Published Date Written by Ken LevinskyThe Portland Pirates were on the road last weekend to play two tough Eastern Conference foes. After losing 6-1 to the Binghamton Senators on Friday, the Pirates bounced back the next evening to defeat the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins 4-3 in a shootout. Portland returned to the Cumberland County Civic Center on Tuesday and beat the Bridgeport Sound Tigers 2-1 in overtime
The Pirates are now tied for second place in the tightly packed Atlantic Division of The American Hockey League's Eastern Conference. With 26 points (teams receive 2 points for each victory and 1 point for an overtime or shootout loss) the team is just 1 point behind the first place Worcester Sharks.
In their 24 games the Pirates have 12 wins, 10 losses, 1 overtime loss and 1 shootout loss.
In the American Hockey League, each of the two fifteen team conferences has three divisions, as in the parent National Hockey League. The division winners receive the top three seeds in the conference playoffs with the other five slots going to the remaining teams with the most points. At this point, the Pirates are tied for the last two playoff spots.
Portland leads the Atlantic Division in both goals scored (74) and goals against (79).
Individually Alexandre Bolduc (No. 49) remains tied for third in the AHL with 13 goals, 2 behind the league leader. The 6-foot, 3-inch native of Montreal, also has 12 assists to lead the team with 25 points in 23 games. Rob Klinkhammer (No. 12) is second on the team in scoring, with 7 goals and 12 assists, while Andy Miele (No. 21) sits in third place with 5 goals and a team leading 13 assists for a total of 18 points. The team's other "point a game" scorer is Oliver Ekman-Larsson (No. 23) who has 17 points (6 goals and 11 assists) in 16 games.
The Pirates have a busy week ahead. This evening they host Manchester in Lewiston at 7 p.m., before traveling to Connecticut and Worcester for games on Saturday (7 p.m.) and Sunday (3 p.m). The Pirates return home to the Cumberland County Civic Center on Wednesday to play Springfield at 7 p.m.
Pirates games can be heard on WLOB 1310 AM.
The Pirates are in their second year of a five-year agreement as the affiliate of the Phoenix Coyotes. Phoenix's prior AHL affiliate, San Antonio, made the playoffs last in 2008. Last season the Pirates finished in third place in the Atlantic Division, just 2 points behind second place Manchester and a spot in the playoffs. The parent Coyotes made the NHL playoffs last season, for a total of eight times in their sixteen years since relocating from Winnipeg.