The Portland Pirates stormed into Albany with every sail bent, skating well early and late to force the game past regulation before beating the Devils in a shootout on Saturday night.
Andy Miele’s goal at 14:12 in the third brought Portland even with Albany, 4-4. Then Ethan Werek’s fifth-round shootout tally, followed by goalie Mike Lee’s glove save of Joe Whitney’s attempt, gave the Pirates a 3-2 win in the tiebreaker.
“That team, they played very well, and they had us on our heels in the first,” Albany coach Rick Kowalsky said. “I liked the way we battled ourselves back into it, not only on the scoreboard, but established our forecheck, especially early on in the second. Then the third, yeah, you don’t want to give that up and give it up that late.”
Alexandre Bolduc and Miele got out on a two-on-one, Bolduc shot from the left side, and Miele got credit for finishing at the back door, though the puck may have gone in off the skate of a Devils defenseman.
“We talked about them blowing the zone and pulling our D back,” Kowalsky said. “I thought we had made a pretty good adjustment, then we just don’t shift quick enough, they end up with the two-on-one.”
In the shootout, Mike Sislo and Mattias Tedenby (in his first game back after being cut on his face by a skate on Feb. 15) scored in the first and fourth rounds. Sislo also had two goals and an assist in regulation. He had Albany’s two even-strength goals centering a line with Steve Zalewski and rookie Reid Boucher, who signed an amateur tryout agreement Friday.
Boucher played in last season’s final game, but recorded no points and a minus-one rating. He did somewhat better Saturday, scoring a power-play goal in the first period and assisting on two other goals.
“I didn’t really remember that last game,” Boucher said. “This was a new start for me here. I felt good out there.
“Before the game, I was real nervous, but once I got out there, I kind of settled into the game and just started worrying about playing.”
Sislo said Boucher didn’t play like it was his first game of the season, and he fit right in with what he and Zalewski wanted to do.
“I think we did play well together,” he said. “I think we’re all moving our feet. When you’re on pucks and moving your feet, good things are going to happen.”
The Devils still get one standings point from the game and finish the weekend five points behind eighth-place Hershey with 10 games to play. Albany will play at Springfield on Tuesday night.
Portland 2 1 1 0 — 5
Albany 1 3 0 0 — 4
Portland wins shootout, 3-2
First Period — 1, Portland, Miele 15 (Rundblad, Bolduc), :55 (pp). 2, Albany, Boucher 1 (Whitney, Merrill), 12:43 (pp). 3, Portland, Johnson 3 (Conner, Rundblad), 18:12 (pp). Penalties — McPherson, Alb (holding), :31; Portland bench, served by Werek (too many men), 12:25; Leach, Alb (slashing), 16:44.
Second Period — 4, Albany, Sislo 10 (Boucher, Merrill), 2:05. 5, Albany, Whitney 25 (Sislo, Boucher), 7:34 (pp). 6, Albany, Sislo 11 (Zalewski, Leach), 10:45. 7, Portland, Bolduc 24 (Brown, Miele), 14:27. Penalties — Brophey, Por (tripping), 7:05; Hoeffel, Alb (delay of game), 5:11; Brown, Por (interference), 15:51; Bolduc, Por (slashing), 18:35.
Third Period — 8, Portland, Miele 16 (Bolduc, Brown), 14:12. Penalties — Merrill, Alb (tripping), 19:07.
Overtime — No scoring. Penalties — None.
Shootout — Portland 3 (Rundblad NG, Conner G, Brophey NG, Brown G, Werek G), Albany 2 (Sislo G, Boucher NG, Anderson NG, Tedenby G, Whitney NG).
Shots on goal — Portland 18-9-14-1-1 — 43. Albany 5-9-6-4-0 — 24.
Missed penalty shots — Miele, Por (17:39 second).
Power-play opportunities — Portland 2 of 4; Albany 2 of 4.
Goalies — Portland, Visentin (12 shots-8 saves); Lee 7-4-0 (10:45 second, 12-12). Albany, Frazee 7-11-5 (42-38).
A — 2,820. T — 2:26.
Referees — Chris Brown, Chris Ciamaga. Linesmen — Chris Low, Frank Murphy.