They also watched their comeback aspirations dashed as the St. John’s IceCaps took advantage of too many Pirates penalties in a 7-4 win in front of 1,734 at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee.

Though Portland scored on the power play to tie the game early in the third, St. John’s had five goals on the man advantage, including one to break a 4-4 tie in the final period.

“There was no rhythm to the game when you take that many penalties,” Pirates coach Ray Edwards said. “We fought back twice in the game and continued to take more penalties. We just didn’t learn the lesson.”

John Albert buried a shot from the slot with 9:45 left in the game to give the IceCaps the lead again. Then St. John’s scored another goal when Jerome Samson put back his own rebound following a series of saves by Pirates goalie Mark Visentin. That goal came with 7:13 left. Will O’Neill finished things off with a blast from the point with 2:16 remaining.

St. John’s had 10 power plays and scored five goals.

“We were undisciplined,” Edwards said. “It’s simple. We were undisciplined — when you don’t move your feet and use your stick. You check with your stick on the ice. That’s a couple of high sticking penalties. It’s just in our focus. You have to move your feet, check the right way and have those details to your game. We didn’t check with detail.”

Samson had two goals for St. John’s. Albert had two goals and an assist. Portland got a goal and an assist each from Lucas Lessio and Phil Lane.

“Whenever we did get momentum, we took a penalty,” Lessio said. “We can’t do that stuff. Momentum is the biggest thing in hockey. Whenever we grasped it, we kind of let it go.”

After one comeback bid in the second erased a two-goal deficit, the Pirates had to rally in the third and did so at 4:19 on the power play. Daine Todd was in the high slot and fed Lessio at the right circle for quick shot that tied it 4-4.

That goal came on a two-man advantage after Jordan Hill was called for high sticking and then Ben Chariot was whistled off for a double minor for high sticking just 50 seconds later. Portland produced good pressure and got the equalizer but couldn’t get a lead goal.

“We had a couple chances early and then we got away from it,” Edwards said. “Four-four, we fought back again. We ought to find a way to be better there.”

Portland wasted little time getting the jump on the IceCaps. The Pirates secured the opening face-off and turned it into a rush that led to a goal on the first shot of the game. Phil Lane finished off a bid in front at 18 seconds for the early lead. Portland had two power play opportunities in the period to expand the lead but failed. The second power play was short-lived. A high sticking penalty by Todd nixed that man advantage. With the sides skating four aside, St. John’s tied it with 1:22 left in the period. Brenden Kichton fired a shot from the top of the right circle that got through a crowd in front.

“We got the first goal and then we took some penalties,” Lessio said. “We gave the momentum back. Tonight, it was all momentum. It was a track meet, back and forth. Unfortunately, they came out with the upper hand and we have to have a better effort (Saturday).”

The IceCaps took the lead just 1:37 into the second.  Samson took a pass from the corner and buried it from the slot for a power play goal.

St. John’s added to the lead with 7:39 left in the second when Adam Lowry scored from in front as well for a 3-1 advantage.

Portland rallied to tie it late in the period.  Lessio snuck behind the defense and missed a breakaway chance but Jordan Szwarz followed up the loose puck and put it home with 6:05 remaining.

The Pirates got the equalizer with 3:16 left with a shorthanded goal. Brandon McMillan scored from in front to make it 3-3.

The IceCaps came right back 42 seconds later and retook the lead on the same power play. Jason Jaffray scored from the slot with 2:36 left for the 4-3 lead.

“Every time we took a penalty they scored,” Edwards said. “Our PK was disappointing. Our goaltending was disappointing. Our discipline was disappointing.”

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