AHL Journal: Pirates, Portland arena back on same page
By Mike Miccoli
Though they started the season with uncertainty about their future, the Portland Pirates have announced last week that they reached an agreement with the Cumberland County Civic Center on a new five-year lease.
The Pirates have been playing at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee in Lewiston after a new deal with the Civic Center was unable to be reached. The Colisee is approximately 45 miles away from the Civic Center, the Pirates’ original home arena since inception.
"We at the civic center are very pleased the Pirates are returning and delighted for the fans, the community, and the businesses who will benefit," said Neal Pratt, chairman of the Civic Center board, in a news conference on Tuesday.
The Pirates will be playing again in the Civic Center by next season – potentially this year if Portland reaches the playoffs – crushing any rumors that were circulated that the organization would relocate. The agreement comes close to four months after news came that talks had broken down between the Civic Center and the Portland Pirates.
Now, all is good again between the two sides and fans of the team in Portland.
"We can't wait for the puck to drop for the next game at the Civic Center," said Ron Cain, Pirates majority owner, at last Tuesday's press conference.
1) Springfield Falcons (31-13-1-4): The Falcons were a perfect 3-0 on the week before falling to the Bruins on Sunday, 3-1. One more win and the Falcons would have gone into the All-Star break atop of the Eastern Conference. Springfield still has three games in-hand on the Monarchs and are two points out of first. (Last week: 3-1, #2)
2) Manchester Monarchs (31-14-2-5): The Monarchs should have gotten a much-needed boost with Tyler Toffoli and Martin Jones returning on loan from the Los Angeles Kings for the NHL's Olympic break. Instead, Manchester dropped its first game with the duo back in the lineup but rebounded on Sunday as Jones notched a 19-save shutout for a 3-0 Monarchs win over the Albany Devils. (Last week: 2-1, #1)
3) Providence Bruins (26-18-1-6): Maybe this was the jump-start the Bruins needed. Collecting seven out of possible eight points, the Bruins go into the AHL All-Star break in sixth place in the Eastern Conference. Bruins goaltender Niklas Svedberg stepped up this week, stopping a combined 57 shots in back-to-back wins over Eastern Conference powerhouses Monarchs and Falcons. (Last week: 3-0-0-1, #4)
4) Worcester Sharks (23-19-3-1): Splitting their weekend series with the St. John’s IceCaps, the Sharks .500 record leaves them status quo going into the break. Goaltender Troy Grosenick kept his winning streak alive recording the Sharks’ sole win. Grosenick hasn’t lost a game since January 3. (Last week: 1-1, #3)
5) Bridgeport Sound Tigers (20-24-1-4): After being shutout against Albany, the Sound Tigers bounced back on Sunday with a 5-4 win over the Adirondack Phantoms. The sticks were no longer silent, with Ryan Strome and John Persson recording three-point games. Strome scored a goal and assisted on two others while Persson scored twice with one assist. (Last week: 1-1, #5)
6) Hartford Wolfpack (18-24-0-5): Even with a loss, Wolfpack goaltender David LeNeveu was impressive, stopping 37 of the 39 shots he faced. The Wolfpack are slowly starting to build up wins and string together weeks where they finish above .500. For a team that started the season with so much potential, it's a good jump and goal to reach for after the AHL All-Star break.(Last week: 2-1, #6)
7) Portland Pirates (17-21-2-7): The Pirates are going backwards again and their week was a microcosm of that. After scoring nine goals in the first two games this week, their offense dried up, only recording two goals in their final two games, both of which were losses. While good news came earlier in the week that the Pirates were staying in Portland, it's the hope that they turn their season around and stop their most recent skid once play resumes this weekend. (Last week: 1-3, #7)
Games of the Week:
Friday, February 14:
St. John’s IceCaps @ Providence Bruins (7:05 p.m.)
Worcester Sharks @ Binghamton Senators (7 p.m.)
St, John's IceCaps @ Manchester Monarchs (3 p.m.)
Worcester Sharks @ Springfield Falcons (3 p.m.)