03/27/2013 10:00 PM
The Portland Pirates fell 3-2 to Atlantic Division rival the Providence Bruins Wednesday night at the Cumberland County Civic Center. Ryan Spooner and Niklas Svedberg continued their personal success against the Pirates, and helped the Bruins stretch their division lead to ten points.
The Pirates brought the physical intensity of a division rivalry early on. Chris Conner sent Bruins’ defenseman Colby Cohen flying while going for a loose puck, and Phil Lane came out with a big hit on his first shift. However, the Bruins were able to get on the scoreboard first. Already on the penalty kill because of a Brendan Shinnimin hooking call, the Pirates would go down two men as Alexandre Bolduc was called for unsportsmanlike conduct for spraying the goalie with snow. Spooner capitalized on the power play, taking a cross-ice feed from Craig Cunningham and beating starter Mike Lee just under the cross bar to give the Bruins the lead at 9:20 of the first.
The Pirate-killer Spooner would strike again in the second. This time it was Cunningham on the back door to pick up a rebound off a Spooner shot to give the Bruins a 2-0 lead at 6:21. The assist gave Spooner his 11th point in nine games against the Pirates this season. The Pirates responded with a pair of quick goals. First, Jordan Martinook buried the rebound on a Nick Johnson wraparound attempt under Svedberg at 12:02 for his eighth of the year and 5th of the year against Providence. Ethan Werek tied the game nine seconds later on a blast from inside the faceoff circle. The Pirates carried the momentum after the goals, but Svedberg would deny them the lead. With just under two minutes remaining in the second period, former Pirate Graham Mink banked in a rebound off Lee from behind the goal to give Providence the 3-2 lead. It looked as if the Bruins had extended the lead as a David Warsofsky shot from the point found the back of the net as the horn sounded; however, officials waved the goal off after a review.
Despite being outshot in the third, the Pirates had some of the better scoring chances. Portland was unable to capitalize on their only power play of the final frame, a kneeing penalty to Justin Florek at 8:27, and ended the night 0 for 5 on the man advantage. Svedberg secured the win for the Bruins with his play down the stretch and improved his personal record to 5-2-0-1 against the Pirates this season.
The Bruins improve to 40-20-0-5, with Niklas Svedberg improving 31-7-2-3 after notching his 5th win this season against the Pirates. The Pirates fall to 35-25-3-2, with Mike Lee dropping to 6-4-0-0. 2 of Lee’s 4 losses this season have come at the hands of Providence. Portland maintains the 5th spot in the Eastern Conference with 75 points, 3 points ahead of idle Connecticut, who play in Worcester tomorrow.
The Pirates get back to action Friday night as they host the Manchester for the final home matchup in the VIP Cup Series, presented by VIP Parts, Tires & Service. Puck drop is set for 7 as the Pirates try to prevent the Monarchs from clinching the VIP Cup on their home ice.
The game can be heard on 95.5 and 95.9 WPEI in the Portland area, 92.7 and 100.7 FM WOXO FM in the Lewiston/Auburn area, and online on portlandpiratesraddio.com and AHL Live, with the pregame show starting with 6:40 with Jeff Mannix.
Tickets are still available by calling (207) 828-4665 ext. 350 or online at ticketmaster.com