LEWISTON — Andy Miele’s 25th goal begat a muted celebration. Instead of raising his arms, pumping his fist or skating wildly into his teammates’ arms, Miele glanced up at the clock.

Too late.

“I knew it was getting low,” Miele said. “I was just double checking to be sure.”

Miele’s effort with three seconds to spare in regulation pulled the Pirates within a goal, but there wasn’t enough time remaining for another try. A spirited third-period effort from the Portland Pirates and a solid turn through the second frame weren’t enough to overcome another horrific start as the Pirates fell to the Providence Bruins, 6-5, in front of 3,199 at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee on Friday.

“We didn’t start on time at all, we turned the puck over, got out-competed,” Pirates coach Ray Edwards said. “I like how we came back, but at the end of the day, it’s frustrating.”

Craig Cunningham scored a pair of goals for the Bruins, Ryan Spooner had a goal and an assist and Alexander Khokhlachev and Nick Johnson added a pair of assists each in the onslaught, most of which came in a five-goal first period.

Louis Domingue started again for the Pirates, two days removed from a one-period performance in which he allowed three goals before being pulled with an illness. He lasted less than 14 minutes this time around, allowing four goals on 11 shots.

“He was feeling better, so we wanted to give him a chance to get back in there,” Edwards said. “You’ve got to get something there. You can’t give up five in the first, between him and Chris (Rawlings). It’s not just on the goalies. We were light on the puck.”

Buoyed by a pair of quick goals in the second and the reemergence of the Colisee crowd, the Pirates made a game of it, even chasing Providence starter Malcom Subban after he allowed four goals on 17 shots.

“I’ve been a little bit critical of not having people here,” Edwards said. “They were a great crowd, they really helped push the guys tonight.”

The switch to Niklas Svedberg did the trick for the Bruins.

“He got what he needed to get out of changing his goalie,” Edwards said. “That’s why you have that trick in your bag.”

The Bruins forced the Pirates to blink first on the goalie staredown, forcing Domingue’s early exit in the first frame.

Cunningham scored twice in that sequence, bookending goals from Ryan Spooner and Justin Florek. Mathieu Brodeur provided the one Portland counterpunch in the first part of the frame with a laser from the left circle.

The Bruins ran the score to 5-1 on a Rob Flick goal against Rawlings before Brendan Shinnimin responded with a quick wrister from the center of the slot at 18:05 of the first to pull the Pirates within three at 5-2.

“It’s tough when you get down that early,” Miele said. “It drains the energy out of everybody. But we were great on the bench, everyone was positive, everyone was vocal.”

The Pirates carried their momentum into the second period. Tobias Rieder finished a feed from Miele just 1:17 into the middle frame to close the gap to two, and Brandon Yip made it a one-goal game at the 5-minute mark, chasing Subban.

The Bruins went back in front by two at 4:39 of the third on Ben Sexton’s first professional goal in just his second game, and the score remained that way until Miele’s marker in the waning seconds.

Portland is back in action at home Saturday against Manchester.

Notes: The Portland Pirates wore special purple-trimmed jerseys Friday in honor of cancer awareness. Several promotions during the game benefited various centers and causes in the Lewiston-Auburn area, including donating all proceeds from their 50/50 raffle to the Central Maine Comprehensive Cancer Center. In addition, a Pirates practice jersey signed by movie and television star Patrick Dempsey will be raffled off, with all proceeds benefiting the Patrick Dempsey Center for Cancer Hope & Healing. The Pirates’ special jerseys will be auctioned off at a later date on eBay with 75 percent of the proceeds donated to Central Maine Comprehensive Cancer Center … Prior to Friday’s game, Portland forward Brendan Shinnimin pledged $10 for every shot by the Pirates and $25 for every Pirates goal, with the money going to one of the night’s causes, the Central Maine Comprehensive Cancer Center …

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