LEWISTON — For the seventh time this season, the Portland Pirates took a home game to a shootout, and for the seventh home game in a row, they earned at least a point.

What they needed — and didn’t get — was a win.

Cody Goloubef sniped the top corner of the cage over the blocker shoulder of Portland goalie Louis Domingue in the fifth round of the shootout to lift the visiting Springfield Falcons to a 4-3 win in front of 2,374 at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee.

“It’s tough to lose in a shootout like that,” Pirates coach Ray Edwards said. “We battled back to get the lead, but we have to find a way to close that game out.”

With the game deadlocked at 2-2 to begin the third, Phil Lane, playing in his first game since suffering an injury on Nov. 10, gave the Pirates their first lead of the game when he tipped home a shot from the point off the stick of Randy Jones, and the Pirates appeared to be in control.

“It was exciting to get him back,” Edwards said. “After not playing for 10 weeks … he’s a big body that moves well, and we need him to be a good player for us coming back.”

The Falcons retaliated later in the frame, wresting control of the contest from the Pirates with a power play, and ultimately finding the back of the net behind Domingue three seconds after the power play expired, at 11:47. Goloubef had that goal, as well, redirecting a feed from former Lewiston Maineiacs forward Michael Chaput.

“I think we got tight a little bit there, the game got tight and we started grabbing our sticks a bit tight,” Edwards said. “We kind of shrunk a little bit, and that’s what we have to learn, we have to keep skating.”

“You expend a lot of energy (killing penalties),” Larsen said. “For two periods, we were just chasing our tails. We just had to settle down in the third, get back to 5-on-5.”

Chaput, who received applause when his name was announced prior to the game as well as after each of his two assists and single penalty, was the game’s third star.

“He’s steadily growing into a really good hockey player,” Springfield coach and former Portland Pirates captain Brad Larsen said of Chaput. “Like all young guys, he has some room to grow, for sure, but he’s very receptive. He challenges himself, he respects both ends of the ice, and he’s a big part of our success up the middle.”

Mike McKenna, Springfield’s goalie who sparkled in a 3-0 shutout in the teams’ most recent meeting, didn’t need to be perfect this time around. A journeyman goaltender who plied his trade for the Portland Pirates in 2007-08, allowed three goals Friday, but his 31 saves made up for it.

“Their first power play, they probably should have scored two or three,” Larsen said. “He was making some big saves. We were playing some tired hockey in the first two periods, we needed goaltending and he did an excellent job of keeping us in that game.”

James Melindy, who was only playing in his 14th game of the season due to injuries, suffered another injury Friday and Edwards all but ruled him out for Saturday’s game against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.

“We’re not sure how bad it is right now, we’ll have to look at it (Saturday), but I don’t think he’ll be a player for us (Saturday).”

The Pirates had a handful of chances on their first power play of the game, but came away empty. The Falcons rode the momentum from that kill and found the back of the net at 8:41 of the first when Cody Bass tipped home a shot from Blake Parlett at the center point.

On another power play that began 15 seconds after the goal, the Pirates tied the contest. Lucas Lessio netted his 11th of the season and picked up his 22nd point when he gathered a rebound off McKenna’s right pad and shoveled it over his outstretched arm on a blast from the top of the power play umbrella by Brandon McMillan.

Spencer Machacek put the visitors back in front by a goal at 14:37 of the first when he grabbed a slick feed from Chaput and redirected it past Domingue.

“They had the lead after the first, but I think we out-chanced then 7-3 in the first, and in the second we out-chanced them something like 5-3.”

It took a barrage of shots and nearly three-quarters of the second period for the Pirates to finally solve McKenna a second time. Right off a faceoff to the Springfield goalie’s right, Andy Miele won the puck back to Lessio at the top of the circle. The sharpshooter found a seam in McKenna’s pads along the ice and buried his second of the game to even the score, 2-2.


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