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Ferraro Sinks Pirates

by Alex Pufhal

The Portland Pirates need every point they can muster along the way as they fight for their playoff lives. On paper, Saturday's Portland-Providence game looked like a mismatch.

The Pirates who have an ability to get up for the big games and disappear for the teams they should beat, did it again. Just 66 seconds in, Portland's Rick Kowalsky scored his 4th of year from Matt Herr and Trevor Halverson. That is now 6 point is three games for Halverson who should garner some support as player of the week.

Portland went up 2-0 on a pretty goal from Kent Hulst, the 15th of the year from Danny Cleary and Barrie Moore.

A little over three minutes later, former UMaine star Peter Ferraro scored his 2nd AHL goal of the season following his reassignment from Boston. The assists on the power play goal went to former Maine Mariner Steve Bancroft and former BU star and AHL player of the week Shawn Bates. Ferraro then picked up his 2nd of the night also on the power-play from former Lowell Lock Monster Duane Harmer and Bancroft again. Providence dominated most of the first period outshooting Portland 18-9.

Antti Laaksonen scored his 21st of the year from Terry Virtue and Randy Robitaille early in the 2nd period to put the B's up 3-2. Shawn Bates then went off on a spearing major when he speared Steve Poapst for pretty much no reason. The Pirates spent the majority of the major in their own end, Providence penalty killing was excellent as well as the Pirates inability to move the puck. The only saving grace for the Pirates was a Stew Malgunas goal, his 4th of year with under a minute to go on the major.

Ferraro finished out the scoring on his 3rd of the night from Eric Nickulas and Terry Virtue. Ferraro also scored at 19:59.9 however the goal was waved off as the horn supposedly sounded. The red light clearly came on before the green but the Bruins didn't spend much time complaining.

Providence' Joel Prpic was given a major early in the 3rd for checking from behind, in another incident that defies logic. While it happened up the other end of the rink it was clear that the Pirate involved was well away from the boards and not involved in the play when Prpic ran him hard. The Pirates have sent the game tapes of the Bates and Prpic incidents to the League office.

The Bruins with a win have reached the 100 point mark, a marked improvement from their worst overall finish a season ago. With the loss and the Saint John win later in the night, Portland is now 8 points out of the final Atlantic division playoff spot. By virtue of the Pirates loss, Lowell has clinched their first playoff berth in their first season.

The final shots on were 36-26 in favor of Providence. John Grahme got his 30th win of the season, Portland's Martin Brochu saw his record fall to 4-5-3.

A crowd of 5,347 fans one of the larger crowds in Portland this season and dotted with Boston and Providence fans. The Providence crowd was fairly well behaved and not repeating the incidents of the first few seasons. They did manage to fire up the Portland crowd though with their chants and cheers for the Bruins which put some life into the crowd for the first time in awhile.  Probably says a lot about the rivalry which hasn't been as intense as in the past.

The Pirates fans gave a nice hand to Joaquim Gage when he appeared in practice and during the game since it was his first Portland appearance since his release. Noticeably absent was former Mariner owner Ed Anderson.  Quite present however were a number of NHL scouts in preparation for clear day.

3 Stars: Media:                                                                    Personal:
1. Peter Ferraro                                                                  1. Peter Ferraro
2. Barrie Moore                                                                   2. John Grahame
3. Terry Virtue                                                                      3. Kent Hulst

Copyright 1999 Alex Pufhal

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