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Depleted Pirates drop fourth straight with 3-2 loss in Utica

Portland remains winless on the road this season.

Mike McKenna made 19 stops in the loss to Utica.
Mike McKenna made 19 stops in the loss to Utica.
Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

A late second period goal from Blair Jones stood up as the winner in the Utica Comets 3-2 victory over the Portland Pirates Wednesday night at Utica Memorial Auditorium.

The Pirates got off to a good start, opening the scoring on a Vincent Saponari tally at 8:19 of the first period. The goal was set up by Zac Larraza (just up from ECHL Manchester) and Chase Balisy.

Utica tied the game at the 18:04 mark when Darren Archibald beat Mike McKenna, with the assists going to Alex Friesen and Joseph Labate.

The Comets struck again 56 seconds later to go ahead 2-1. Ashton Sautner got the goal from Hunter Shinkaruk and Jones.

Veteran winger Rob Schremp evened the game for Portland at the 6:53 mark of the second period. The power-play goal was Schremp's team-leading sixth, with the helpers going to Cameron Gaunce and Rob Flick.

Jones' game-winner came with 1:21 left in the middle frame with the lone assist going to Carter Bancks.

Joe Cannata made 9 of his 25 saves in the third period to preserve the Comets one-goal advantage.

McKenna finished with 19 saves for the Pirates and saw his record drop to 2-3.

Portland (3-5) returns home to Cross Insurance Arena to face the Springfield Falcons (3-4-1) on Friday night.

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