Apr 22

Miele Heads List of Portland Pirates 2013-14 Team Award Winners

Photo Courtesy: Ron Morin/Portland Pirates

Photo Courtesy: Ron Morin/Portland Pirates

Portland, ME- Three days after the 2013-14 season came to an end, the Portland Pirates announced this season’s team award winners, presented by Creative Awards, and Andy Miele, who was the team’s best player all season, led the way.

Photo Courtesy: Ron's Sports Photography/Portland Pirates

Photo Courtesy: Ron’s Sports Photography/Portland Pirates

Most Valuable Player, Most Popular Player: Andy Miele

Miele, a third year 26 year-old pro from Grosse Pointe Woods, Michigan had a breakout season, notching career highs in goals (27), assists (45), and points (72) in 70 games this season.  Miele was also recalled twice by the Phoenix Coyotes this season, playing in seven games, while scoring 0-2-2, his first ever NHL points.  He ended the season tied with former Portland Pirates defenseman and current Toronto Marlies player T.J. Brennan for third in overall league scoring.  They trailed only league MVP Travis Morin of the Texas Stars (32-56-88) and Charlotte Checkers forward Zach Boychuk (36-38-74).  Miele was selected as a Second Team AHL All-Star, becoming the fifth playing in Pirates history selected as a Second Team AHL All-Star.

Miele ended the season by jumping into the top 15 in most all-time Portland Pirates franchise lists, including the top ten in three of them.  He ranks ninth all-time in assists (117), ninth in points (179), tied for tenth in game-winning goals (9), tied for 12th in power plays goals (17), 13th in goals (62), and 14th in regular season games played (209).

This is the second time Miele has won each award.  He was originally voted as the team’s most valuable player during his rookie year in 2011-12.  He joins Mark Mancari (2009-10, 2010-11) as the only two-time winner of the team MVP.  This is the second consecutive year that Miele has been voted the team’s Most Popular Player by the fans.  Jason Christie (1994-95, 1995-96) is the only other two-time winner of the Pirates Most Popular Player award.

Miele is an unrestricted free agent and can sign with any NHL team this offseason.  He will play for Team USA at the upcoming IIHF World Championship tournament, to be played May 9-25 in Minsk, Belarus.  It will be the second time Miele will suit up for Team USA in the tournament.  He played in two games and scored 0-2-2 during the 2011 IIHF World Championship in Slovakia.

Photo Courtesy: Ron Morin/Portland Pirates

Photo Courtesy: Ron Morin/Portland Pirates

Unsung Hero: Jordan Martinook

Pirates second year forward Jordan Martinook was voted by fans as the 2013-14 Unsung Hero.  Martinook, a 21 year-old second year forward from Leduc, Alberta scored career highs this season in goals (14), assists (16), and points (30).  In his rookie season last year, Martinook scored 9-10-19.  Martinook saw his role evolve as the season went on.  He began the year as a defensive centerman, usually lining up as the third or fourth line center trying to shut down the other team’s top offensive players.  But, as the season went on, he sometimes would center a scoring line.  He also was moved to play left wing on the team’s top line with Andy Miele and Tobias Rieder for parts of the season’s final month, a role in which he excelled.

Martinook, a 2012 Phoenix Coyotes second round draft pick, will be on the final year of his entry level contract and will be eligible to return to Portland next season, if he does not make the Coyotes roster.

Photo Courtesy: Ron Morin/Portland Pirates

Photo Courtesy: Ron Morin/Portland Pirates

Tom Ebright Award: Jordan Szwarz

Pirates Captain Jordan Szwarz was selected as the winner of the Tom Ebright Award for the second straight season.  The award, named for the founding owner of the Portland Pirates, is given to the player who fills Ebright’s vision for what it means to be a Portland Pirate and is selected by members of the Pirates Front Office.  Szwarz was called up to the NHL for the first time in his career on October 27.  He split the season between Phoenix and Portland, playing in 26 games with the Coyotes, scoring 3-0-3.  He played in 27 games with Portland, notching 8-6-14.  Szwarz is the second player in Pirates history to win the Ebright Award twice, joining former Pirates captain Trent Whitfield, who won the award in 1999-2000 and 2003-04.

Always a tough, hard-working player, Szwarz was drafted by Phoenix in the fourth round of the 2009 NHL Entry Draft.  The 22 year-old forward from Burlington, Ontario is in his third professional season is a restricted free agent at the end of the season.  Phoenix must tender Szwarz a qualifying offer by July 1, the opening of NHL Free Agency this offseason, in order to retain exclusive negotiating rights with Szwarz.

Photo Courtesy: Christian Petersen/Getty Images North America

Photo Courtesy: Christian Petersen/Getty Images North America

Jack Button Memorial Award: Connor Murphy

The winner of the 2013-14 Jack Button Memorial Award, given to the top NHL Prospect on the team each season, is rookie defenseman Connor Murphy.  Murphy was impressive in his first season of professional hockey, splitting the season between Portland and Phoenix.  He played 36 games with the Pirates, scoring 0-13-13.  He also played 30 games with the Coyotes, notching 1-7-8.

The 21 year-old Dublin, Ohio native has two years remaining on his entry level contract and is considered a major threat to make the Phoenix Coyotes roster full-time next season.  He was the Coyotes’ first round draft pick in 2011.  Murphy will join Miele on Team USA at the upcoming IIHF World Championship.  He was a member of the gold medal winning Team USA at the 2013 IIHF World Junior Championship.

Photo Courtesy: Ron's Sports Photography/Portland Pirates

Photo Courtesy: Ron’s Sports Photography/Portland Pirates

Players’ Player: Brett Hextall

For the second consecutive year, Brett Hextall was voted by his teammates as the Players’ Player, given to the player who best represents the team’s values and character.  Hextall had a career year in his third pro season, scoring 11-12-23, all career highs, in 59 games this season, which is the fewest he’s played during any regular season.  The 26 year-old Philadelphia, Pennsylvania native is sixth two-time winner of the Players’ Player Award in franchise history.  He joins Jeff Nelson (1993-94, 2000-01), Kent Hulst (1995-96, 1999-2000), Trent Whitfield (1999-2000, 2004-05), Mel Angelstad (2001-02, 2002-03), and Tyler Bouck (2007-08, 2008-09) as the two-time winners.

Hextall is an unrestricted free agent is eligible to sign with any NHL team this offseason.

Apr 19

Pirates Iced in Season Finale

Photo Courtesy: Chris Knoblock/Portland Pirates

Photo Courtesy: Chris Knoblock/Portland Pirates

Saco, ME- The final game of the Portland Pirates’ 2013-14 season went much like many other games this season.  The Pirates scored the first goal and led after one period Saturday night against the St. John’s IceCaps at the OA Sports Center.  They led after two periods.  But, in the end, they didn’t win, as the IceCaps scored three times in the third period to defeat the Pirates 5-4.  St. John’s won all six road games against Portland this season and 10 of 12 games overall.  Portland ended the season without a win in their final ten games.

Brandon Yip scored twice for Portland, including a shorthanded goal and a goal on a penalty shot.  Yip’s third period penalty shot goal was the first penalty shot scored by Portland since Jordan Szwarz netted a penalty shot goal on St. John’s Mark Dekanich at the Cumberland County Civic Center on March 22, 2013.  Brandon Gormley and Tobias Rieder also scored for the Pirates.

Andy Miele notched two assists, giving him 117 over three seasons in a Pirates uniform.  He passes Mark Mancari (116) for 9th place on the Pirates all-time assists list.

Josh Lunden ended up scoring both go-ahead goals in the third period for the IceCaps, including the game-winner.  Jerome Samson scored a goal and added two assists, all in the third period.  Both Kael Mouillierat and John Albert had a goal and an assist for St. John’s.

Michael Hutchinson stopped 27 shots to get the win.  Louis Domingue made 31 saves, but lost his seventh straight start and went without a win in his ninth straight start for Portland.  His last win this season was on March 23 over the Bridgeport Sound Tigers.

St. John’s closes the season at 46-23-2-5 for 99 points.  They finish in fourth place in the Eastern Conference and will have home ice advantage in their best-of-five Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series against the fifth-seeded Albany Devils, beginning in Albany on Friday night.  Portland finishes the season with a record of 24-39-3-10 for 61 points.  Portland finished in last place in the overall AHL standings this season.  They tied with the Utica Comets for fewest points in the AHL when scoring first this season (41, 15-12-2-9).  Portland was 14-8-0-5 this season when leading after one period and 13-6-2-3 when leading after two.  The Pirates led the league in losses in both categories this season.

The full 2014-15 schedule will be announced in August.  Portland’s home opener and official return to the Cumberland County Civic Center will be on Saturday, October 11 at 7:00 p.m.

Scoring Summary:

1st Period

POR: Brandon Gormley (7) (PP) (Andy Miele, Connor Murphy)- 6:54  POR 1-0

POR: Tobias Rieder (28) (Jordan Martinook, Miele)- 14:43  POR 2-0

2nd Period

STJ: Kael Mouillierat (20) (Eric O’Dell, Carl Klingberg)- 4:46  POR 2-1

STJ: John Albert (28) (4×4) (Mouillierat, O’Neill)- 15:39  2-2

POR: Brandon Yip (13) (SH) (unassisted)- 17:32  POR 3-2

3rd Period

STJ: Jerome Samson (27) (PP5x3) (Albert, Jason Jaffray)- 1:10  3-3

STJ: Josh Lunden (5) (Brenden Kichton, Samson)- 8:42  STJ 4-3

POR: Yip (14) (PS)- 13:38  4-4

STJ: Lunden (6) (J.C. Lipon, Samson)- 14:14  STJ 5-4

Shots on Goal:

STJ: 12-12-12-36

POR: 10-10-11=31

Goalies:

STJ: Michael Hutchinson- 27 saves (W) (60:00) (17-5-1)

POR: Louis Domingue- 31 saves (L) (59: 17) (9-18-2)

Power Plays:

STJ: 1/5

POR: 1/3

3 Stars of the Game:

1. Josh Lunden- STJ: 2 goals

2. Brandon Yip- POR: 2 goals

3. Brandon Gormley- POR: 1 goal

Apr 19

Game Day Preview: Portland Pirates vs. St. John’s IceCaps: April 19, 2014

Photo Courtesy: Ron Morin/Portland Pirates

Photo Courtesy: Ron Morin/Portland Pirates

Saco, ME- The Portland Pirates close the 2013-14 American Hockey League season tonight when they face the St. John’s IceCaps at the OA Sports Center.

The Pirates will look to end the season by snapping their nine game winless streak, which is their longest of the season.  Portland hasn’t won a game since they beat the Manchester Monarchs 7-5 at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee in Lewiston on March 29.

Portland has managed to get a point out of their last two games, both 3-2 shootout defeats, against the Norfolk Admirals last Sunday and the Albany Devils on Wednesday.

In Wednesday’s game, Greg Carey (1-1-2) scored his first professional goal, while Lucas Lessio (29-25-54) scored in his second straight game.  Mark Visentin (14-19-6, 3.25, 0.902) made 28 saves in his first game since returning from the Phoenix Coyotes, but took the shootout loss.

One big story line to the final game of the season will be Andy Miele’s continued pursuit of climbing the Portland Pirates all-time scoring rankings.  He will end the season ninth place all-time in point ins Pirates franchise history.  He is currently at 177 points.  Miele is at 115 assists, which ranks him 10th on the all-time franchise list.  He is one assist shy of tying Mark Mancari for ninth place all-time.  He is at 62 goals, which ranks #13 in Portland Pirates history.  He is one behind Patrick Boileau for 12th, and two behind Ryan Mulhern for 11th on the all-time list.

The St. John’s IceCaps locked up the #4 seed in the Eastern Conference for the upcoming Calder Cup Playoffs on the penultimate day of the AHL season last night with a convincing 6-0 win over the Worcester Sharks at the DCU Center.  Jerome Samson (26-27-53) led the IceCaps attack with a goal and three assists.  Three players just back down from the Winnipeg Jets, Eric O’Dell (17-24-41), Carl Klingberg (22-20-42), and Ben Chiarot (6-14-20) all had a goal and an assist.  J.C. Lipon (9-32-41) dished out three assists on the night.  Kyle MacKinnon (12-27-39) and Josh Lunden (4-3-7) also notched goals for the IceCaps.

Michael Hutchinson (16-5-1, 2.22, 0.925, 3 SO) made 23 saves for his third shutout with St. John’s this season.  Hutchinson, originally a third round draft pick of the Boston Bruins in 2008, failed to progress in three seasons in the Bruins system.  He signed with Winnipeg as a free agent last summer and started the season with the ECHL’s Ontario Reign.  After putting up stellar numbers there, he earned a call-up to St. John’s in January and earned the starting job after an injury to regular starting goalie Eddie Pasquale.  Hutchinson spent the final month of the NHL season with Winnipeg, posting a 2-1-0 record with a 1.64 GAA, and a 0.943 save percentage in three starts, the first NHL action of his pro career.

The IceCaps have dominated the season series, winning all five road games against Portland in the season series and nine of eleven overall. St. John’s will have home ice advantage in the best-of-five Eastern Conference quarterfinal against either the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, Albany Devils, or Providence Bruins.

With the Bridgeport Sound Tigers win on Friday night over the Adirondack Phantoms means the Pirates will finish in last place in the AHL standings this season regardless of tonight’s result.

Tonight’s game begins at 7:00 p.m.  Broadcast coverage begins with the Pirates Pregame Show at 6:40 on the WPEI Portland Pirates Radio Network (WLOB AM 1310 and WTME AM 780/1450) and here at portlandpiratesradio.com.

Tonight’s Match-Up:

Portland Pirates (NHL Affiliate: Phoenix Coyotes)

Overall Record: 24-38-3-10, 61 points

Atlantic Division Ranking: 5th

Eastern Conference Ranking: 15th

Home Record: 10-18-0-9

Power Play: 20.1% (9th)

Penalty Kill: 81.7% (18th)

2013-14 Overall Record vs. St. John’s: 2-9-0-0

2013-14 Home Record vs. St. John’s: 0-5-0-0

St. John’s iceCaps (NHL Affiliate: Winnipeg Jets)

Overall Record: 45-23-2-5, 97 points

Atlantic Division Ranking: 2nd

Eastern Conference Ranking: 4th

Road Record: 22-13-0-2

Power Play: 18% (12th)

Penalty Kill: 83.7% (7th)

2013-14 Overall Record vs. Portland: 9-2-0-0

2013-14 Record @ Portland: 5-0-0-0

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