03/22/2013 10:00 PM
The Portland Pirates were able to put a slow start behind them to beat the St.John’s IceCaps 5-2 Friday night at the Civic Center. Mark Visentin stopped 31 of 33 shots in his first start since February 11th. Portland now has a 4 point lead on 5th place, picking up 2 points on the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins.
Pirates’ starter Mark Visentin had to be sharp early. St. John’s tested the rookie goalie right from the opening faceoff, jumping out to an 11-1 lead in shots. The IceCaps would only have one of those shots find the back of the net, with Aaron Gagnon burying a one-timer to give the IceCaps a 1-0 lead at 11:51 of the 1st. The Pirates responded late in the first, as captain Alexandre Bolduc jammed a loose puck out from under IceCaps starter Mark Dekanich and into the back of the net. The play was reviewed and ruled a goal, Bolduc’s 24th of the season at 16:37 of the first.
After a slashing call to Jordan Martinook 3:58 into the second, Jordan Szwarz was hauled down on a shorthanded breakaway. Szwarz was given a penalty shot, snapping a shot over Dekanich’s glove for his 10th of the year, and the first Pirates’ goal on a penalty shot this season. Later in the second, the Pirates would capitalize on a power play of their own. Chris Brown tipped home a Brandon Gormley shot from the point for his 24th of the season to make it 3-1 Pirates. The goal was Brown’s 12th power play goal of the season.
The Pirates kept the pressure on St. John’s in the third. Chris Conner made a quick move, pulling the puck to his backhand and finding Andy Miele with a pass for the tap-in goal at 5:25 of the third. The goal was Miele’s 14th on the season, and sixth point during his 5 game point streak. After David Rundblad was called for holding at 8:28, Eric O’Dell cut the Pirates lead to 2, blistered a shot past Visentin from the just inside the right circle. Jordan Szwarz put the game out of reach for Portland with his second goal of the night, and 11th of the season. Szwarz picked up his own rebound after his initial shot slipped through Dekanich, poking the puck into an open goal to make it 5-2.
The Pirates improve to 35-22-3-2 on the season and now have 75 points on the year, with Mark Visentin improving to 12-9-1-2. The IceCaps fall to 25-33-1-4, while Mark Dekanich drops to 10-12-0-2.
The Pirates get back to action tomorrow night as they host the IceCaps for the final time in Portland this season.Puck drop is set for 7 PM from the DCU Center in Worcester.The game can be heard on 95.5 and 95.9 WPEI in the Portland area, 92.7FM and 100.7 FM WOXO FM in the Lewiston/Auburn area, and online on portlandpiratesraddio.com and AHL Live. Tickets are still available by calling (207) 828-4665 ext. 350 or online at ticketmaster.com