ST. JOHN'S, N.L. - Marc-Antoine Pouliot had a goal and an assist in the third period and Curtis McElhinney made 40 saves as the Portland Pirates rallied for 5-2 victory over the St. John's IceCaps in American Hockey League action Wednesday night.
Portland scored four unanswered goals in the third period to mount a comeback from down 2-1.
?It's really frustrating when you have your lead going into the third period and you can't close it out,? said IceCaps head coach Keith McCambridge.
?Strong first period, strong second period, and we go into the third and go brain-dead. We make bad changes on the back end, we put pucks into shin pads, we don't find sticks in front of the net, and it gets out of reach.?
Kyle Chipchura scored twice in the final period, including an empty-netter, while Ashton Rome also scored for the Pirtates (3-4-1).
Shawn Weller and Jason King replied for the St. John's (5-2-1).
The IceCaps found themselves down a goal near the closing stage of the first period.
Portland capitalized on a poor turnover in the IceCaps' defensive zone when Colin Long set up Rome at 16:55.
St. John's starter Peter Maninno turned away 10 of the 11 shots he faced in the first to keep his team in the game.
The second period was all IceCaps, as the team outshot Portland 14-4 and scored two goals to put themselves ahead.
The IceCaps scored a power-play goal when Weller scored about six minutes into the second. Weller attacked the back post and put in an easy goal off a feed from Mark Flood.
King, who put up an assist on Weller's goal, got himself on the scoreboard again with a goal to put the home team ahead 2-1.
King was frustrated his team couldn't keep their momentum in the third period.
???Our third is unacceptable, that's not us," he said. "We're a veteran group, those are games early in the season that we have to close out. That's two big points tonight we gave them.???
Portland roared out of the gate in the third, netting a goal 46 seconds into the period. Pouliot scored off a brilliant feed from Mathieau Beaudoin to even the game.
Then it was Pouliot's turn to set up his linemate, as he assisted on a goal from Beaudoin less than five minutes later.
Chipchura added to the Pirates' lead by potting a power-play goal midway through the period and put the game out of reach late in the period with an empty-net goal.
???It's very frustrating when you lose points like this against a division opponent," added McCambridge. "Those are points you don't want to be looking at in March and having to rely on some other team to get into the playoffs. Those are ones that we hope don't come back to haunt us.???
Mannino made 23 saves on 27 shots in the loss.