LEWISTON — Another home game, another point for the Portland Pirates.

Despite blowing a three-goal, second-period lead, the Pirates held on to earn a point against the visiting Norfolk Admirals in a 5-4 shootout loss at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee on Friday.

“I liked our game, I liked our work ethic, I liked the way we skated,” Pirates coach Ray Edwards said. “The pace, we played hard. I don’t like the score, but we liked a lot of things about that game.”

The Pirates were playing the first of a three-games-in-three-days stretch Friday, less than a full day after returning from a hectic three-in-three at St. John’s, Newfoundland that included all kinds of travel troubles.

“I was happy with our energy,” Edwards said. “I give credit to our ownership to get that charter for us and getting us home. That helped us, and it could have been a lot worse.”

The Pirates’ last regulation loss at the Colisee was back in November. Since then, the team is 4-0-0-2 in Lewiston.

“We need to keep getting points here,” Edwards said. “I think we’re getting used to the facility. We’ve played better here of late, and if we’re going to make a push, we’re going to have to keep doing that.”

Chris Summers and Andy Miele had a goal and an assist each and Lucas Lessio set up a pair of goals with some fancy stick work to lead the Pirates’ offense.

Norfolk’s Max Friberg led all scorers with two goals and an assist and six shots on net, while Admirals’ goalie Igor Bobkov stopped 27 shots in regulation and all four shootout attempts he saw to earn the victory.

Lessio showed off his soft hands early Friday, generating some early momentum — and a goal.

As the Admirals tried to break from the zone, Lessio lifted the puck from a player, held it in at the blue line, and passed it through another defender’s legs before spotting Miele alone in the right circle. The sniper one-timed the feed from Lessio past Bobkov’s glove hand for a 1-0 Pirates lead just 1:06 into the contest.

Chris Brown nearly added another on the Pirates’ first power play, but defenseman Jesse Blacker made a save with the shaft of his stick in desperation in front of an otherwise empty net as Bobkov was out of position.

The Pirates did add to their lead at 11:41 of the first. Just after Miele clanged the puck off the corner of the posts over Bobkov’s blocker shoulder, the puck went back to the blue line, where Summers teed up a slap shot through the gathered traffic in front of the cage and beat Bobkov high glove.

“That was as good a first period as we’ve played all year,” Edwards said. “The pace and the execution was real good.”

The teams traded bad goals early in the second. Ethan Werek temporarily put the Pirates on top by three at 2:10 when he rushed up the left side and slid the puck on net. It beat Bobkov along the ice from a tough angle in the low left circle for a 3-0 Portland advantage.

The Admirals got on the board less than five minutes later as Devante Smith-Pelly crossed the puck from the left wall in desperation. It hit a defender and keeper Mark Visentin in the crease with no other Admirals in sight and bounced into the cage.

The Admirals crept closer still in the waning seconds of the middle frame. Defenseman Jesse Blacker fired the puck through traffic on a Norfolk power play and the puck pinballed past a screened Visentin off Friberg to pull the visitors within a goal at 3-2.

‘You’re not going to have momentum the whole game,” Edwards said. “We had the momentum early, and we fought to get it back.”

Emerson Etem got the puck past Visentin with 9:33 to play in the third after a boarding penalty to Brandon McMillan just 13 seconds earlier. Etem’s 11th of the season (in just 15 games) evened the game at 3-3.

The Pirates again went ahead at 17:14 of the third when Tobias Rieder dug the puck loose in a scrum in front and shoveled it into the cage.

But on a power play — their fourth — the Admirals once again tied the game with a power-play goal — their third. This time, Friberg found the puck and beat Visentin down low to knot the game at 4-4.

“Our (penalty kill) has been great all year,” Edwards said. “It let us down tonight, but you can’t get too upset with that unit, we’ve been in the top five most of the year.”

The Pirates play again Saturday, a road contest at Bridgeport, before another road contest in Worcester on Sunday.


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