|Hockey Heaven: Articles
Pirates happy with point
Saturday, December 15, 2001
By DAN HICKLING, Special to Press Herald
PROVIDENCE, R.I. - The Portland Pirates battled for a well-deserved point Friday night in a 2-2 tie against the Providence Bruins.
The Pirates, behind a terrific 33-save performance from goaltender Corey Hirsch, never trailed and stayed with Providence through 65 minutes of momentum shifts. Hirsch's effort was matched by Providence goalie Andrew Raycroft, who stopped 32 shots.
"We played very well," said Portland Coach Glen Hanlon, whose team is 2-0-1 in its last three. "Everyone on the bench did their job."
Pirates winger Peter Ferraro echoed the sentiment.
"It was definitely a high-energy game," Ferraro said. "The quality of chances were there for both teams.
"For the most part, we did a lot of good things. We played hard as a team and stuck to our game plan. Unfortunately, we weren't as successful as we wanted to be. But to come into this building and get a point is satisfactory."
Ferraro staked Portland to a 2-1 lead late in the second period. But Providence tied it at 3:34 of the third on a goal by Greg Crozier, his second of the season.
Thanks largely to Hirsch, Portland weathered a tough stretch in the first 10 minutes when the Bruins enjoyed a territorial edge.
Making his first start in three games, Hirsch passed his first stiff test of the night at 1:29 when forward Ivan Huml stole the puck near the Providence blue line, then headed down ice. Huml let go a 15-footer that Hirsch fended off, then was upended by Jakub Cutta, who was called for hooking.
Providence nearly cashed in that power play when former Pirate Remi Royer, stationed just to Hirsch's right, had half the net open but sent his shot past the far post.
Hirsch was called upon again early in the second period and this time responded with three rapid-fire stops. Soon after, at 4:45, Nick Naumenko gave the Pirates a 1-0 lead with his sixth goal of the season from just inside the blue line. Patrick Boileau assisted on the goal, which came while Portland held a four-on-three advantage.
"It was kind of up and down," said Pirates winger Mark Murphy. "It went both ways. It was a good hockey game."
Andy Hilbert answered for Providence at 7:11 when he squeezed in a shot from the left circle.
But Ferraro restored Portland's lead at 17:34, chipping a loose puck over Raycroft's shoulder. It was Ferraro's seventh of the season and third against his ex-teammates.
"You have to prepare a little differently against a team like (Providence) because they play hard," Ferraro said. "Maybe subconsciously you take a different approach with these guys, because they are a high-energy team."
After Crozier tied the game with a power-play goal, both teams pushed hard for the winner.
"A tie's all right," said Murphy. "We'll take a point.
"Obviously you want to win. And overtime's exciting . . . you want to go for it. But we're happy to get the tie."
NOTES: The Pirates were without high-scoring center Glen Metropolit, who was recalled earlier in the day by the Washington Capitals. In the last meeting here between the teams, Nov. 21, Raycroft took a Metropolit slap shot flush on his mask and was sidelined two games with a mild concussion.
Copyright 2001 Blethen Maine Newspapers Inc.