LEWISTON — A sellout crowd at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee was treated to an offensive outburst as the Portland Pirates scored seven goals to defeat the Worcester Sharks, 7-4, Friday night.
Pirates’ right wing Chris Conner fed off the energy of the 3,737 in attendance to finish the night with two goals and two assists.
“It’s a great atmosphere in these smaller places,” said Conner. “We had great support here tonight.”
The Colisee was the home of the Lewiston Maineiacs for eight seasons until they folded at the end of the 2010 season. The arena hosted five games from the fledging Federal Hockey League last season.
This was the first game for the Pirates at the Colisee since March, 2010 against the Manchester Monarchs, which they won, 2-1. The Pirates are now 4-0-1 in their last five games at the Colisee.
“We felt with training camp that it’s been a while before we could play in front of our home fans,” said Pirates captain Alexandre Bolduc. "It was fun. Everyone gets into it when you score early and you hear the crowd get into it. Hopefully, they enjoyed it. We really enjoyed how loud they were.”
The Pirates opened the scoring with a shorthanded goal by Brett Hextall, the son of NHL goaltender Ron Hextall, at the 1:52 mark of the first period.
Conner scored the first his four points less than three minutes later when he raced past a Sharks’ defenseman, sliding a backhander by goalie Alex Stalock.
The Pirates ran into penalty trouble for the second consecutive game, taking three straight penalties. The Sharks capitalized scoring three times — including twice on the power play — in a span of 2:22 in the first period, but came out of the period tied after Oliver Ekman-Larsson, who finished the night with two goals and an assists, evened the game, 3-3, only 24 seconds later
It’s an issue that the Pirates addressed during the intermission.
“There was communication about the penalties (during the intermission),” said Pirates coach Ray Edwards. “We’ll have to continue to communicate that point because it’s unacceptable to take that many penalties. The next step for me is to put people in the stands. We can’t continue, it’s got to stop.”
The team responded in the second and third period, not allowing another power-play goal.
Chris Conner put the Pirates in the driver's seat, scoring his second of the night at the 2:31 mark, splitting the Sharks’ defensemen and lifting the puck by Stalock, putting the Pirates back out front, 4-3.
They wouldn’t look back as Bolduc added one midway into the period, followed by Ekman-Larsson.
Andy Miele sealed the game with the Pirates second period play goal of the night 3:03 remaining in the game.
“If you told me that we’d have 10 goals in two games, I’d say, 'OK great,'” said Edwards. “I like how we manufactured goals tonight. Thought we played a solid game.
Rookie goalie Mark Visentin stopped 25 shots for his first professional win.