PORTLAND — The Portland Pirates ran into one hot goaltender.
Niklas Svedberg made 36 saves to lift the Providence Bruins to a 2-1 victory over the Pirates Saturday night in front of 6,010 at the Cumberland County Civic Center.
Svedberg, a 23-year-old native of Sollentuna, Sweden, who signed as an undrafted free agent last May by the Boston Bruins, played spectacular over the course of 60 minutes. He was especially impressive in the second period after Portland failed to convert on one of its five power-play opportunities during the period.
“Sometimes it’s not as bad you thing, but we’re not scoring it’s tough,” said Pirates coach Ray Edwards. “I was really impressed with him. He made some really big saves especially in the second and third period. I’m happy with a lot of the game. It’s just you liked to find a way to eek that one out like we did last night.”
The power play proved to be an ineffective and an issue for the Pirates, finishing 0-for-6 with the man advantage.
“We’re over thinking (the power play),” said Edwards. “We’re not getting enough pucks to the net and we really need to simplify the game and be a little more hungry around the net.”
The lone goal allowed by Svedberg came midway into the third period as the Pirates broke the shutout bid after rookie Phil Lane scored his first professional goal at the 9:03 mark, off an odd-angle shot from below right faceoff circle that found its way past the Swedish goalie.
“We’re working hard, but we’ve got to find a way to create another goal or two every night,” Edwards said. “We had some chances and their goalie was good and I don’t have a whole lot of fault with the game.”
Bruins’ forward Bobby Robins opened the scoring only two minutes into the first period for his first goal of the season when he caught a piece of defenseman’s Torey Krug’s wrist shot from the left circle, beating Pirates’ rookie goalie Mark Visentin, who made 24 saves in the loss.
In the first meeting of the season between the Pirates and the Bruins, it didn’t take long for battle lines to be drawn as the intensity of the game was turned up as after every whistle there was a skirmish.
Robins, traditionally the Bruins’ tough guy this season, and Pirates’ heavyweight Joel Rechlicz attempted to drop the gloves after every whistle they were on the ice, which eventually lead both getting matching minor penalties twice in the first period.
“We’re trying to establish our ground and those types of things, but it eventually settled down as the period went along,” said Edwards. “They’ve got a good balance of skill and grit.”
The Bruins nearly made it 2-0 at the 10:05 mark of the first period, but caught an unlucky break as referee Mark Lemelin ruled the puck didn’t cross the line as he blew the play dead.
With Providence on the power play, they managed to make up for that bad luck to double its lead, 2-0, when Visentin misread a play that was going to be an ice and attempted to clear the puck out of zone. It deflected off a stanchion that supports the glass into the slot where Ryan Spooner drilled it past the rookie netminder at 12:03 of the second period.
“The tough thing about that was it was going to be an icing so Mark got to realize it’s going to be an icing call and stay in the net,” Edwards said. “It’s a bad break. He’s had some tough luck so far. He’s had a few games were he could have had a better fate.”
NOTES: AHL President David Andrews made his first trip to Portland Saturday as he was in attendance for the game at the Civic Center… Due to the NHL lockout this year, the Pirates have been forced put their defensemen on a rotation, which meant that Chris Summers and rookie Brandon Gormley were healthy scratches for the game… It was a reunion of sorts for Pirates’ forward Andy Miele and Bruins’ forwards Carter Camper and Alden Hirschfield, who were all teammates from 2008 til 2011 at Miami (Ohio) University when Miele and Camper turned pro with their respective clubs.