LEWISTON, ME — The Portland Pirates, backstopped by a 45-save performance from Mark Visentin, defeated the Providence Bruins 3-2 in a shootout Saturday night. Visentin’s 45 saves ties his season high.
In the first, the Bruins came out in full attack mode, pounding the Portland net with shots with 23, the most allowed by the Pirates in a period since allowing 25 on November 6th, 2011 against Manchester. Visentin stood strong, allowing only one goal at 8:37 when a puck squirted out from under his pads on the power play onto the waiting stick of Craig Cunningham, who deposited the early Christmas gift into the back of the net.
In the second, James Melindy tied the game up at 1-1 at 7:52 when he unleashed cannon from the point that beat Niklas Svedberg for his first professional goal. But the Bruins struck back quickly, scoring less than 90 seconds later when Justin Florek took a quick shot from the right point that beat Visentin over the shoulder. Providence maintained their 2-1 lead into the third period.
The Pirates clawed their way back to a tie, however, this time on the power play in the third, when reigning CCM/AHL Player of the Week Andy Miele scored his team-leading 11th goal of the year. Seconds into a power play, Miele received a pass in the right circle and, with plenty of space and time, wound up and delivered a missile past Svedberg.
In overtime, Visentin was huge, denying a few great chances from Providence to preserve the tie. In the last minute, Providence pressured the Pirates’ goalie continually but had no success. The Pirates had an opportunity with just over left in the extra frame, but were called off-sides on what would have been the game winning goal.
In the shootout, Daine Todd, Brandon McMillan and Brandon Yip all scored and Visentin made three more strong saves to clinch the win for the Pirates. With the win, the Pirates improve to 11-10-1-4 on the season.