12/19/2012 10:00 PM
The Portland Pirates needed just 26 seconds to turn the game around, turning a 2-1 deficit into a 3-2 victory Wednesday night over the Springfield Falcons at the Cumberland County Civic Center. It was the sixth consecutive win for the Pirates, giving them their longest win streak since 2010.
The Pirates were able to jump on Springfield early. David Rundblad sent Andy Miele off to the races with a pass behind the Falcons’ defense, allowing Miele to snap a shot over the shoulder of Springfield starter Allen York for his eighth goal of the year at the 1:58 mark into the first. The lead was short lived as the Falcon’s David Savard sent home a shot from the bottom of the faceoff circles that beat Pirates’ goaltender Mark Visentin 7:26 into the first. The Pirates were unable to capitalize on a hooking penalty to Matt Calvert at 9:09 and just seconds after the penalty expired, Ryan Johansen streaked down the wing and slipped a shot under the pads of Visentin, giving Springfield a 2-1 lead at 12:31.
Portland got another shot at the power play just 5:23 into the second period. However, York and the Falcons’ penalty killers were up to the challenge. The tail end of the power play was negated by an Andy Miele elbowing call at 6:46. Brendan Shinnimin got the best chance of the second in the brief 4 on 4 play. Shinnimin picked up a loose puck in the neutral zone and walked in alone, beating York over the shoulder on a shot that rang off the crossbar. The Pirates’ penalty kill was then called upon again. The Falcons were unable to extend the lead on a Rob Klinkhammer unsportsmanlike conduct call at 12:25, and a Michael Stone boarding penalty at 17:17. Stone got a great chance to even the game with under a minute remaining in the period. Stone stepped out of the box was sent in on a breakaway, only to be robbed by York.
Springfield was unable to capitalize on its fifth power play opportunity early in the third, as Brendan Shinnimin was called for goaltender interference at 3:37. The intensity started to pick up for the Pirates at the 7:23 mark of the period. Ethan Werek took exception to a Matt Calvert hit, dropping the gloves with Will Weber. Calvert was sent off for boarding. The Pirates could not capitalize on the Calvert penalty and ended the game 0 for 4 on the power play. Oliver Ekman-Larsson started the late heroics for the Pirates at 14:29 of the third, a feed from Chris Brown and blasting a shot over the shoulder of York for his eighth goal of the year. Just 26 seconds later, Brett Hextall put the Pirates in front for good. Hextall took an Andy Miele pass and buried it under the arm of York. The Pirates were able to hold off a late Springfield flurry for their sixth straight win.
The Pirates are now 16-10-1-1 on the year while the Falcons fall to 15-6-2-3. Mark Visentin improves his record to 5-6-1-0, stopping 20 of 22 shots, while Allen York drops to 0-2-0-0 after turning aside 29 of the 32 shots he faced.
The Pirates will look for their 7th straight on Saturday in VIP Cup Series action when they travel to Manchester to take in the Monarchs. The Pirates hold a 3-2 lead in the VIP Cup Series, presented by VIP Parts, Tires, & Service, and have won last three games against Manchester.
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 the WLOB radio player and AHL Live.