LEWISTON — The Portland Pirates’ streak of points at home is over after another “discouraging” result, this time without the safety net of a shootout.

Simon Despres led the way with two goals, Philip Samuuelsson added a goal and three assists and Eric Hartzell made 27 saves to help lift the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins to a 4-2 win over the Pirates in front of 2,961 at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee on Saturday, the first time Portland has suffered a regulation loss at home since Nov. 29.

“Honestly, I thought we were good enough in this game to win, I honestly did,” Pirates coach Ray Edwards said. “We held them to limited opportunities, and this is another game I thought we could have won and we let it get away from us. I thought we worked hard, and we did some really good things. But we’re doing some good things and not winning, and that’s the discouraging part.”

On the other end, the win was welcome relief for the Penguins, who fell 5-1 to Providence on Friday.

“Last night we didn’t have a really good game,” Penguins coach John Hynes said. “Coming in, any time you’re coming off a loss like that, you want to have something that happens, whether it’s a big play, a penalty kill, a goal. And we were able to have a combination of those things, and that helped get ourselves going.”

It took less than a minute for the Penguins to earn a power play, and less than 20 seconds after that to put one past Visentin when Scott Harrington fired a slap shot from the point through traffic on a feed from Paul Thompson.

The Pirates had a chance to climb back into the game when officials whistled back-to-back penalties against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, giving the home team a 1:41 5-on-3 advantage. But the Penguins held tough on defense and allowed just one shot to reach Hartzell.

“It’s a big part of the game, what it did was give us some momentum right away,” Hynes said. “Particularly where we’re coming off a bad loss (Friday). The fact that we got down (a player) early, and we were able to kill it off, there was a real good belief in our team, and that carried over.”

“We lost Andy (Miele, to a test for a concussion), and I should have called a timeout,” Edwards said, “just to make sure the people on the ice understood what the plan was. That was a crucial part of the game, so I’ll take the blame for that one. We got a couple of chances, but we could have been cleaner there. If we’re cleaner there, maybe we get one, and maybe that changes the momentum of the game.”

Miele eventually returned to the game.

The Pirates did equalize at 12:28 of the first, as Brandon McMillan outraced the Penguins’ defense to a loose puck down the left side. He leaned to the middle and fired the puck on net from an odd angle in the lower left circle, and the puck beat Hartzell 5-hole to tie things up at 1-1.

The Penguins went back in front after a back-and-forth first half of the second period. With pressure down low, Portland defender Brandon Gormley lost his stick. The puck kicked out to the point and as Gormley and Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond battled in front, Simon Despres fired a shot toward the cage that flew past a screened Visentin.

The Penguins added to their lead at 17:35 of the second in similar fashion. Samuelsson, son of former NHLer Ulf Samuelsson, blasted a shot from the right point through a maze of bodies and beat Visentin, who was late to react because of the screen.

Samuelsson’s brother, Henrik, is a top prospect for the Phoenix Coyotes after being selected by the Pirates’ parent club in the 2012 NHL Draft.

The Penguins added some insurance in the third on Despres’ second of the game, another blast through traffic at the 4:20 mark of the final frame, and they needed it, as Brandon Gormley beat Hartzell on a power play at 9:32, collecting his own rebound down low and popping it past the prone netminder for his second of the season.

But late in the game, even a 5-on-3 and a 6-on-4 with the goalie wasn’t enough to help the Pirates beat Hartzell.

“He came up with some key stops, and the penalty-kill was very good tonight,” Hynes said. “Usually when the penalty kill is good, the goaltender is playing well.”

The game was also a homecoming of sorts for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton defenseman Brian Dumoulin. The last time the second-year pro skated at the Colisee, he was a junior defenseman for Biddeford High School, and had just led the Tigers to a second consecutive Class A state championship in 2008.

Two years later, Dumoulin played as a true freshman for Boston College, and after three years with the Eagles, he turned pro.

Dumoulin didn’t factor into the scoring Saturday, but Hynes said he’s come a long way in a season and a half.

“He’s really taken a step in his second year as a pro,” Hynes said. “He’s an excellent puck-mover. You can really see this year, his ability to distribute the puck, whether it’s on the power play or on the breakout, he’s really taken the next step. And defensively, he’s really grown in his ability to have good habits and defend against bigger, stronger professional players. He’s turning himself into a guy that is right on the cusp of full-time NHL duty.”


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