SACO — The Portland Pirates finally appeared to figure things out over the weekend, snapping a point-less drought Saturday with a home loss in extra time to Manchester before earning a win on the road in Providence.

“We were all embarrassed Friday night,” Portland coach Ray Edwards said. “These players are all proud, and every once in a while, you’ll have a game like that, and going into Saturday, they wanted to be better. And we were significantly better in the game.”

Better; not perfect. An awkward bounce off the glass led to a Manchester goal that forced overtime.

“When you’re going through tough times, things like that really test your group,” Edwards said. “To come back and play in Providence the way we did on Sunday was a testament to them. It would have been really easy to sit there and say, ‘Oh, the world is against us,’ but they really bound together and we had a really solid road game.

“Now the challenge for the group is, OK we’ve bounced back from that (Friday game) with two decent ones, now what do we do in the next one?” Edwards said. “The challenge for me now is having the group ready to play the right way Wednesday.”

At least the opponent will be familiar. Due to a quirky schedule, the Pirates will again face off against Providence on Wednesday, this time at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee in Lewiston. The team’s following game, on Friday, will also be against the Bruins, again in Providence.

“From a preparation standpoint, it makes things easier, but we all know each other,” Edwards said. “We all know how we all play. It’s a matter of us dealing with our own details.”

One bright spot in Sunday’s game was second-year defenseman Brandon Gormley’s first goal of the season. Gormley’s tally was a rare goal from a defender this season for the Pirates.

“The reality is, we need to get more production from our blue line,” Edwards said. “Right now, we’re at the bottom of the league in that category and we need to produce more offense from the back end.”

And while Gormley’s goal helped get him on track, it provided a much-needed lift for the team as a whole.

“That was a big goal for us, to get Gormley on the scoreboard for one, but also for the team to get the first goal in the game,” Edwards said. “You tend to play better when you have the lead, so there were a number of things that goal helped, including helping us win the game.”

Another bright spot Sunday was another quality road start by goalie Louis Domingue. The odd man out of the Pirates’ goaltending equation to start the season, Domingue has now started two games this season — both against the Bruins — and won both. With Mike Lee on the shelf after aggravating a previous injury, Domingue is in town for the near future.

“We talked about it earlier in the year; all three can play,” Edwards said. “Louis had to pay his dues, and it’s a tough situation for Mike, but this is what Louis has been waiting for. He’s definitely going to get an opportunity to play now.”

Wednesday’s game is set for a 7 p.m. faceoff at the Colisee. After playing at Providence on Friday, the Pirates will play at home Saturday in their annual teddy toss contest, in which fans are encouraged to bring stuffed animals to the game and launch them onto the ice following the Pirates’ first goal of the game. All stuffed animals will be collected and donated to first responders in Lewiston and Auburn to distribute to local families in need.


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