Lewiston, ME — It was a special afternoon for the forward line of Lucas Lessio, Mark Louis, and Brendan Shinnimin, who combined for a total of 8 to lead the Portland Pirates to a 5-1 victory over the Hartford Wolf Pack. Mark Visentin made 27 saves for the win, while David LeNeveu made 31 saves in defeat on American Heart Association Cardiac Awareness Night in Lewiston, presented by Central Maine Medical Center.
The Pirates came out of the gates flying in the 1st period, with a lot of early pressure on LeNeveu. Portland was able to break the scoreless tie just over halfway through the period when Brendan Shinnimin beat LeNeveu for his 9th goal of the season. The play started with Mark Louis dumping the puck into the offensive zone. Hartford gained control and tried to clear the puck, but Lucas Lessio was able to keep the puck in at the blue line, and fired a shot wide of the net. The puck bounced hard off the boards, and right onto the stick of Shinnimin, who moved around LeNeveu and buried the puck just under the glove for 1-0 lead. Assists on the goal went to Lessio and Louis. The first period would end with no other scoring, and the Pirates outshooting the Wolf Pack 17-6.
Hartford came out with more jump in the 2nd, but it took just under 4 minutes of play for the Pirates to extend their lead to 2-0. Tobias Rieder went streaking into the zone on the right side, and beat LeNeveu over his shoulder with a nice backhand shot. The goal was the rookie’s 21st of the year, and assists went to Brandon Yip and David Rundblad. Less than a minute later Shinnimin tipped in his 2nd of the day, giving the Pirates a 3-0 lead. Assists on the goal went to Randy Jones, and Louis. The goal was Shinnimin’s 10th of the year, making him the 6th Pirates player to reach the double-digit mark for goals this season.
The Wolf Pack were able to get one back a few minutes later when Ryan Bourque tipped an Oscar Lindberg shot past Visentin. The second assist on the goal was credited to Marek Hrivik. The period would end with the score 3-1, and shots in favor of the Pirates 27-16.
In the 3rd period the Pirates were able to pull away from Hartford, thanks to 2 goals from Lucas Lessio. The first one came just past the halfway point of the period, when Louis dropped a pass off to Lessio, who ripped a shot past LeNeveu. Lessio’s next tally came 2 minutes later, giving the Pirates a dominating 5-1 lead. Assists on Lessio’s second went to Andy Miele and Daine Todd. Lessio now has 20 goals in his rookie season with the Pirates.
The score would remain 5-1 as the final buzzer sounded, ending one of the best performances by the Pirates all year. The forward line of Lessio (2g, 1a, 3p), Louis (3a, 3p), and Shinnimin (2g, 2p) had the best afternoon for the Pirates, finishing with 8 points total. The 3 assists for Louis set a career high for him in a game, as well as for a season.