LEWISTON — For the second time in five days, the Portland Pirates let a lead slip against the St. John’s IceCaps.
St John’s scored five times in the third period in a 6-5 victory Sunday at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee. On Tuesday, the IceCaps got down early, but controlled the second and third periods in the 7-5 victory.
“It’s hard to put a finger on it,” Portland Pirates head coach Ray Edwards said. “My frustration level at this point is very high. I need to be smart what I say here. It starts with me first of all, I need to find a way to get them ready to play in situations. Whatever I am saying, whatever I am drawing up, whatever systems we are playing, whatever situation we are in, we aren’t doing the right things. They aren’t getting the job done. I am the one responsible.”
It all started 16 seconds into the third period when Albert notched his second goal of the game with a shorthanded tally. Kyle MacKinnon set the goal up to cut into the Pirates’ lead to 3-2.
“We were excited about the challenge and (16) seconds in we give up a short handed goal,” Edwards said.
Blair Riley tied the contest 6:32 into the third period for the IceCaps with MacKinnon and Jordan Hill setting the goal up.
St. John’s took the lead shortly there after as former University of Maine product Will O’Neill notched his seventh goal of the year on the man advantage 8:44 into the third period. Zach Redmond and Eric O’Dell picked up assists on the goal. With 9:25 left to play in the game, Jerome Samson notched his 18th goal of the year. Redmond and JC Lipon also recorded points on the goal.
Kael Mouillierat gave the IceCaps the 6-3 lead with 1:33 to play.
Portland played to the final whistle as Chris Brown and Tobias Reider, who opened the scoring, scored in the final two minutes to close the gap to 6-5. Brown scored with 47 seconds left with Mathieu Brodeur and Ethan Werek got the assists. Brandon Yip and Andy Miele assisted on Rieder’s goal.
“They know it’s unacceptable. I know it’s unacceptable. We got to fight through it,” Edwards said of giving up five goals in the third period. “I don’t know what else to say other it’s not good enough.”
After the IceCaps controlled much of the first half of the first period, it was the Pirates who got on the board first. Miele won the offensive face-off to defenseman David Runblad who’s shot was redirected in by Rieder at the 11:08 mark.
The Pirates couldn’t hang onto the lead heading into the first intermission as St. John’s tied the contest with 1:02 remaining with a power-play goal of their own. John Albert fired a shot past Pirates goalkeeper Mark Visentin with Andrew Gordon and Jason Jaffray notching the assists.
Rundblad and Miele once again set up the next Pirates power play marker 3:45 into the second period. Brendon McMillan finished the tic-tac-toe goal.
Portland was 2-for-6 with the power play while St. John’s was 2-for-3
It was McMillan’s third goal of the weekend as he two in the 5-4 loss against the Manchester Monarchs Saturday.
Yip made it 3-1 for Portland with 2:27 remaining in the second period. He scored from the goal line as he was innocently trying to throw the puck in front of the net, but it bounced off St. John’s goalie Tyler Beskorowany. Jordan Martinook and Brendan Shinniman were given credit with the assists.
Mark Visentin made 30 saves as he made the start for the Pirates. He was lifted for Louis Domingue after letting in the fifth goal. Domingue stopped six shots on seven chances. Beskorowany made 31 saves for the IceCaps.