04/10/2013 10:00 PM
The Portland Pirates dropped their 3rd straight game, falling by a 4-3 score to the St. John’s IceCaps. The Pirates loss allowed the Providence Bruins to clinch the 2012-13 Atlantic Division title, and remain 7 points away from clinching a 2013 Calder Cup Playoff spot.
The first 14 minutes of the game were scoreless with quality back and forth action, highlighted by Matt Clackson’s first fight with the Pirates against Ray Sawada. The IceCaps would capitalize on the momentum following a Brett Hextall penalty, as Kael Mouillierat tipped in Josh Linden’s shot for the power play goal with 5:46 left in the first. St. John’s would go back on the power play, but the Portland penalty kill was up to the task, and the first period ended with the Pirates down 1-0.
The second started out with the IceCaps extending their lead. Vinny Saponari scored his first professional goal just 2:01 into the period to give the IceCaps a 2-0 lead. Darian Dziurzynski got the Pirates on the board, taking a Phil Lane feed and putting it past Mark Dekanich with 15:24 left in the second. Jordan Martinook then tied the game for the Pirates with just 1 second left on the power play with 11:26 left in the second. However, the IceCaps would respond, with Jason Jaffray using a Will O'Neill feed to beat Chad Johnson to give St. John’s the 3-2 lead with 5:22 left in the second. It looked as if the Pirates had tied the game on an Andy Miele goal just a couple minutes later, but the goal was waived off due to a crease violation by Evan Brophey, and the Pirates remained behind 3-2 after 2.
The IceCaps extended their lead early, with Carl Klingberg adding the powerplay tally just 1:56 into the period. Despite increased pressure from the IceCaps, the Pirates did not allow another goal, and ratcheted up the pressure. David Rundblad brought the Pirates within 1 with a powerplay tally off a Brendan Shinniminwith 2:38 left, but the Pirates were unable to tie up the score.
The Pirates fall to 38-28-3-2 on the season, withChad Johnson dropping to 16-14-2 on the season after making 23 saves on 27 shots. Portland’s magic number to clinch a 2013 Calder Cup playoff spot remains 7 points, and they remain 3 points back of Wilkes-Barre/Scranton for the 5th spot in the east and 3 points ahead of the Connecticut Whale. With the Portland loss, the Providence Bruins clinched the 2013 Atlantic Division title.
The Pirates get back to action Sunday afternoon when they host the Hershey Bears at the Cumberland County Civic Center. Puck drop is set for 4 PM. The Pirates will present their Team Awards, presented by Creative Awards and the Shirts off their Backs following the game.
Sunday’sgame can be heard on 1310 AM WLOB, and online on portlandpiratesradio.com and AHL Live, with the pregame show starting at 3:40 with Jeff Mannix.
Tickets are still available by calling (207) 828-4665 ext. 350 or online at ticketmaster.com