Six points separate the Portland Pirates and the Connecticut Whale as the two Eastern Conference foes face off in an AHL matchup tonight at 7 p.m.
Portland sits fifth in the conference with 67 points and a 32-20-1-2 record, while Connecticut currently holds the eighth spot with 61 points and a record of 27-23-5-2. The Pirates are 5-4-0-1 in their last ten games, while the Whale have gone 7-2-1-0 in the last ten games.
While Connecticut looks to extend a two-game winning streak, Portland looks to break its two-game losing streak. The Whale defeated Bridgeport on Friday, 7-3, before beating the Sound Tigers again on Sunday, 3-2 in overtime. Meanwhile, Portland suffered a 2-1 shootout loss to Worcester on Saturday before dropping a 7-1 decision to Providence on Sunday heading into tonight’s game.
Whale center Kris Newbury leads the team across the board with 18 goals, 32 assists and 50 points in 55 games. He’s second on the team in penalty minutes only to Michael Haley, who has 158 on the season. Right winger Brandon Segal has 32 points (16-16), while defenseman Logan Pyett leads Whale blueliners with 30 points in 55 games.
Goaltender Cam Talbot has appeared in 44 games for the Whale this season; Talbot has stopped 1,221 of 1,330 shots faced and has a 2.59 GAA and .918 save percentage.
Leading the way for Portland is center Alexandre Bolduc, who has 38 points in 44 games. Bolduc leads the team in points as well as goals (20), while center Andy Miele leads the team with 21 assists on the season. Seven of Bolduc’s 20 goals have come on the special teams. Defenseman Mark Louis leads the team with 102 penalty minutes in 42 games this season.
Four goaltenders have appeared in games for the Pirates this season, but Chad Johnson has been the most prevalent, appearing in 27 games. Johnson has allowed 70 goals on 801 shots faced and has a 2.77 GAA and .913 save percentage.
Tonight’s game is the seventh of eight meetings between the Whale and the Pirates this season. Portland won the first three meetings (2-1, 1-0, 4-3) before Connecticut took the last three (6-1, 4-1, 4-1). They’ll meet once more, on April 20 in Portland.
Following tonight’s game, the Whale face a three-game homestand that will see them take on Binghamton, Adirondack and Providence before venturing out on a six-game road trip.
Next up for Portland is a trio of games this weekend, including a pair at home against Manchester and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton before visiting Worcester on Sunday.