11/13/2013 1:57 PM
After a pair of wins against the Worcester Sharks Veteran's Day Weekend, the Portland Pirates were back on the ice Tuesday preparing for their next challenge--a weekend of three games against three different opponents.
The Pirates will start their games on Friday with a home game against the Manchester Monarchs. The Pirates are 0-0-0-1 against the Monarchs (9-2-1-2) this season, having dropped their season opener in a shootout 3-2. On Saturday, the team will play in Lewiston again, this time against the Springfield Falcons (8-3-0-1), a team they have yet to face in the 2013-14 season, before finishing off their weekend on Sunday in Providence (7-4-0-2) to avenge a 3-2 defeat earlier this season.
While the schedule sounds tough, coach Ray Edwards says his team will train the same.
"You don't really prepare any different," Edwards says. "From a coaching perspective, you need to get three sort of pre-scouts ready so we're prepared but from a player's perspective, their routine will stay the same."
Pirates defenseman Brandon Gormely agreed, saying this is just another normal week for him and his teammates.
"You just have to take care of your body during the week and obviously practice hard here and get ready to go," he said. "Same as usual."
That means practices are just as intense leading up to the grueling schedule at the end of the week. And while it may sound tough on the players, they are excited to get more game action.
"It's good to get going, play some games like this," says Gormely. "Right now, we've been battling here in practice quite a bit with each other and it will be nice to take some aggression out on someone else."
So far this year, the Pirates have compiled a 4-5-0-1 record through ten games, which puts them towards the bottom of the Eastern Conference, though they have played less games than every other Eastern team, other than Worcester.
And while their record is not quite where they would like it, Edwards says the team's compete level has been right where it should be.
"I think we've had one poor game, which was the first St. John's game," Edwards says. "The other nine games, we've had a chance to win. We've played fairly consistent and had a chance to win all but one game."
Coming off of a weekend that saw the Pirates grab four big points, Edwards still sees plenty of room for improvement with his squad.
"There's nothing in our game right now that we can say, 'Okay, that's perfect, we don't have to work on that anymore,'" the coach says. "But it's important not to identify too many things because you need to focus on the two or three most important things, manage those and work on those."
Gormley agrees that there are both positives and negatives to be taken away from their play, and it starts with playing sharper on both ends of the puck.
"We're getting a lot of chances I feel and we should even be scoring some more goals than we are I think," he says. "Defensively, I think we've got to buckle down as well. We want to get our goals against down a little bit."
The Pirates have allowed 31 goals just ten games into the season, while scoring 29 themselves. With Chris Brown, the second leading scorer on the team with 3-5-8, being recalled by Phoenix, the team will have to count on others to put the puck in the net. While notching some wins under their belt would be great, the most important thing the coach is looking for is playing well enough to earn a win, night in and night out.
"The biggest thing in this league is being consistent," Edwards says. "You've got to come to work every night, put yourself with an opportunity to win. Hopefully, as we get better as a team and get more chemistry and star tot play to more of an identity, those games where we're consistent, we'll find ways to get points."
Friday's game against Manchester will have a special start time of 7:30 p.m. while Saturday's game against Springfield will begin at 7 p.m. Friday’s game is the second game of the season long VIP Cup Series, presented by VIP Tires & Service, which the Monarchs lead 1-0 this season. Tickets are available at the Colisee Box Office by calling (207) 783-2009 or online at thecolisee.com.