named the #2 Star after assisting on 2 goals and getting 3 shots on net.

Maxime Legault was named the #3 Star after scoring the opening goal and showing some aggressive play throughout the game.

Game 2 will be tomorrow night at 7pm at the Cumberland County Civic Center, before the series shifts to Binghamton for games 3, 4, and 5 if necessary.
-WIL KRAMLICH-


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Pirates Head Coach Kevin Dineen

Pirates Colin Stuart

MAINEiacs on the brink, lose to St John. Down 3-0 in series

For the first time in the 2011 President's Cup Playoffs, the Lewiston MAINEiacs will be playing for their lives. On Tuesday night, the Saint John Sea Dogs scored four goals in the second period, picking up a 5-2 win, while building a 3-0 lead in the best-of-seven series.

After a scoreless first period, the Sea Dogs got on the board early in the second. While on the power play, Michael Kirkpatrick found Jonathan Huberdeau with a centering pass, which was finished by a tap-in at the side of the crease. Less than two minutes later, Saint John added to the lead, as Steven Anthony took a Lewiston turnover and fed Tomas Jurco, who deked his way to a goal. A little more than three minutes later, the Sea Dogs struck again, as Ryan Tesink finished off a cross-crease pass by Jonathan Huberdeau.

With 8:37 left in the middle frame, the MAINEiacs got their first goal. Kirill Kabanov sent a pass across the ice to Jess Tanguy, before getting it back, and knocking a shot in off of the right post, cutting the Saint John lead to two. However, the Sea Dogs had an answer, as Mike Thomas bounced a slow dribbling puck over the line with under two minutes remaining in the period.

Christophe Lalonde got Lewiston's second goal less than a minute into the third period on a rush with Pierre-Olivier Morin, but that was as close as the home team got, as the Sea Dogs iced their win on Stanislav Galiev's empty net marker.

Mathieu Corbeil-Theriault earned his third win of the series, making 28 saves on 30 shots for Saint John. Nicholas Champion allowed four goals on 22 shots in the defeat for Lewiston, before being replaced by Andrey Makarov, who was perfect on seven attempts.

The MAINEiacs and Sea Dogs will play game four of their series on Wednesday night at 7:00, with the game taking place at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee.

-LEWISTON MAINEiacs-

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Pirates beach the Whale; Binghamton next

Paul Byron scored twice and added an assist to lead the Portland Pirates to a 6-4 win over the Connecticut Whale in Game 6 of their Atlantic Division Semifinal Series played tonight in front of 4,514 at the XL Center.

The won the best-of-seven series 4-2 and advance to the Atlantic Division Final to face either the Manchester Monarchs or the Binghamton Senators. Those two teams were heading into overtime in Game 7 at the time of writing tonight.

Mark Parrish added a goal and two assists in the Pirates win while Mark Mancari supplied a goal and an assist. Corey Tropp rounded out the scoring.

Jeremy Williams, Dale Weise, Carl Hagelin and Chad Kolarik scored for the Whale.

The Whale used the power play for the first two goals of the game as Williams and Weise connected on the man advantage to give Connecticut a 2-0 lead after one. The Pirates jumped out quickly in the second as they scored three times (Byron, Parrish and Mancari) in the opening nine-and-a-half minutes to grab a 3-2 lead. Hagelin tied it just over a minute after the Pirates surged ahead but Biega netted the go-ahead goal in the final three minutes of the second to give Portland a 4-3 lead heading into the third. Byron, with the eventual game winner, and Tropp built the Pirates lead to 6-3 before Kolarki completed the scoring with a last minute power-play goal.
The Whale out shot the Pirates 34-30 in the game as David Leggio posted the victory.
The Allied Home Mortgage Three Stars of the Game were 1. Byron, 2. Parrish and 3. Connecticut defenseman Wade Redden (two assists).

Tickets for the Atlantic Division Finals against the Binghamton Senators will go on sale Monday morning at 10 a.m. at the Cumberland County Civic Center Box Office,and can be ordered by calling 207-775-3458 or online at portlandpirates.com.

Atlantic Division Final
A1-Portland Pirates vs. E5-Binghamton Senators
Game 1 – Wed., Apr. 27 – Binghamton at Portland, 7:00
Game 2 – Thu., Apr. 28 – Binghamton at Portland, 7:00
Game 3 – Sat., Apr. 30 – Portland at Binghamton, 7:05
Game 4 – Mon., May 2 – Portland at Binghamton, 7:05
*Game 5 – Tue., May 3 – Portland at Binghamton, 7:05
*Game 6 – Fri., May 6 – Binghamton at Portland, 7:00
*Game 7 – Sat., May 7 – Binghamton at Portland, 7:00
* if necessary

Friday, April 22, 2011

Game One: Maineiacs fall to Saint John in OT

The Saint John Sea Dogs were down, but not out in game one of the QMJHL Semi-Final series against the Lewiston MAINEiacs. Trailing 4-2 in the third, Saint John came back to tie the score, before Stephen MacAulay scored at the 2:59 mark of overtime, lifting the Sea Dogs to a 5-4 victory in front of 5,762 fans at Harbour Station.

Midway through the first period, the Sea Dogs got out to the lead. Tomas Jurco won a puck battle along the right wing boards, sliding the disk back to Pierre Durepos at the point. Durepos teed up a drive from that spot, rifling a slap shot over Nicholas Champion's right shoulder. A little more than three minutes later, Saint John added to the lead. Kevin Gagne swung the puck behind the goal to Stanislav Galiev, who found Steven Anthony with a quick and crisp pass. Anthony buried his shot into the far side of the net.

Before the first period was able to come to a conclusion, the MAINEiacs got on the board. Stefan Fournier and Matt Bissonnette rushed into the offensive zone on a 2-on-1. Fournier slid a pass across to Bissonnette, who potted his fifth goal of the playoffs.

Lewiston rode the momentum of Bissonnette's tally into the second period, as they quickly evened the score 1:33 in. Pierre-Olivier Morin's initial shot from the left side was stopped by Jacob DeSerres, but the rebound was put home by Jess Tanguy, who scored his second goal in as many games. Less than five minutes later, the MAINEiacs struck again, finding the twine with a power play marker. Michael Chaput centered the puck to Kirill Kabanov, who knocked in a shot, as he crashed the net.

In the third period, the MAINEiacs added to their lead with a shorthanded tally. Lewiston broke 2-on-1 into the offensive zone, and Antoine Houde-Caron kept the puck to himself, scoring high over Jacob DeSerres' glove for a 4-2 lead.

During the media time out, the Sea Dogs made a goaltending change, inserting Mathieu Corbeil-Theriault in place of Jacob DeSerres. The move lit a fire under Saint John, who ultimately tied the score with two goals in a span of 1:14. The first was by Nathan Beaulieu, who finished off a pass from Zack Phillips in the slot. The second was scored by Tomas Jurco, who took Nicholas Champion's clearing attempt, and scored into an empty net, sending the contest into overtime.

In the extra session, Saint John cashed in quickly for the win. Simon Despres dashed down the left side, and sent a pass into the middle for Stephen MacAulay, who netted the winning goal.

Mathieu Corbeil-Theriault picked up the win for the Sea Dogs, stopping all 13 shots he faced in relief of Jacob DeSerres, who allowed four goals on 17 shots. Nicholas Champion suffered the loss for the MAINEiacs, making 26 saves on 31 shots.

The MAINEiacs and Sea Dogs will play game two of their series on Saturday night at 6:00 in Saint John, before heading to Lewiston for games three and four on Tuesday and Wednesday. Both contests at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee will get started at 7:00.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Pirates Hold On to Beat Whale 5-4, Take a 3-2 Series lead

Parrish scores winner (Photo J Gendron) 
It looked like the Pirates would run away in Game 5, taking a 3-0 lead just 45 seconds into the second period, and literally knocking out Whale goalie Dov Grumet-Morris. However, Grumet-Morris' injury ignited a fire in the rest of the Connecticut team, and they made a game out of it. Mark Parrish scored on the power play early in the third period to break a 4-4 tie, and Dave Leggio made an impossible save to preserve the win for the Pirates. Portland now has a 3-2 series lead, and will look to close out the series in Game 6.

Portland struck first in a fast-paced first period, as Mark Mancari sniped a slap shot from the blue line past Grumet-Morris for a power play goal. It was Mancari's second game back after

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missing the first 3 games while playing with parent club Buffalo. Mark Voakes and Paul Byron assisted on the goal. The Pirates had all the offensive momentum after Connecticut started out with a flurry of shots. Travis Turnbull made it 2-0 Pirates on a goal late in the period, with Corey Tropp and Dennis Persson notching assists.

The start of the second period was a nightmare for the Whale. 18 seconds in Grumet-Morris went down after taking a hard shot off the body. He laid on the ice for a couple minutes until he was able to shake it off. Luke Adam would put a backhand shot past him less than 30 seconds later, and it was clear Dov was not right. Mancari and Persson assisted on Adam's goal. Grumet-Morris would be replaced by Cameron Talbot, and this invigorated the Whale players.

The play got physical in the period, and the Pirates found the worst times to show it. The Whale would get five power play chances, and would score twice. Kris Newbury scored his first goal on the power play 4 1/2 minutes into the period, cutting the Portland lead to 3-1. Dennis McAuley gave Portland some breathing room later in the period, scoring on a 2-on-1 with Corey Tropp feeding him the puck. Newbury would score again just 21 seconds later to make it 4-2 Pirates. Chad Kolarik would score the Whale's second power play goal with eight minutes to go in the second, after three players were sent to the box for roughing. The physicality was heating up, and the Whale had all the momentum. McAuley would go to the penalty box at the end of the period, and give Connecticut a man-advantage to start the third.

While the Whale didn't score on the power play, they did light the lamp only seconds later. Brodie Dupont would score with the Whale still attacking in the Portland zone, with Blake Parlett and Kelsey Tessier picking up assists. Dupont would go to the penalty box five seconds later for tripping, and after that his night was done. The Pirates took advantage of Dupont's untimely penalty, as Mark Parrish scored a minute into the power play, with Persson and Mancari picking up the assists.

The 17 minutes left to play seemed like an eternity for the Pirates. Dave Leggio had to stop Connecticut's best efforts time after time as they tried to net the equalizer. His best stop of the night came with only 2.8 seconds remaining, as he somehow stopped the puck between his skate and the left post. No one, including Leggio, knew if the puck had gone in, but after a few long moments, the refs ruled it was in fact a save. The Pirates won the faceoff, and as the buzzer sounded escaped with a hard-fought victory.

Mancari was named the #1 star after collecting a goal and 2 assists and taking 9 shots. Corey Tropp was named the #2 star after assisting on 2 of the goals and finishing with a +2 plus/minus rating. Connecticut's Newbury was named the #3 star after scoring the Whale's first 2 goals and later assisting on another.

The series heads back to Hartford for game 6 on Saturday, with the Pirates looking to close out the series, and the Whale looking to tie it up and extend their season.

-WIL KRAMLICH-

POST GAME AUDIO
Pirates Forward Mark Mancari

Pirates Head Coach Kevin Dineen

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Whale all over Pirates, ties series at 2


Mats Zuccarello and Chad Kolarik each had a goal and an assist to lead the Connecticut Whale to a 3-1 win over the Portland Pirates in Game 4 of the their best-of-seven Atlantic Division Semifinal Series played tonight at the XL Center.

The series is now tied at 2-2.

John Mitchell netted the other Whale goal.
          
Mark Voakes scored the lone Pirates goal.

Kolarik, playing in his first game of the series after missing the first three due to an injury suffered in the regular season, gave the Whale a 1-0 lead after one when he connected on a five-on-three power play in the later stages of the opening period. Mitchell netted the lone goal of the second period to send the Whale into the third with a 2-0 advantage. Zuccarello, in his first game of the season after being returned from the New York Rangers, lifted the Whale into a 3-0 lead before Voakes got the Pirates on the board to complete the scoring.

The Whale out shot the Pirates 30-20 in the game as David Leggio took the loss.

The Allied Home Mortgage Three Stars of the Game were all from the Whale. Kolarik was the first, Zuccarello the second and Wade Redden the third.

Game 5 of the best-of-seven series will take place Thursday at 7 p.m. at the Civic Center. The first 2,000 fans into the game will receive thundersticks courtesy of Time Warner Cable. Plus, bring a non-winning Maine State Lottery ticket to the Cumberland County Civic Center Box Office either in advance or on the day of the game and receive a FREE Pirates playoff ticket with the purchase of a ticket of equal or greater value. Get your tickets at the Civic Center Box Office, by calling (207) 775-3458 or at portlandpirates.com.
-PORTLAND PIRATES-

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Kevin Dineen to "have options" at the end of the NHL season


With the NHL and AHL Playoffs well underway, the coaching rumors start up in the back rooms. According to Elliotte Friedman of the CBC (buried deep in an article on Raffi Torres), Kevin Dineen and Craig MacTavish will be in the top tier of available coaching candidates.

"There are five coaching vacancies now, with the possibility of more. It sounds like the two men with the most options will be Kevin Dineen of the AHL's Portland Pirates and Craig MacTavish. Dineen's done good work for two different organizations - Anaheim and Buffalo. The Pirates have had the last three American(Hockey) League rookies of the year."

Looking around the league right now, there are vacancies in New Jersey, Florida, Dallas, Minnesota, and Ottawa. If the Canadiens knock out the Bruins in the first round, don't be surprised if the Bruins have a coaching vacancy. What Dineen has done with youngsters doesn't go unnoticed, and he may be the perfect coach to foster youngsters like Tuukka Rask, Tyler Seguin, Steve Kampfer, etc. With a family who has already established roots here in Maine, it also would be the closest NHL job to home.

Regardless, once the Pirates season comes to an end, the annual Kevin Dineen speculation should fire up quickly.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Whale get 3 - 1 win over the Portland Pirates in Connecticut


Derek Couture and John Mitchell each scored a goal and an assist to lead the Connecticut Whale to a 3-1 win over the Portland Pirates in Game 3 of their Atlantic Division Semifinal played tonight in front of 3,201 at the AL Center.
          
The Pirates lead the best-of-seven series 2-1.
          
Tommy Grant netted the other Whale goal while Wade Redden collected two assists.
          
Mark Voakes netted the lone goal for Portland. Mark Parrish was stopped on a penalty shot in the third with the Pirates trailing 3-1.
Grant opened scoring three minutes into the game to give the Whale the lead but Voakes answered with 53 seconds remaining in the opening period to send the two teams into the intermission tied at one. Couture scored the lone goal of the second to give the Whale a 2-1 lead heading into the third. Mitchell added an insurance goal in the third to complete the scoring.
The Pirates out shot the Whale 30-22 in the game as David Leggio took the loss.

The Allied Home Mortgage Three Stars of the Game were all from the Whale. Goaltender Dov Grumet-Morris was the first, Couture the second and Mitchell the third.

Pirates Playoff Hockey MISSION: 16W, powered by Time Warner Cable continues with Game 4 of the Atlantic Division Semifinal against the Whale Tuesday at 6 p.m. at the XL Center. The game can be heard live on 95.5 News Talk WLOB beginning with the pre-game show at 6:45 p.m.

Game 5 of the best-of-seven series will take place Thursday at 7 p.m. at the Civic Center. The first 2,000 fans into the game will receive thundersticks courtesy of Time Warner Cable. Get your tickets at the Civic Center Box Office, by calling (207) 775-3458 or at portlandpirates.com.

Lewiston MAINEiacs finish off Montreal for series win



For the second round in a row, the Lewiston MAINEiacs finished off a series on home ice. Leading the best-of-seven series 3-2, the MAINEiacs received a three-point night from Stefan Fournier, heliping lift Lewiston past the Montreal Junior, 6-3. The MAINEiacs won the series 4-2, and will now face the Saint John Sea Dogs in round three.

The MAINEiacs got the scoring started less than three minutes into the first period. Michael Chaput fired a shot wide from the slot, with rebound bouncing out to Jess Tanguy along the left side of the goal line. Tanguy took the quick bounce, and lifted it into the net. The Junior pulled even less than five minutes later, when Louis Leblanc sniped a wrist shot in from the left circle on a pretty move. However, Lewiston had a quick answer, retaking the lead just 25 seconds later. Kirill Kabanov sent the puck toward the net, where it was deflected in by Pierre-Olivier Morin, giving the home team a 2-1 lead after one.

Both teams lit the lamp in the second, starting with Montreal. Nicolas Chouinard took the puck out of the left corner, and slipped a shot in toward goal, looking for a possible deflection. Instead, the puck found daylight, tying the game. Once again, the MAINEiacs responded. Jess Tanguy took a loose puck at his own blueline, rushed down the left side of the ice, and sent a pass into the crease. Stefan Fournier had his stick on the ice, redirecting the puck in for the go-ahead goal.

In the third period, Lewiston added to their lead, capitalizing on a second Junior turnover. Kirill Kabanov picked up the puck in center ice, sending Etienne Brodeur into the offensive zone. Brodeur tapped a pass over to Pierre-Olivier Morin, who faked to his forehand, then slid a backhand shot past a committed Jean-Francois Berube. Later in the stanza, the MAINEiacs netted a power play marker (their 11th of the series), as Stefan Fournier went around Berube, stuffing in a forehand attempt. Nicolas Chouinard pulled Montreal within two goals, but Michael Chaput's empty netter iced the win for the home team.

Nicholas Champion earned the win for the MAINEiacs, stopping 36 of the 39 shots he faced. Jean-Francois Berube took the loss for the Junior, allowing five goals on 37 shots.

The MAINEiacs have now advanced to round three, where they will meet up with the Saint John Sea Dogs. Games one and two will tentatively be in Saint John on Friday and Saturday, before tentatively scheduled games three and four in Lewiston on Tuesday and Wednesday.

-LEWISTON MAINEiacs-

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Whitmore Propels Pirates Past Whale in OT 3-2, Take 2-0 Series Lead

Derek Whitmore with a HUGE game for the Pirates (Photo Jason Gendron/MESN)
The Portland Pirates found many ways to lose Game 2 against the Connecticut Whale at home. Yet it was winger Derek Whitmore who found the way to win, giving the Pirates a 3-2 win and a 2-0 series lead. Whitmore scored the tying goal late in the third period to send the game to overtime, then won it for the Pirates on a 2-on-1 12 minutes into overtime.

The game started out well for the Pirates, as Matt Ellis scored five minutes in. Connecticut had just killed off a penalty, but couldn't get a clear, and Ellis made them pay. His goal was assisted by Whitmore and Corey Tropp. At that point, the Whale took over.

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Francis Lemieux scored on a breakaway with under five minutes to go to tie it. After a scrum in front of the Portland net, Colin Stuart would go to the penalty box for roughing. The Whale took advantage of the power play, as John Mitchell got an unassisted goal to give Connecticut the lead. It was 2-1 Whale at the end of the first period, as they outshot Portland 16-8.

Physical play picked up in the second period, as offenses went cold. Portland got four chances on the power play in the period, and squandered every one of them. The Pirates seemed to look sluggish, and were probably lucky to be down only one goal after two periods. The Pirates outshot the Whale 7-3 in the period, but that was mostly due to the disparity in penalty box time.

The Crowd at the Civic Center came to life in the third period, trying to energize the home team. The Pirates battered Whale goalie Dov Grumet-Morris with quality shots, but the Dov was up to the task. He made a huge stop on a Portland power play midway through the period, and again when he kick-saved a shot by Jeff Dimmen a few minutes later.

Whitmore finally got through when Grumet-Morris was knocked off-balance and an opening was created. The crowd would not quiet as momentum had swung, and overtime was imminent. The Pirates outshot the Whale by a whopping 16-2 margin in the third period, as they had to find some way to get one past Dov.

Three minutes into overtime it looked like the Whale would even the series. Pirates goalie Dave Leggio had to make a sprawling save on his back, hoping the puck was underneath him. For the sake of Pirates fans, it was. The Whale again had a close call, as Dale Weise fired away at Leggio from close range, only to be denied, as was his rebound shot.

There would be no such break for Grumet-Morris, as he was caught with a 2-on-1 disadvantage coming at him, as Brian Roloff fed Whitmore with a perfect pass for the game winner.

Whitmore was named the #1 star after tallying 2 goals and an assist. Matt Ellis was the #2 star scoring the opening goal, and keeping the Pirates afloat early. Grumet-Morris was the #3 star after stopping 33 of 36 shots.

The Pirates hold a 2-0 series lead as the Atlantic Division Semifinals move to Hartford tomorrow night. If the first two games are any indication, we are in for a long, hard-fought series.

Game Note: Long-time Pirates videographer Dale Darling was inducted into the Pirates Hall of Fame in a pre-game ceremony. Darling is the 15th member inducted into the Hall after working in Maine hockey for the last 33 years. He was presented with a #33 Pirates uniform with his name on it.

POST GAME AUDIO
Portland Pirates Forward Derek Whitmore

Portland Pirates Head Coach Kevin Dineen

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Pirates Hold off Whale Comeback, Win 3-2 in Game 1

Luke Adam scored a goal in Game 1 win (Photo Jason Gendron) 

The Portland Pirates came out firing on all cylinders in the first period of Game 1 of the Atlantic Division Semifinals against the Connecticut Whale. They killed off an early Whale Power Play and barraged net-minder Dov Grumet-Morris with shot after shot. When Derek Couture went to the penalty box for goalie interference 12 minutes in, The Pirates saw an opportunity open. It took much of the power play, but Luke Adam finally found the back of the net with 18 seconds left on the power play. Adam's goal was assisted by Paul Byron and Dennis Persson.

It didn't take long for the Pirates to get on the board again. 58 seconds after the first goal Corey Tropp would light the lamp for Portland. Mark Voakes assisted on the goal. When it rains it pours, and it was a monsoon for the Pirates offense at the end of the first period. Colin Stuart scored on the power play with 3:20 remaining in the period to give the Pirates a commanding 3-0 lead. They hit the locker room at the first intermission feeling pretty good about themselves.

The Whale however, would not roll over in this opening game of the series. Connecticut came out with aggression in the second period, hell-bent on climbing back into the game. Things got chippy early on after Dennis Persson laid a big open-ice check on a hapless Whale player. Elbows and fists started flying, but the referees broke things up before things got out of hand. This gave some momentum to the Whale for the rest of the period. Five minutes into the period the Whale finally got on the board. Blake Parlett found a crack in the stone wall named Dave Leggio and breathed some life into the Connecticut cause. Parlett's goal was assisted by Francis Lemieux and Tommy Grant.

The Pirates had to kill off two penalties in the period, and Leggio had 8 saves as the Whale attack picked up. Connecticut had a solid scoring chance with under a minute to go that would have cut the deficit to one. For the Pirates, they went into the second intermission thankful to still have a two-goal lead.

Portland came out of the locker room in the third period with more purpose than they did in the second. Their aggression picked up on the offensive end, trying to extend their shrinking lead. They stymied an early Whale power play, keeping them without a shot for the first 1:30 of the advantage. Portland went on their own power play seven minutes in, and almost gave up a short-handed goal as it started. After that scare the Pirates pointed their ship in the right direction. They attacked Grumet-Morris with five shots on the advantage, and almost making him pay a couple times. Alas, the Whale goalie would keep the net clean, and the Pirates let a solid chance to slip away.

Killing off the penalty sung momentum back in Connecticut's favor, as they began to attack Leggio. With seven minutes to go, the Whale struck again. Dale Weise' slapshot was too quick for Leggio, and suddenly we had a real game. Grachev and Redden assisted on the goal. The next seven minutes seemed to drag on for the Pirates and their fans, as that insurmountable lead was now an afterthought. the Portland defense really picked up at the end of the game, not wanting to blow a hard-earned lead. The Whale had one final chance with 5.4 seconds to go, with a face-off in the Portland zone, but could not get a shot off to give themselves a chance. Tempers flared as the teams were bunched up after 60 minutes of intense hockey.

It was the Pirates with the win as the dust settled, and a 1-0 lead in the best of seven opening round series. Game 2 is Saturday night at 7pm at the Cumberland County Civic Center.
-Wil Kramlich-

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

MAINEiacs take 3-1 series lead over Montreal


On Wednesday night, the Lewiston MAINEiacs played their second straight home game in their best-of-seven series with the Montreal Junior, and defended their ice surface well. For the third game in a row, the score was tied entering the third period, and for the third consecutive game, the MAINEiacs took care of business. Lewiston lit the lamp three times in the final stanza, picking up a 4-1 win over the Junior in front of 1,580 fans at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee.

For the first time in the series, the MAINEiacs got on the board first. With Montreal defending a 5-on-3, Sam Carrier found Michael Chaput open at the bottom of the right circle. Because of Lewiston's great puck movement, Chaput had a mostly open net to shoot at, which he hit, putting the home team on top.

In the second period, the Junior evened the score, converting on a four-minute power play. David Rose took the puck at the top of the right circle, and rifled a slap shot high over Nicholas Champion's glove, sending the contest into the third period tied at one. A penalty was assessed to Lewiston on the play, putting them shorthanded by two men for a full two minutes. The penalty kill got the job done, keeping Montreal off of the board.

Early in the third period, Lewiston received a power play, as Trevor Parkes was whistled for hitting from behind. While on the man advantage, Michael Chaput set up Etienne Brodeur in the slot, who found Kirill Kabanov at the left side of the crease. In one quick motion, Kabanov swung Brodeur's pass into the net for the go-ahead goal. Four minutes later, Kabanov tallied again, wristing home a shot from the right circle that rang in off of the left side post. For the second time in the series, Antoine Houde-Caron capped the win with an empty net marker.

Nicholas Champion was brilliant in goal for the MAINEiacs, stopping 31 of the 32 shots he faced in the win. Jean-Francois Berube made 27 saves on 30 shots, taking the loss for the Junior.

-LEWISTON MAINEIACS-

DJ gets a little excited about a Maineiacs goal



Our friend DJ Abisalih, who you may remember from the Weekend Jab, has since graduated to be the voice of the Lewiston Maineiacs (who won tonight 4-1, by the way). This piece of video got forwarded to us tonight and is from the game over the weekend. Turn your speakers up for this. Way up. Right around the 25 second mark or so.

AHL Announces schedule changes for 2011-12 season

The American Hockey League announced today that its Board of Governors has approved a schedule modification plan beginning with the 2011-12 season.

Under the plan, the regular-season playing schedule will be reduced to 76 games; the AHL playing calendar will be extended by one week; all sequences in which teams play four games in five nights will be eliminated; and the first round of the Calder Cup Playoffs will be reduced to a best-of-five series.

“As our league has grown in recent years, we have been working closely with the National Hockey League and the Professional Hockey Players’ Association to seek a solution to what has become a very onerous playing schedule,” said David Andrews, President and CEO of the American Hockey League. “As our league has grown and our game has become faster and more physical, the wear and tear on our players has begun to affect player development and at times the quality of competition. These steps are intended to provide a safer environment for our players through increased rest and recovery time, and also to provide our fans with an even higher caliber of play as a result of reduced player fatigue.”

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Maineiacs: Brodeur's late goal lifts Lewiston to 2-1 win, 2-1 series lead


The Lewiston MAINEiacs gave their fans something to remember on Tuesday night, as they played game three of their best-of-seven series against the Montreal Junior. With 5.2 seconds remaining, Etienne Brodeur potted the rebound of Olivier Dame-Malka's initial shot, lifting the roof of of the Androscoggin Bank Colisee, as the MAINEiacs picked up a 2-1 victory. Lewiston also took a 2-1 lead in the series, earning the win in front of 1,511 fans.

The game was scoreless for the first 36 minutes of play, before Montreal opened the scoring at the 16:02 mark of the second. Trevor Parkes took a pass from Philippe Lefebvre, skated down the left side, and scored on a backhand shot. 45 seconds later, the MAINEiacs responded, tying the score at one. Kirill Kabanov twirled around in the offensive zone, before finding Sam Carrier open in the slot. Carrier skated toward the goal, before ripping a wrist shot glove side on Jean-Francois Berube.

The score stayed tied until the dying seconds of regulation, when Lewiston took the lead for the first time in the game. Olivier Dame-Malka took a shot from the left point that got deflected in the slot. The deflected puck landed on Etienne Brodeur's tape, and Brodeur did the rest, lifting the game winning goal into the top of the cage.

Nicholas Champion was tremendous in goal for the MAINEiacs, stopping 28 of the 29 shots he faced in the win. Jean-Francois Berube took the loss for Montreal, making 17 saves on 19 shots.

The MAINEiacs and Junior will play game four in Lewiston on Wednesday night at 7:00.

Monday, April 11, 2011

New York paper speculates on the future of the Sabres/Pirates relationship

Came across an interesting article today in the Brighton Pittsford Post today about the future of the AHL's Rochester Americans. The Amerks, as they are affectionately known, are looking for a new parent club after their agreement with the Florida Panthers expired at the conclusion of this season. Here's some nuggets:

The Anaheim-Syracuse agreement has two years remaining, but reportedly has been a rocky relationship, which might bring about a change for next season.

The Buffalo Sabres have two years remaining on their current arrangement with the Portland Pirates.

Rochester club officials have said that they have talked with two of the 30 NHL teams, but they are not at liberty to say, at the present time, which two teams because the season is not over for all the teams.


The news here isn't about the length of the Pirates/Sabres agreement, it's the sentence above it involving Syracuse and Anaheim. Anaheim and the Pirates had a very successful relationship here earlier in the decade, and it makes one wonder if the Sabres wanted to renew their old relationship with Rochester if the Pirates would reunite with Anaheim, leaving Florida, Atlanta, Phoenix/Winnipeg/Quebec City for Syracuse.

"Styres could sign a one- or two-year agreement with a NHL team, then try to seek an agreement with Buffalo after their present term expires with Portland. It has been done in the past where an agreement was terminated early. The perception is that most Amerks fans want to see an eventual return to a working relationship with the Sabres."

This is not the first I have heard of the Buffalo-Rochester flirting, but this is the first time I have seen it speculated in print.

To read the full article by Craig Potter, click here.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Portland Pirates playoff schedule vs Connecticut Whale

Here is the schedule for Round 1 of the 2011 Calder Cup Playoffs


Atlantic Division Semifinal – Series “A” (best-of-7)
Portland Pirates vs Connecticut Whale
Game 1 – Thu., Apr. 14 – Connecticut at Portland, 7:00
Game 2 – Sat., Apr. 16 – Connecticut at Portland, 7:00
Game 3 – Sun., Apr. 17 – Portland at Connecticut, 6:00
Game 4 – Tue., Apr. 19 – Portland at Connecticut, 7:00
*Game 5 – Thu., Apr. 21 – Connecticut at Portland, 7:00
*Game 6 – Sat., Apr. 23 – Portland at Connecticut, 7:00
*Game 7 – Mon., Apr. 25 – Connecticut at Portland, 7:00

Falcons soar over Pirates; Award winners announced

Luke Adam shoots during loss to Springfield (Photo Jason Gendron)

Nikita Filatov scored three minutes into overtime to lift the Springfield falcons to a 2-1 win over the Portland Pirates in an American Hockey League game played this afternoon in front of 7,051 at the Cumberland County Civic Center.

Tomas Kubalik netted the other goal for the Falcons, who finished the regular season with a 35-40-2-3 record.

Jacob Lagace registered the lone goal for the Pirates. Portland completed the 2010-11 regular season with a record of 47-24-7-2 and with the point assured themselves the most points in the AHL.

The two teams were scoreless through the first period. Lagace gave the Pirates a 1-0 lead early in the second period and that goal stood as the lone goal of the game as the two teams headed into the third. Kubalik tied the game five minutes into the third setting the stage for Filatov’s game winner.

The Falcons out shot the Pirates 27-18 in the game as David Leggio took the loss.

The Allied Home Mortgage Three Stars of the Game were 1. Filatov, 2. Lagace and 3. Leggio.

In other Pirates news, the team announced their annual team award winners in a ceremony following today’s game against the Springfield Falcons at the Cumberland County Civic Center.

Marc-Andre Gragnani was chosen as a double winner selected by the fans as the Most Popular Player as well as the Unsung Hero. The veteran defenseman, currently on recall with the Buffalo Sabres, is second in team scoring with 12 goals and 48 assists for 60 points in 63 games. His assist and point totals are new Pirates records for a defenseman. Gragnani’s season also included capturing the Eddie Shore Award as the AHL’s outstanding defenseman as well as being named a First Team All-Star.

For the second straight season Mark Mancari was selected as the Pirates Most Valuable Player, presented by Maine Medical Center. The 25 year-old London, Ontario native, who is also on recall with the Sabres, scored 32 goals and 32 assists for 64 points in 56 games with the Pirates during the 2010-11 season. At the time of his recall Mancari, a First Team AHL All-Star, was the leading goal scorer in the AHL and among the league leaders in points.

Luke Adam won the Jack Button Memorial Award, presented annually to honor Buffalo’s top prospect. The Award is named in honor of the late Jack Button, who was a member of the Washington Capitals Hockey Department from 1979 until his death in 1996. Adam, the AHL’s Rookie-of-the-Year and a member of the AHL’s All-Rookie Team, finished his freshman campaign with 29 goals and 33 assists for 62 points in 56 games to rank second in AHL scoring.

Derek Whitmore was selected for the Tom Ebright Award, presented to the player who best exemplifies what it means to be a member of the Portland Pirates, as envisioned by team founder, the late Tom Ebright. Whitmore was also recognized for being selected as the Pirates IOA/American Specialty AHL Man of the Year Award winner for a third straight season.

Mark Parrish was chosen by his teammates as the Player’s Player Award winner. Parrish was identified by his peers as a player they felt represents the team’s character and values while Paul Bryon was named the Sparkplug of the Year, presented by Mister Sparky, and the Allied Home Mortgage Three Star Award winner.

Each season, the Pirates honor a special partner who has shown exemplary partnership and support during the year. This season, the Pirates honored C5 Sports as their 2011 Partner of the Year.

Byron named inaugural Mister Sparky Spark Plug of the Year


Paul Byron, a 2007 draft pick of the Buffalo Sabres, was was named the inaugural Mister Sparky Spark Plug Player of the Year today.

Paul Byron 2010-2011 Mister Sparky
Spark Plug of the Year Award Winner
Shawn LaPlante, from Mister Sparky in Portland, said "Paul Byron is a hard-working team player who always gives 110%. We were looking for a player who provides game-changing plays both offensively and defensively. His work ethic is impressive and it's evident every time he steps onto the ice. We are proud to have Paul represent Mister Sparky, America's On Time Electrician as the Spark Plug of the Year."

Byron, an alumni of the QMJHL

Other Award Winners

The Portland Pirates announced their annual team award winners in a ceremony following today’s game against the Springfield Falcons at the Cumberland County Civic Center.

Marc-Andre Gragnani was chosen as a double winner selected by the fans as the Most Popular Player as well as the Unsung Hero. The veteran defenseman, currently on recall with the Buffalo Sabres, is second in team scoring with 12 goals and 48 assists for 60 points in 63 games. His assist and point totals are new Pirates records for a defenseman. Gragnani’s season also included capturing the Eddie Shore Award as the AHL’s outstanding defenseman as well as being named a First Team All-Star.

For the second straight season Mark Mancari was selected as the Pirates Most Valuable Player, presented by Maine Medical Center. The 25 year-old London, Ontario native, who is also on recall with the Sabres, scored 32 goals and 32 assists for 64 points in 56 games with the Pirates during the 2010-11 season. At the time of his recall Mancari, a First Team AHL All-Star, was the leading goal scorer in the AHL and among the league leaders in points.
Luke Adam won the Jack Button Memorial Award, presented annually to honor Buffalo’s top prospect.  The Award is named in honor of the late Jack Button, who was a member of the Washington Capitals Hockey Department from 1979 until his death in 1996. Adam, the AHL’s Rookie-of-the-Year and a member of the AHL’s All-Rookie Team, finished his freshman campaign with 29 goals and 33 assists for 62 points in 56 games to rank second in AHL scoring.

Derek Whitmore was selected for the Tom Ebright Award, presented to the player who best exemplifies what it means to be a member of the Portland Pirates, as envisioned by team founder, the late Tom Ebright. Whitmore was also recognized for being selected as the Pirates IOA/American Specialty AHL Man of the Year Award winner for a third straight season.

Mark Parrish was chosen by his teammates as the Player’s Player Award winner. Parrish was identified by his peers as a player they felt represents the team’s character and values while Paul Bryon was named the Sparkplug of the Year, presented by Mister Sparky, and the Allied Home Mortgage Three Star Award winner.

Each season, the Pirates honor a special partner who has shown exemplary partnership and support during the year. This season, the Pirates honored C5 Sports as their 2011 Partner of the Year.

The Pirates begin their pursuit of the 2011 Calder Cup in a best-of-seven series against the Connecticut Whale beginning Thursday, April 14th at 7 p.m. at the Cumberland County Civic Center. Pirates Playoff Hockey MISSION: 16W, powered by Time Warner Cable continues with Game 2 of the series Saturday, April 16th at 7 p.m. at the CCCC. Advance tickets are $18 for Adult Premium Main Deck, $17 for Adult Main Deck and $14 Adult Quarter Deck. Advance tickets for Youth/Senior/Student in the Premium Main Deck are $13 and $12 in the Main Deck or Quarter Deck. Get your tickets at the Civic Center Box Office, by calling (207) 775-3458 or at portlandpirates.com.

MAINEiacs even up series against Montreal 1-1


Olivier Dame-Malka had an afternoon of historic proportions on Saturday, playing in front of his family and friends in game two of the Lewiston MAINEiacs' best-of-seven series against the Montreal Junior. Dame-Malka lit the lamp four times, helping his team to a 6-2 victory, evening the series at one game each.

Both teams found the twine in the first period with power play goals. The Junior opened the scoring at the 3:57 mark, when Charles-Olivier Roussel rang a shot in off of the crossbar from the side of the right circle. Later in the period, Lewiston pulled even, as Olivier Dame-Malka rifled in a slap shot from the right point.

In the second period, Montreal jumped out to a 2-1 lead. Philippe Lefebvre took a shot from the top of the right circle that got bounced around in the slot. The loose puck found Jeremy Gouchie's stick, and with an empty net in front of him, Gouchie deposited the marker. With 19 seconds remaining in the frame, Lewiston tied the score, as Sam Carrier set up Olivier Dame-Malka for a one-timer from the right point, which he drilled into the top part of the net.

With the score tied at two, the MAINEiacs exploded, netting four tallies in the final eight minutes of the contest. Olivier Dame-Malka fired home his third and fourth goals of the afternoon, using slap shots to find the twine on both. With 2:20 to go, Antoine Houde-Caron iced the win with an empty netter, before Pierre-Olivier Morin's power play goal was scored with ten seconds remaining. Dame-Malka assisted on Morin's tally, giving him a five-point game.

Nicholas Champion was splendid between the pipes for Lewiston, turning aside 32 of the 34 shots he faced in the win. Jean-Francois Berube allowed five goals on 32 shots in the loss.

The MAINEiacs and Junior will now head to Lewiston for games three and four of the series, with game three taking place at 7:00 on Tuesday night.

Portland Pirates to face Connecticut Whale in 1st Round of AHL Playoffs



The Portland Pirates shootout win over the Albany Devils combined with a Connecticut Whale 4-3 loss to the Bridgeport Sound Tigers tonight means the Pirates will face the Whale in the opening round of the 2011 Calder Cup Playoffs beginning with Game 1 to be played Thursday, April 14th at 7 p.m. at the Cumberland County Civic Center.

Game 2 of the best-of-seven series will be played Saturday, April 16th at 7 p.m. at the Civic Center with the series shifting to Connecticut for Games 3 and 4. The complete opening round playoff schedule will be announced upon the conclusion of regular season play tomorrow night.

Tickets for the first round of Portland Pirates Playoff Hockey MISSION: 16W, powered by Time Warner Cable will go on sale tomorrow (Sunday) at noon at the Cumberland County Civic Center Box Office, by calling 207-775-3458, visiting the Cumberland County Civic Center Box Office or on-line at ticketmaster.com.

The Pirates will be back in action at the Civic Center tomorrow in the regular season finale when the Springfield Falcons come to town for a 4 p.m. faceoff. The first 2,500 through the gate will receive a free Pirates T-shirt courtesy of Five County Credit Union. The Shirts Off Their Backs promotion will come to a conclusion on Sunday, as a select number of lucky fans will win a player’s jersey right off their back at the end of the game. In addition, players will be recognized at the end of the game in the Creative Awards Team Awards Ceremony. Fans can also take advantage of the final Sunday Family Five Pack game where they can purchase five Main Deck Tickets, five Daily Scrolls, and five Chuck-a-Pies for only $60 (valued at $100 if purchased individually).

Tickets for the game, as well as each of the remaining Pirates home games, are on sale now by calling 207-775-3458, visiting the Cumberland County Civic Center Box Office or on-line at ticketmaster.com.

Pirates tame Albany Devils in Shootout, win 3-2

Paul Byron and Derek Whitmore scored in the shootout and John Muse stopped four of five attempts as the Portland Pirates clinched the Atlantic Division Title with a 3-2 win over the Albany Devils in an American Hockey League game played tonight at the Times Union Center.

Travis Turnbull and Byron, on a second-period penalty shot, scored in regulation for the Pirates, who improved to 47-24-6-2 on the season and captured their first division title since 2005-06.
Matt Anderson and Mike Hoeffel scored power-play goals for the Devils, now 32-41-1-5 on the season.

The Devils opened the scoring just 26 seconds into the game as Anderson scored on the power play. Turnbull (in his first game since November 27th) answered the early goal midway through the period leaving the game tied at one after one. Byron gave the Pirates their first lead of the game six minutes into the second period when he scored on a penalty shot but the Devils netted their second power-play goal of the game in the final 10 seconds of the period to send the two teams into the third tied at two. Neither team was able to score in the third or overtime setting up the shootout.

The Devils out shot the Pirates 35-25 as Muse posted his first AHL victory in his first AHL start.

The Allied Home Mortgage Three Stars of the Game were 1. Byron, 2. Devils forward Chad Wiseman (two assists) and 3. Whitmore.

The Pirates will be back in action at the Civic Center tomorrow in the regular season finale when the Springfield Falcons come to town for a 4 p.m. faceoff. The first 2,500 through the gate will receive a free Pirates T-shirt courtesy of Five County Credit Union. The Shirts Off Their Backs promotion will come to a conclusion on Sunday, as a select number of lucky fans will win a player’s jersey right off their back at the end of the game. In addition, players will be recognized at the end of the game in the Creative Awards Team Awards Ceremony. Fans can also take advantage of the final Sunday Family Five Pack game where they can purchase five Main Deck Tickets, five Daily Scrolls, and five Chuck-a-Pies for only $60 (valued at $100 if purchased individually).

Tickets for the game, as well as each of the remaining Pirates home games, are on sale now by calling 207-775-3458, visiting the Cumberland County Civic Center Box Office or on-line at ticketmaster.com.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Bruins slip past Pirates

Jordan Caron scored a pair of goals to lead the Providence Bruins to a 5-4 win over the Portland Pirates in an American Hockey League game played tonight in front of 8,871 at the Dunkin’ Donut Center.

Jordan Lavalle-Smotherman, Zach Hamill and Stefan Chaput also scored for the Bruins, who improved to 36-36-3-3 on the season.

Paul Byron paced the Pirates with a goal and two assists while Luke Adam and Mark Parrish collected a goal and an assist each. Portland saw their two-game winning streak end and are now 46-24-6-2 on the season.

The two teams played through a scoreless opening period. The Pirates grabbed the lead early in the second with goals by Parrish and Biega (featuring assists from Eric Baier and Joe Whitney for their first AHL points) in the span of 50 seconds. The Bruins responded with the final three goals of the period to carry a 3-2 lead into third. Smotherman got the Bruins rolling just 1:13 after the Biega goal and Caron netted back-to-back goals to put the home side up by one. Hamill and Chaput struck in the opening seven minutes of the third to build the Bruins lead to 5-2 before Adam and Byron connected to make for an exciting finish.

The Bruins out shot the Pirates 37-30 in the game as David Leggio took the loss.
The Allied Home Mortgage Three Stars of the Game were 1. Caron; 2. Hamill and 3. Byron.

-PIRATES-

Friday, April 8, 2011

Duffy released from tryout, Pirates sign two more

The Portland Pirates of the American Hockey League announced today that they have signed forwards Joe Whitney and Shawn Szydlowski to amateur tryouts.

Whitney joins the Pirates after a four-year career, highlighted by two National Titles (2008 and 2010), at Boston College. In 161 games the 23 year-old Reading, MA native recorded 40 goals and 102 assists for 142 points, tied for 29th on the school’s career points list and he is one of only 15 players in Boston College history to record 100 or more career assists. The 5-foot-6, 172-pound forward scored five goals and 26 assists for 31 points in 39 games in 2010-11 to finish his collegiate career.

Szydlowski comes to the Pirates after four years with the Erie Otters in the Ontario Hockey League. The 20 year-old St. Clair Shores, MI native capped off his junior career with a career season in 2010-11, registering 41 goals and 37 assists for 78 points in 61 games. In 258 games with the Otters the 6-foot, 208-pound forward scored 94 goals and 103 assists for 197 points.

In another roster move, the Pirates released Matt Duffy from his tryout agreement. The Windham, ME native played two games for the Pirates without registering a point.

--PIRATES--

Gustav Nyquist Named Second Team All-American

Former University of Maine men's ice hockey junior forward Gustav Nyquist (Malmo, Sweden) was named to the AHCA Men's Division I All-America Second Team on Friday, April 8. It was just one of many honors that the standout has received during his career. The All-American teams were announced Friday night at the Frozen Four.

It is the 39th time in Maine history that a player has been named an All-American. Nyquist was named a First Team All-American in 2010. He becomes the eighth player in Maine history to be named a two-time All-American. Jean Yves Roy was a three-time All-American, while David Capuano, Keith Carney, Chris Imes, Michel Léveillé, Jim Montgomery and Jeff Tory join Nyquist as two-time All-Americans.

Nyquist was named to the 2011 Hockey East First Team and was named one of the 10 finalists for the 2011 Hobey Baker Award, which was presented on Friday night to Miami's Andy Miele. He also earned a spot on the 2010–2011 New England Men's Division I All-Star Team.

Nyquist led Maine in scoring for the third straight season with 18 goals and 33 assists for 51 points. He had six power play goals, two short-handed tallies and a pair of game-winners. Nyquist saw action in 113 career games for the Black Bears. He scored 50 goals and added 94 assists for 144 points. He finishes tied for 17th on Maine's all-time scoring list.

Among his career highlights are: 2010 Hobey Baker Hat Trick, 2010 First Team RBK Hockey / AHCA Men's Division I All-American, 2010 All-College Hockey News First Team, 2010 CollegeHockey247.com All-American, 2010 Inside College Hockey All-America First Team, Runner-Up for 2010 Hockey East Player of the Year, 2010 Hockey East All-Tournament Team, ESPN The Magazine / COSIDA District I Academic All-District Second Team.

Nyquist also excels in the classroom. An economics major, he has been named a Maine Scholar-Athlete Award winner twice in his career. He was a finalist for the 2011 M Club Dean Smith Award, presented annually to the top male and female student-athletes at Maine. He has also been named to the Hockey East Academic Honor Roll.

-U-M-

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Adam named AHL Outstanding Rookie

The American Hockey League announced today that forward Luke Adam of the Portland Pirates has been named the winner of the Dudley (Red) Garrett Memorial Award as the AHL’s outstanding rookie for the 2010-11 season, as voted by AHL coaches, players and media in each of the league’s 30 member cities.

Adam, a second-round draft choice by the Buffalo Sabres in 2008, ranks among the AHL’s rookie leaders with 28 goals (1st), 32 assists (tied for 3rd), 60 points (2nd) and a plus-22 rating (2nd) in 54 games for Portland this season. The 20-year-old native of St. John’s, N.L., began the season with two goals and two assists in an opening-night win over Manchester on Oct. 9, the first of his 16 multiple-point efforts on the year, and his 11-game scoring streak from Feb. 26 to Mar. 22 was the longest by an AHL rookie forward since 2005. Adam made his National Hockey League debut with Buffalo on Oct. 26 and has totaled three goals and one assist in 19 NHL games with the Sabres.

This award, which was first presented by the AHL in 1947, honors the late Dudley (Red) Garrett, a promising young player who lost his life during World War II while serving in the Royal Canadian Navy. Garrett split his only pro season, 1942-43, between the AHL’s Providence Reds and the NHL’s New York Rangers.

Adam becomes the third consecutive Portland skater to win the Garrett Award, following Nathan Gerbe in 2008-09 and Tyler Ennis in 2009-10. Other previous winners of the Garrett Award include Terry Sawchuk (1949), Wally Hergesheimer (1951), Jimmy Anderson (1955), Bill Sweeney (1958), Roger Crozier (1964), Gerry Desjardins (1968), Rick Middleton (1974), Darryl Sutter (1980), Pelle Lindbergh (1981), Steve Thomas (1985), Ron Hextall (1986), Brett Hull (1987), Felix Potvin (1992), Darcy Tucker (1996), Daniel Briere (1998), Darren Haydar (2003), Rene Bourque (2005), Patrick O'Sullivan (2006), Brett Sterling (2007) and Teddy Purcell (2008).

--AHL--

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Pirates overthrow Monarchs

Luke Adam scored the game-winning-goal with 31 seconds remaining in the extra overtime period to lead the Portland Pirates to a 6-5 victory over the Manchester Monarchs in an American Hockey League game played tonight in front of 3,565 at the Cumberland County Civic Center.

Adam and Paul Byron each totaled two goals for the night, and Colin Stuart and Derek Whitmore added a single tally of their own as the Pirates won their second straight and improved their record to 46-23-6-2 overall. With the overtime victory, Portland is one point away from clinching their first division title since 2007-08.

Viatcheslav Voynov, John Zeiler, David Kolomatis, Patrick Mullen and Bud Holloway each scored for Manchester as they dropped to 43-25-4-6 on the season.

The two teams traded goals in the first period, with Byron netting a power-play goal at 8:42 to give the hosts a lead that was cancelled out by a Voynov shot from the point with just under three minutes remaining. Manchester got off to a hot start in the second period, as Zeiler tallied his eighth of the season only 58 seconds into the period and Kolomatis boosted the lead to two with his eighth of the year at 4:09. Three minutes after Kolomatis’ goal, Byron scored his second power-play goal of the game to cut the lead to one. Manchester and Portland would continue to alternate goals as Mullen found the back of the net at the 11:46 mark and Stuart netting another Pirates power-play goal nearly two minutes later. The Pirates continued their surge with an explosive sequence seven minutes into the third period as Adam registered Portland’s fourth power-play goal of the game followed by a Whitmore strike only 12 seconds later to give the hosts their first lead since the first period. Holloway ended the streak with a power-play goal of his own at the 14:58 mark to send the game to overtime, where Adam ended up sealing the game for Portland.

The Pirates outshot the Monarchs 35-32, and Jeff Jakaitis earned the victory for Portland, raising his record to 5-3-0. Jeff Zatkoff received the loss in net for Manchester as his overall record dropped to 20-16-5.

The Allied Home Mortgage Three Stars of the game were all from Portland: 1. Adam, 2. Byron and 3. Dennis Persson (three assists).

--PIRATES--

Pirates sign Baier, Muse to tryout contracts

The Portland Pirates of the American Hockey League announced today that they have signed defenseman Eric Baier and goaltender John Museto to amateur tryout.

The 23 year-old from North Kingston, RI comes to Pirates after completing a four-year career at Providence College where he registered a career high five goals and seven assists for 12 points in 34 games in 2010-11. The 6-foot-2, 210-pound defender played 127 games during his collegiate career collecting nine goals and 23 assists for 32 points.

Baier, the younger brother of former Pirates defenseman Paul Baier, played six games with Reading of the ECHL prior to signing with the Pirates.

Muse, who practiced with the Pirates this morning, recently completed a four-year career at Boston College where he helped lead the Eagles to two National Championships (2008 and 2010). During the 2010-11 season the 22 year-old East Falmouth, MA native posted 27 wins, four shutouts and a 2.30 goals against average in 34 games.

In his career the 5-foot-11 backstop collected 89 wins in 144 career appearances.

--PORTLAND PIRATES--

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Pirates take a bite out of the Sharks in 2 -1 Shootout Win


Mark Parrish scored the lone shootout goal and Jeff Jakaitis was a perfect five-for-five in leading the Portland Pirates to a 2-1 victory over the Worcester Sharks in an American Hockey League game played tonight at the DCU Center.
          
Paul Byron netted Portland’s only regulation goal as the Pirates ended a three-game losing streak. Portland improved to 45-23-6-2 on the season and three points up on Manchester for first in the Atlantic Division.
T.J. Trevelyan scored for the Sharks, who dropped to 36-29-4-8 on the season.

The Pirates jumped out to a quick start as Byron scored just 57 seconds into the game to give Portland a 1-0 lead after one. The two teams were scoreless through the second sending the game into the third with the Pirates leading 1-0. Trevelyan tied it eight minutes into the third to set the stage for a scoreless overtime and the shootout to decide the game.
The Sharks out shot the Pirates 37-31 in the game as Jakaitis posted the victory.

The Allied Home Mortgage Three Stars of the Game were 1. Jakaitis; 2. Parrish and 3. Sharks goalie Harri Sateri.
            
The Pirates return to the Civic Center tomorrow (Wednesday) when the Manchester Monarchs come to town for a 6:30 p.m. game at the Civic Center. It’s Autism Awareness Night presented by the Portland Press Herald and the Pirates will be wearing commemorative jerseys accented with bright puzzle pieces, the international symbol of autism. Funds will be raised for the Autism Society of Maine through advance ticket sales and corporate sponsorships. For tickets or sponsorship opportunities, contact Ben Nickerson at 207-828-4665 x 317 or bnickerson@portlandpirates.com.
            
Tickets for the game, as well as each of the remaining Pirates home games, are on sale now by calling 207-775-3458, visiting the Cumberland County Civic Center Box Office or on-line at ticketmaster.com.

-PORTLAND PIRATES-

Gragnani gets some hardware

The American Hockey League announced today that Marc-Andre Gragnani of the Portland Pirates has been named the winner of the Eddie Shore Award as the AHL’s outstanding defenseman for the 2010-11 season, as voted by AHL coaches, players and members of the media in each of the league’s 30 cities.

Gragnani leads all AHL defensemen in assists (48) and points (60) and ranks fourth among blueliners with a plus-22 rating – all career highs – in 63 games for Portland this season. On the Pirates’ roster, Gragnani is tops in assists and plus/minus and second in points to help lead his team’s bid for an Atlantic Division title. The 24-year-old native of Montreal has set Pirates franchise records for assists and points in a season by a defenseman, and he tied the club’s single-game mark with five assists vs. Worcester on Jan. 15. He also had a string of six consecutive multiple-point games from Mar. 1-12, part of a seven-game scoring streak overall, and ranked second in the entire AHL during March with 20 points (3-17-20) in 13 contests.

Gragnani, a third-round draft pick by Buffalo in 2005, has also appeared in six games with the Sabres this season. His first career NHL point was the assist on the game-winning goal vs. the New York Rangers on Mar. 30, and his first NHL goal was the overtime winner at Carolina on Apr. 3.

A fourth-year pro, Gragnani has totaled 47 goals and 159 assists for 206 points in 283 career AHL games.

This award, which was first presented by the AHL in 1959, honors the late Eddie Shore, a member of both the Hockey Hall of Fame and the American Hockey League Hall of Fame who is widely regarded as one of hockey’s greatest defensemen. Shore won a total of five Calder Cups in his career, including two as the general manager of the Buffalo Bisons and three as the longtime owner of the Springfield Indians. Previous winners of the Eddie Shore Award include Steve Kraftcheck (1959), Al Arbour (1965), Noel Price (1970, ’72, ’76), Brian Engblom (1977), Terry Murray (1978, ’79), Brad Shaw (1987), Dave Fenyves (1988, ’89), Eric Weinrich (1990), Darren Rumble (1997), John Slaney (2001, ’02), Curtis Murphy (2003, ’04), Niklas Kronwall (2005), Sheldon Brookbank (2007), Andrew Hutchinson (2008) and Johnny Boychuk (2009).

-AHL COMMUNICATIONS-

@PortlandPirates sign 2nd Maine Black Bear in week, Matt Duffy

The Maine Sports Network has learned that the Portland Pirates have signed former Maine Black Bear defenseman, Windham Maine native Matt Duffy.

Update: Here's the Official release:
The Portland Pirates of the American Hockey League announced today that they have signed defensemen Matt Duffy to a professional tryout.

The 25 year-old Windham, Maine native arrives in Portland after splitting the 2010-11 season between Kalamazoo and Gwinnett of the ECHL where he registered four goals and 10 assists for 14 points in 56 games. The 6-foot-2, 201-pound blue liner has 20 games of AHL experience, suiting up with the Rochester Americans for a total of 20 games, collecting three goals and eight assists for 11 points, in parts of two seasons (2008-09 and 2009-10).

Prior to turning pro Duffy enjoyed a four-year career at the University of Maine. In 135 games he scored 21 goals and 22 assists for 43 points.

In other roster moves earlier this week, the Pirates released forwards Mark Voakes and John Scrymgeour and defenseman Nick Tuzzolino from their tryout agreements.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Casco Bay Hockey Brings Home National Championship

The Casco Bay Mariners took on the best that the nation had to offer and defeated all challengers, winning the U-14 Tier 2 National Youth Hockey Championship. The team, comprised of players from Cumberland, North Yarmouth, Yarmouth, Falmouth, Portland, and Cape Elizabeth, defeated the Nashville Junior Predators 5-0 in the final to bring home the organization's first championship. In six tournament games held in Williamsville, NY the Mariners outscored their opponents 45-1, including an 8-0 thrashing of the Atlanta Fire in the semifinals.

The team was given a hero's welcome upon their return to the Family Ice Arena in Falmouth. Coach John Hart could not have been more proud of his players or their parents for their support. I had a chance to catch up with Coach Hart and assistant coach Dave Weatherbie and get their thoughts on the team and the tournament.
-Wil Kramlich-


Coaches Interviews

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Whale swallow up Pirates

Dale Weise scored a pair of goals to lead the Connecticut Whale to a 4-2 win over the Portland Pirates in an American Hockey League game played this afternoon in front of 4,321 at the XL Center.

Jeremy Williams and Derek Couture netted the other goals for the Whale, who ended a four-game losing streak with the win and are now 39-30-2-6 on the season.

Colin Stuart and Mark Parrish scored for the Pirates, who dropped their third straight and are now 44-23-6-2 on the campaign.

The Whale jumped out quickly as Williams and Weise scored in a span of 22 seconds in the opening four minutes of the game to account for all of the first period offense and give the home side an early 2-0 advantage. Couture netted the lone goal of the second on a late period power play to send the Whale into the third up 3-0. Weise netted his second of the game early in the third to up the Whale lead to 4-0 before Stuart and Parrish connected the final half of the third to complete the scoring.
The Allied Home Mortgage Three Stars of the Game were all from the Whale. Weise was the first, Mats Zuccarello (two assists) the second and Kris Newbury the third.

--PIRATES COMMUNICATIONS--

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