For the second time in less than a week, the Portland Pirates had problems getting to where they wanted to go, and it had nothing to do with their play on the ice.

The front end of a scheduled series in St. John’s, Newfoundland was pushed back last weekend after a storm gripped the northeaster United States, forcing the team to play three games in three days against the IceCaps.

That same storm system and its remnants continued to wreak havoc in the Canadian Maritimes long enough to affect the Pirates’ abilities to get home, and they did so late Thursday, just in time for yet another three-games-in-three-days stretch, beginning Friday at home against the Norfolk Admirals.

After the third game of the series in St. John’s, despite a loss, coach Ray Edwards was complimentary of his team.

“That was probably the best game of the three we played here,” Edwards said Tuesday.

At 14-13-1-4, the Pirates have climbed back into the race for a playoff position in the American Hockey League’s Eastern Conference, and with 32 games played, have a handful of games in hand on several of the teams they are chasing.


One of those teams is the seventh-place Norfolk Admirals. Through 35 games, the Admirals are 18-12-1-4 and have won two in a row entering Friday’s contest.

Leading the charge for the Admirals in scoring is Rickard Rakell, who has 26 points in 29 games. Emerson Etem is second on the team with 23 points, though he has accrued that total in only 14 contests.

One consistent hallmark of the Norfolk squad this season has been its goaltending. John Gibson has seen most of the action while a handful of other keepers have been back and forth to parent club Anaheim. Gibson, a rookie who played last season for the Kitchener Rangers, has a 2.61 GAA and a .915 save percentage this season.

The Pirates have taken points in nine of their past 13 games, and have found some offense during that stretch, scoring 30 goals. Lucas Lessio’s scoring touch has come around, and Tobias Rieder finally found the scoresheet again in St. John’s. They, along with Andy Miele, are the players with double-digit goal totals for Portland this season.

Louis Domingue suffered his first regulation loss of the season Tuesday in a 4-2 setback. It was his first taste of back-to-back action this season. He is now 5-1-1 with a 2.50 GAA and a .923 save percentage. Mark Visentin is at 2.81 and .915 with a 9-11-2 mark.

Skate with the Pirates


The Pirates and L.L. Bean have announced six games after which fans can skate on the team’s home ice, and the first is Friday’s contest against Norfolk.

L.L. Bean’s Bootmobile will be at each game with the Bean Boot Toss and will be giving away hand warmers before the game and during the skate. L.L. Bean will choose fans at the postgame skate and give away gift certificates, as well. Skate rentals are available from the Colisee pro shop for $3, but fans are encouraged to bring their own skates to the game.

Other dates included in this promotion are Jan. 24, Feb. 2, Mar. 2, Mar. 29 and Apr. 18.

Five hundred strong

Through their efforts at games in December, the Pirates collected more than 500 nonperishable food items for the Good Shepherd Food Bank. Pirates fans who donated during the food drive received two tickets to the Pirates’ home game against the Worcester Sharks on Jan. 21.

“We’re thrilled with the generosity of Pirates fans in donating to Good Shepherd Food Bank during the holiday season,” Pirates COO Alex Romanoff said in a news release. “Good Shepherd’s role in the community is vital and we’re looking forward to supporting them throughout the rest of the season.”

“The Food Bank is excited to once again partner with the Portland Pirates for food drives during the winter months,” Kristen Miale, president of Good Shepherd Food Bank said in the release. “The food donated by Pirates fans throughout the season goes to help Maine families who are struggling to put enough food on the table and it makes a big difference in our community.”

The Pirates will be hosting three Good Shepherd Nights during the 2014 portion of the season — on Jan. 24, Feb. 23 and March 7. Good Shepherd will be collecting nonperishable food donations at all three games.

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