LEWISTON — Mark Visentin is coming around to shootouts this season.

After losing the last four he faced last season, Visentin stopped three of the five attempts he faced Saturday after making 45 saves in regulation while his Portland teammates beat Providence keeper Niklas Svedberg three times to lift the Pirates to a 3-2 win over the Bruins in front of 2,399 at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee.

“I’m starting to like them again,” Visentin said with a smile. “Obviously, you don’t want to let any in, but both teams scored some nice goals, a couple nice saves. I think luckily for me (Seth Griffith) fanned on the last one, I think he meant to go high. But sometimes you have to catch a break, and that’s one thing I’ve been working on a lot in practice, and I’m happy it’s paying off.”

Trailing 2-1 in the third, the Pirates found an extra gear on the power play, something that had troubled them all night.

“We talked about, in the second and third, just staying with it and not getting frustrated,” Pirates coach Ray Edwards said. “We didn’t get a lot going through the first two periods, but as I told them, it could be just one play that ends up tying this game.”

One crisp play with an extra skater was, indeed the difference, as sniper Andy Miele took a feed from Tobias Rieder and ripped a wrister over Svedberg’s blocker shoulder at 6:55, tying the game at 2-2.

“He’s been a great leader for us this year, and it’s no surprise he got that game-tying one,” Visentin said.

It was Visentin who was the hero early. In typical Providence style, the Bruins peppered the Pirates’ starter with shots from everywhere in the first frame.

“To see a lot of rubber at the start, that was a good test of cardio,” Visentin said. “But the defensemen did a good job of clearing out the second chances and really, to see how the first period went for us, to battle back showed how much character our team has.

“They’re a team that likes to get pucks high to their point, throw pucks to the net and crash the net and look for rebounds,” Visentin added. “It’s been a system that’s worked for them as of late, and it can be effective.”

After hitting the post behind Visentin three times, the Bruins finally cashed in on a power play at 8:37 of the first as Craig Cunningham poked the puck past the prone Pirates goalie in a scrum in front, putting Providence ahead 1-0.

“They started fast and were throwing everything at the net,” Edwards said. “But Visser held us in there, we settled down a bit and started playing a little better.”

The Bruins hit another post on another power play later in the frame, and reeled off a stretch of 16 consecutive shots against Visentin, but couldn’t add another.

The Pirates finally found some pressure on a power play of their own late in the period, but couldn’t find the net. They did, however, deal a temporary blow to Bruins’ bench as defenseman Kevan Miller, recently sent down from Boston to avoid waivers, blocked a Chris Brown shot off what appeared to be the instep of his right foot and crumbled to the ice. He left under his own power as play continued, but went down the tunnel to the locker room.

Miller eventually returned in the second period, and made an impact on his first shift back.

After James Melindy netted the first goal of his professional career (in his fourth game) for the Pirates at 7:52, the Bruins went right back down the ice and scored. Miller picked up an assist on Justin Florek’s eighth of the season to put Providence back in front by a goal at 9:13 of the second.

After Miele’s tying goal in the third, the teams settled in for a scoreless overtime, followed by a shootout.

Daine Todd, Brandon McMillan and Brandon Yip scored in the shootout for the Pirates, while Jared Knight and Cunningham found the back of the net for the Bruins.

“Give our guys credit for being good, going down there and making him move and finding places to put the puck,” Edwards said. “Visser was good in the shootout, too.”

The Pirates have some time off for Christmas before playing again in Manchester on Dec. 26 and at Albany on Dec. 28. The team returns home to the Colisee for a Dec. 31 game at 5:30 p.m. against the Bridgeport Sound Tigers.


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: