PORTLAND — They all count the same in the standings, but some wins feel bigger than others, especially as the regular season reaches its final two weeks. 

The losses hurt that much more as well. 

After a scoreless 60 minutes of regulation, Worcester’s Ryan Carpenter sent the Portland Pirates to their fourth straight loss with his game-winning goal 2:06 into overtime as the Sharks skated away with a 1-0 victory Tuesday. It was Portland’s second consecutive overtime loss at Cross Insurance Arena. 

“It was just a sloppy game,” Portland coach Ray Edwards said. “There wasn’t a lot of plays being made, it was just sort of two teams just muckin’ it up. We had plenty of opportunities. We had plenty of scoring chances to find a way to score one goal, but that’s just the way it’s going for us right now.” 

Carpenter’s sixth goal of the season was preceded by Worcester’s previously best scoring chance of the game just moments earlier. Eriah Hayes got behind the defense on a breakaway from the blue line, but missed the net wide. The Sharks (40-24-4-2) kept possession and it resulted in Carpenter circling around the net and beating Portland goaltender David Leggio with a shot from the slot. 

“I went and tried to spin and take it to the net as quick as I can and looked up and guys were sliding and Hayes went to the net and kind of took away the eyes of the goalie,” Carpenter said. “I held it and held it and found a spot and luckily it went in.” 

The Pirates (37-25-7-1) entered Tuesday’s contest having accumulated just a point in their last three games, allowing Springfield to catch them for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Despite the overtime loss, Portland reclaimed sole possession of eighth place. 

The silver lining in the loss is the point the Pirates earned, with every point getting magnified as the regular season reaches its end. 

“It’s a point, move on, simple as that,” Edwards said. “We can’t dwell on it. We have to figure out how to beat Manchester on Friday now.” 

The Pirates now sit three points back of Hartford and Providence for the sixth and seventh seeds, respectively. Worcester jumped both Hartford and Providence and took over fifth place in the East. 

“Every point matters,” Carpenter said. “Even early in the year, every point matters, but especially right now. I think it gives our team confidence knowing you can trust in the game plan and what we’ve been doing.” 

Portland’s best scoring chance came short-handed with 1:20 left in the second period. With Justin Hache in the box for high-sticking, Portland’s Brendan Shinnimin intercepted a pass at the defensive blue line from Worcester’s Nickolay Goldobin and skated in on net 1-on-1 with Sharks goaltender Aaron Dell. Dell made the save, one of his 30 on the night to keep the Pirates off the board. 

“You have to give (Worcester credit),” Edwards said. “They played last night and hung around the game. I thought their goalie was the difference in the game, but they hung around and were good.” 

The Pirates thought they had scored a few minutes earlier amid a scrum in front of Dell. The puck crossed the goal line and the red light went on but officials ruled the puck had been kicked in off the skate of Tyler Gaudet. 

Portland finished with a 30-25 edge in shots, but the Sharks had all three shots in overtime. 

Leggio finished with 24 saves. 

Portland and Worcester finished a combined 0-for-9 on the power play. 


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