Sunday, December 8, 2013
By Paul Betit email@example.com
Portland Pirates rookie defenseman Brandon Gormley has less than fond memories from the games he played at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee in Lewiston.
"The fans who were there were very passionate," said Gormley, who played several games against the old Lewiston Maineiacs while playing for the Moncton Wildcats in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.
"It got heated a few times," Gormley recalled. "I remember getting in a couple of arguments. You try to stay out of that stuff, but, you know, they're sitting there right in your ear and the game is not going well, and sometimes it's late in the game and it's hard to hold off."
Most of the fans at the Colisee should be cheering for the Pirates tonight when they play against the Worcester Sharks in the first of six AHL games scheduled for the Colisee this season.
Because of ongoing renovations at the Cumberland County Civic Center, the Pirates won't make their first appearance at the Portland facility until Nov. 2.
Gormley isn't the only player on the Portland roster who has had the experience of being on a visiting QMJHL team at the Colisee.
"On the visitors' bench, the glass was right next to us and the fans were just chirping at us every time we came off the ice," said defenseman Matheiu Brodeur, who played three seasons in the for the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles. "I know when Lewiston scored a goal, they would turn off the lights. It was pitch dark, and you felt ashamed, and when you went back to the bench the fans would be chirping at you. But it was fun though."
Veteran center Alexandre Bolduc made several trips to Lewiston during his four seasons with the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies.
"I was trying to go in there and silence the crowd a little bit, which is what you have to do as the opposing team," he said. "But now we'll have (the fans) on our side and I'm looking forward to getting back there."
As of 4 p.m. Thursday, less than 200 tickets were available for sale for Friday night's game, according to Jim Mercier, box officer manager.
The Lewiston arena seats about 3,670 people, nearly 3,000 less than the civic center does for a hockey game.
Last Saturday night, the Pirates, in their second season as AHL affiliate of the NHL's Phoenix Coyotes, opened in Glens Falls, N.Y., with a 6-3 loss against the Adirondack Phantoms.
"For the most part, we've been working on the same foundation stuff, your (defensive) zone coverage, your fore check, your entry, your tracking, just some of your offensive zone plan," Portland Pirates coach Ray Edwards said. "There's always layers to what you do, so we've been able to add a couple of layers to some parts of the foundation. It wouldn't have mattered, win or lose that (first) game, we were going to come back and focus on all of those things."
However, there were a couple areas that required some corrective action during this week's practice sessions.
"Watching that game, a couple of things stand out to us," Edwards said. "First of all, our emotional discipline. We've got to be in control better, and the other part was our puck protection has got to be better."
Because of the NHL lockout, all AHL teams are trying to catch up in their training regimen.
"We're still introducing stuff," Edwards said. "It's a little different this year because normally you have rookie camp, you have two weeks of main camp (in Phoenix) and you've got two weeks of training camp. We're still in our third week here. There's still lots to learn."