Pirates Sunk by Whale, Drop Out of First

02/15/2013 10:00 PM -
The Portland Pirates were defeated by the Connecticut Whale by a 4-1 score at the XL Center on Friday. The loss, combined with the Providence Bruins’ 7-3 victory over Bridgeport, drops the Pirates out of first place in the Atlantic Division for the first time since December, and gives the Whale their third straight victory over the Pirates.
The Whale got the scoring underway just over 9 minutes into the first period. Christian Thomas scored the opening tally with 11:21 left in the 1stwith assists going to Kelsey Tessier and Michael Haley and the Pirates trailed 1-0. However, Pirates’ captain Alexandre Bolduc struck back, getting the equalizer with 8:20 left in the period. Michael Stone and Andy Miele picked up assists on Bolduc’s 18th goal of the season, and first since returning from Phoenix. The scored remained tied until 1:50 remained in the 1st, when Brandon Mashinter took a great pass from Kris Newbury and beat Pirates starter Chad Johnson to put the Whale up 2-1.
Mike Lee replaced Chad Johnson for the start of the second period after Johnson picked up an injury in the first, and was a perfect 12 for 12 in save opportunities in the scoreless second. Despite a flurry of late shots, Cam Talbot stood strong in net for the Whale, turning aside all 9 Pirates shots in the second.
In the third, Connecticut took control of the game. Christian Thomas got his second of the game with 15:17 left in the third. After Dylan McIllrath took an elbowing call, the Whale would add a shorthanded tally, with Kelsey Tessier scoring on Mike Lee with 10:54 to go. A frustrated Pirates team attempted to mount a comeback, but a rash of penalties, including misconducts assessed to Joel Rechlicz, Alexandre Bolduc, and Boris Valabik hindered the Pirates effort.
The Piratesfall to 28-18-1-1 on the season and drop to second place in the Atlantic Division and 5th in the Eastern Conference, 4 points back of the Syracuse Crunch. The Whale improvesto23-21-4-2 on the year, having won 3 straight games, as well as 3 straight against the Pirates.

The Pirates are back in action tomorrow night as they travel to the MassMutual Center to take on the Springfield Falconsfor the second time in a week. Puck drops at 7:00 pm and thegame 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 the WLOB radio player and AHL Live. The pregame show starts at 6:40 with Jeff Mannix. 

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