McKenna, Falcons Blank Pirates 3-0
Springfield, MA - Former Pirate Mike McKenna made 26 saves as the Springfield Falcons shutout the Portland Pirates 3-0. Mark Visentin made 28 saves for the Pirates in the loss, which dropped the Pirates below .500 with a 7-8-1-2 record on the year.
In a matchup between two of the best penalty killing units in the AHL, the Pirates were tested early, killing two penalties in the first period. However, just 18 seconds after the first Falcons' power play expired, Dalton Smith would give Springfield the lead, beating Mark Visentin at 6:45 of the first. Springfield outshot the Pirates 14 to 5 in the first and led 1-0 at the intermission.
The Falcons extended their lead in the second, again in the 7th minute. This time Spencer Machacek had the goal, his second of the year, and the Falcons took a 2-0 lead at 6:18 of the second. The Pirates had their best opportunity on the power play ass Brandon Yip rang a shot off the post, but Mike McKenna stood strong and stopped all 8 shots he saw from the Pirates during the second.
The Pirates tilted the ice in the Falcons' direction in the third, but it was to no avail. Mike McKenna kept the Pirates off the board with 13 more saves in the third period. Despite the Pirates' pressure, Machacek struck again with an empty net goal with 1:17 left in regulation to seal Springfield's victory.
The shutout is the first shutout suffered by the Pirates this season. The Pirates were last shutout by the same score, 3-0, on February 10, 2013, by the same Springfield Falcons and another former Pirates goaltender in Curtis McElhinney. The Pirates' penalty kill remained a bright spot, killing all 6 Springfield penalties to extend their streak to 4 full games without allowing a power play goal and 13 straight killed penalties.
The Pirates are back in action next Friday when they travel to Worcester to take on the Sharks at 7:30 p.m. The game can be heard on the Pirates flagship stations WPEI 95.5/95.9 FM as well as WEZR AM 1240 in the Lewiston/Auburn area and WTME AM 780/1450 in Oxford County. The game can also be heard online at portlandpirates.com by clicking "Listen Live" and can be seen live on AHL Live at ahllive.com. The pregame show starts at 7:10 with Jeff Mannix.
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