Lucas Lessio found the net twice for his first two goals of the season and Mark Visentin stopped 45 of 46 shots he faced to help lead the Pirates to a 5-1 victory over the Worcester Sharks in front of 2,739 at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee, ending a five-game home winless streak to begin the year and lifting the team’s record to 3-5-0-1.

“The difference is, (Friday) we score on a couple, and get a little life,” Pirates head coach Ray Edwards said. “Then we’re playing with the lead versus chasing the game.

“Obviously, being 0-4-1 at home wasn’t good enough, but it wasn’t like the world was coming to an end,” Edwards added.

Brandon Yip, Brandon McMillan, Gilbert Brulé and Connor Murphy each also had a pair of points for the Pirates, who spread the scoring wealth around liberally, reaching the five-goal plateau for the first time.

“(Brulé) was good tonight, he competed hard,” Edwards said. “As a group, I thought we did a lot of things that were good, but I also saw some things we still need to get better at.”

The win came despite allowing 46 shots on goal, one of only two games this season during which the Pirates were outshot.

“They got a lot of shots, but look at the chances,” Edwards said. “In the third, there were some (penalty kill) chances, but overall, the chances were pretty good for us.”

That put the onus on Visentin, and he was on point all night.

“The first two periods I didn’t think they had a lot,” Edwards said. “But in the third, he made some big saves there in the third, especially near the end on the PK. He was solid.”

“Coming into the game, we knew they were the kind of team that likes to throw puck to the net,” Visentin said. “I think the coaches did a good job of preparing us and our defensemen to block guys out and eliminate those second chances. They may have had 46 shots, but they didn’t have too many Grade A (chances), and we did a great job keeping them to the outside.”

But while the second period provided most of the fireworks, Portland controlled the game from the outset.

Digging hard in the offensive zone, Andy Miele drew a delayed penalty. On the ensuing play, he gathered the puck, slid it back to Murphy at the point and drove the net. Connor Murphy’s shot hit Worcester keeper Harri Sateri’s pads, caromed to Chris Brown at the left post who slid it across the blue paint to Brandon McMillan at the right post. McMillan pounded the puck into the open cage for a 1-0 Pirates lead.

After killing off another Worcester power play early in the second, the Pirates struck for their second goal of the game. McMillan was again involved, this time driving to the puck behind the cage and slipping a backhand feed to the front of the cage, where Yip one-timed it short side past Sateri’s glove inside the right post, giving the home team a two-goal lead.

The Pirates ran their lead to three goals in a home game for the first time in six tries on a subsequent power play. Brulé converted on a feed from Yip at 8:53 to push the Pirates’ lead to 3-0.

Matt Pelech saw to it that the Sharks’ deficit didn’t stay at three for long. The hulking forward beat Visentin with traffic in front at 10:21 of the second to pull the visitors within two at 3-1.

The Pirates reestablished their three-goal advantage at 14:01 when Lucas Lessio swiped the puck from a Sharks forward at the Worcester blue line, broke in on Sateri’s left and fired a wrister high blocker.

Lessio added another in the third, and nearly a third but for a sliding stop from Sateri.

“We’ve been working hard with him to try and get a sense of how to play in the offensive zone,” Edwards said. “Playing a two-man game, he got a couple of nice goals (Friday), so hopefully that will get him feeling a little bit better offensively.”

The teams met for some not-so-friendly banter as the buzzer sounded to end the second period. A pair of fights broke out after a scrum in front of the Worcester cage. Ultimately, the Pirates’ Chris Brown and the Sharks’ Taylor Doherty were tossed from the game for participating in a secondary altercation.

“We have to learn how to play against teams like that, they’re a heavy team and you’ve got to be disciplined,” Edwards said. “I think for the most part we were. I didn’t like that stuff at the end of the second period, we have to stay out of that stuff. That’s what they’re trying to do and we have to stay out of that stuff.”

NOTE: Former Portland Pirates coach Kevin Dineen, who has been at the helm of the Florida Panthers since leaving Maine, was fired Thursday by the Panthers, along with his assistant coaches. The team named Peter Horachek interim head coach, with former Panthers Brian Skrudland and John Madden joining the staff as assistants. Horachek was the head coach of Florida’s American Hockey League affiliate in San Antonio. Dineen posted a 56-62-28 record over the past three seasons. He came to the team as one of the hottest names in the coaching market after a seven-year stint with the Pirates.


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