The Portland Pirates began their 2011-12 season in “Coyotes Style” fashion on Saturday night when they faced off against the Bridgeport Sound Tigers in Bridgeport, Conn.
|Mathieu Beaudoin |
Mathieu Beaudoin scored two goals as the Coyotes' American Hockey League affiliate won, 4-2, to get the new relationship between Phoenix and Portland off to a strong start. Brett Hextall
opened the scoring by tallying his first career AHL goal 3:03 into the game by doing what he did for most of his career at North Dakota - getting into the dirty areas of the ice and picking up the trash. Andy Miele fired a shot from the left circle that Bridegport goalie Kevin Poulin had a hard time corralling, which allowed Hextall to give it several good shots until it found its way into the net.
Miele showed why he’s a highly regarded prospect for the Coyotes when he put the Pirates up, 2-1, early in the second period.
|Andy Miele. Photo by Norm Hall. |
Miele took a pass below the right faceoff circle from defenseman Garrett Stafford and skated around several defenders and back to the top of the zone. He then snapped a shot that caught Poulin off-guard.
Miele, the 2011 Hobey Baker Award winner, finished his first AHL game with a goal and an assist.
Beaudoin gave Portland a 3-1 lead by scoring his first goal of the game/season at 5:35 of the second perriod on a power play after Nathan Oystrick
put a near-perfect pass on his stick from the opposite boards.
Leading 3-2 in the third period, Pirates forward Matt Watkins raced the puck up the ice on the left side and dished to Beaudoin on a 2-on-0 break for a backhanded shot that flipped over Poulin for his second goal.
Pirates goalie Curtis McElhinney stopped 37 of 39 shots to earn the victory.
“I thought (McElhinney) was good tonight,” Pirates Head Coach Ray Edwards said. “He gave us a chance to win. It would be nice to have goaltending like that all season long. It really relaxes the group. They know that if they make a mistake that they’ve got a guy that will back them up and make a big save.”
The Pirates open the home portion of their schedule on Saturday at the Cumberland County Civic Center when they take on their archrival, the Manchester Monarchs (LA Kings).
After playing the Monarchs, the Pirates will travel to Providence for a Sunday matinee against the Providence Bruins (Boston Bruins).
For more information on the Portland Pirates visit portlandpirates.com