LEWISTON — A last-minute goal helped the Portland Pirates take command of Friday’s game against the Bridgeport Sound Tigers.

Another led to shootout disappointment — again — at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee.

Pierre-Marc Bouchard and Alan Quine scored in the shootout with similar backhand deke moves after forcing overtime with 17 seconds to play in regulation to lift the Sound Tigers to a 4-3 win over the Pirates in front of 1,879.

“We played much better, obviously, than Tuesday, but the penalties add up, and when you take that many penalties, you’re using your core guys all the time, and at the end we just didn’t have enough,” Portland coach Ray Edwards said. “We had to kill off too many penalties. Overall, we were much better than the other night, and we have to build off that.”

The loss is the Pirates’ fifth in a row at home, though three of those have come in the shootout. Friday’s game also marked the seventh shootout loss of the season for the Pirates, the sixth at the Colisee.

“The shootouts are killing us. We just can’t find a way to win one,” Edwards said. “We tried some different personnel tonight, that didn’t work. We went with a couple of guys that had scored some goals … unfortunately we didn’t get it done.”

For the visitors, the win was their first over Portland in three tries this season. Ryan Strome led the way for the Sound Tigers with a goal and an assist, including the game-tying mark in the third period.

Brandon Gormley had a pair of goals for the Pirates and Tobias Rieder had the third, all on shots originating from the point.

“The guys did a real good job of looking at the film and executing the plan,” Edwards said. “That was a real positive for us.”

With time winding down in the second period, Rieder got a piece of a shot from Connor Murphy and redirected the puck past Bridgeport keeper Parker Milner to put the home team on top by a goal. It appeared for much of the third period that the goal would stand.

But the Sound Tigers had other ideas. With Milner on the bench for an extra skater, Strome gathered a feed from Scott Mayfield at the top of the right circle and fired a wrister past Pirates keeper Mark Visentin to tie the game with 17.9 seconds to play.

A scoreless overtime sent the game to the shootout.

The game itself had little flow to it with all of the penalties through the first two periods. The teams combined for 54 minutes of infractions in the first two frames, and only two (both to Portland) in the third.

“It’s tough when you have just one official,” Edwards said. “A lot of stuff happens, and sometimes there are calls, both ways, that maybe wouldn’t be. I think it’s really hard for one official to ref now-a-days, and when that happens, I think you get more penalties than you probably should. But it is what it is, and we have to take the good from it, go on the road and have a couple of good road games.”

Gormley got things stated for the Pirates in the first period, and wasted little time on the team’s first power play doing so.

On the first faceoff following the infraction, the team worked the puck low to Rieder, who sent it to Andy Miele at the left point. His cross to Gormley at the top of the left circle was on target, and the defender fired a laser through traffic for a 1-0 lead.

Visentin came up big in the early part of the second, making three consecutive tough saves, two without a stick, as the Sound Tigers enjoyed some time with a two-man advantage.

The visitors’ persistence paid off minutes later, though. On another power play, Pierre-Marc Bouchard sniped the top glove corner behind Visentin from the right circle, tying the game at 1-1.

The Sound Tigers made it 2-1 less than two minutes later when Maine alumnus Mike Cornell blasted a point shot past Visentin with the teams skating 4-on-4.

The teams skated at 5-on-5 for only 1:53 of the first 10 minutes of the second frame. The Pirates spent a shade more than two minutes of that on the power play, and capitalized to even the game at 2-2 on a Gormley slapper from the right circle on another feed from Miele.

Rieder added one of his own in the closing seconds of the second. Another power play opportunity afforded the Pirates another chance with an extra skater, and they again capitalized. Connor Murphy, bidding for his first AHL goal (he’s already scored in the NHL), fired a shot through a screen from center point that Rieder tipped from the high slot past Milner.


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