Portland, ME - Mark Visentin stopped 48 of the 49 shots he faced to give the Portland Pirates a 2-1 win over the Providence Bruins Wednesday night at the Cumberland County Civic Center. The win is Visentin's fourth consecutive victory and the third straight win for the Pirates. Visentin has allowed just three goals over his four game win streak.
The intensity of a division rivalry was on display early as Pirates' forward Joel Rechlicz dropped the gloves with Bobby Robins less than one second into the game, the fastest fight in team history. Neither team was able to seize momentum immediately following the heavyweight bout, however, as the game remained scoreless until a great individual effort from Providence forward Ryan Spooner. Spooner stickhandled his way through the Pirates' defense and tucked a shot under the pads of Visentin for his seventh of the season at the 8:05 mark of the first.
The Pirates responded early in the second period. Andy Miele took a Jordan Szwarz feed in the slot and beat Providence starter Niklas Svedberg blocker side for his tenth goal of the season at 4:09. Portland would have the opportunity to take the lead later in the period as Christian Hanson was whistled for interference at 9:45. The Pirates were unable to capitalize on either of their power plays during the period, and the game remained tied into the third.
The third period belonged to Mark Visentin. The Pirates needed the rookie goaltender to stand tall as they found themselves in a 5 on 3 penalty kill early in the period. Visentin would make a couple highlight reel saves, first robbing Chris Bourque in the slot with a quick glove save, and later stretching across the net to stop Craig Cunningham's attempt on the door step. The Pirates would end the period and the game 3 for 3 on the power play, as they also had to kill off a Brett Hextall roughing penalty at 7:24. Despite being outshot 18-7 in the third, the Pirates capitalized on their best chance, with Rob Klinkhammer picking up a puck in the neutral zone and finding Jordan Szwarz, who finished off a 2 on 1 chance for his third of the season at 16:13. The goal would be all Visentin and the Pirates would need, holding on for the 2-1 victory.
The Pirates improve to 19-11-1-1 on the season, while Mark Visentin stays hot and improves to 7-6-1-1. The Bruins fall to 16-12-0-2, while Niklas Svedberg drops to 12-6-1-1. The Pirates remain in first place in the Atlantic Division and have won 9 of their last 10 games.
These two teams will meet again on Friday for the Pirates' first trip to Providence this season.