This weekend the Portland Pirates are taking on three games in three days, starting off Friday night against the Worcester Sharks. This will be the second meeting of the season for these two teams as Portland has already defeated the Sharks in Lewiston 4-2 in their last meeting.
The Pirates are coming off of a home ice victory against the St. Johns IceCaps last Friday night, providing goalie Chad Johnson with his second shutout. In the last three games that Johnson has appeared in he has recorded two shutouts and only two goals against him, making him second in the AHL. The Pirates will also be going into this weekend with out Phil Lane in the line up for Friday’s game. Lane is serving a game suspension issued from the league resulting from a boarding incident against the IceCaps on November 2.
The Sharks are currently holding down second place in the Atlantic Division with a 4-4-1-1 record, three points behind the leading Manchester Monarchs. They are currently averaging 2.6 goals per game and come into a 12 game season series with the lower hand losing the series opener to the Pirates on October 19. They are also playing three games in three days this weekend, with back to back home games against Portland and the Connecticut Whale on Saturday.
For the Pirates the main guys to watch should come as no surprise. Alexandre Bolduc still leads the team with 11 points (6 goals and 5 assists) and Chris Conner is in a close second with 10 points (5 goals and 5 assists). There is also line mate Rob Klinkhammer who has opsted 3 goals and 7 assists for 10 points as well. This line together has collected 31 of the 34 scored for Portland so far this season and is a force to be reckoned with. Portland also holds an upper hand defense-wise as well with Oliver Ekman-Larsson being #6 in the AHL for scoring defensemen. Ekman-Larsson suited up for all of Phoenix’s regular season and post season games last season and is expected to be one of the best upcoming young players of the NHL.
Taking a look at the opponent Tim Kennedy is the lone force of the Sharks who leads his team with 4 goals and 5 assists for 10 points on the season. Behind him is center Bracken Kearns with 3 goals and 5 assists and right wing Sebastian Stalberg who has 4 goals and three assists. Stalberg is looking to inch his way forward in the rookie scoring leaderboard where he is currently ranked 7th in the league.