Portland falls to Providence 6-4 in season opener

Frank Vatrano bags four goals to led the Bruins past the Pirates.

The new look Portland Pirates dropped its season opener to the host Providence Bruins 6-4 in a Sunday afternoon matchup at the Dunkin' Donuts Center.

Frank Vatrano beat Portland starter Mike McKenna four times to led the Bruins to their first win of the season.

Vatrano scored twice in the first period, opening the scoring just seven seconds into the tilt with an even-strength goal from Alexander Khokhlachev and Austin Czarnik.

His second goal was of the power-play variety and set up by Tommy Cross at the 18:48 mark.

Kyle Rau notched the first goal of the campaign for the Pirates at 9:44 of the second period with the assists going to Sena Acolatse and Wayne Simpson.

The same three players combined to tie the game 6:11 later. This time Acolatse got the goal with Rau and Simpson collecting the helpers.

Czarnik put the Bruins back on top just 39 seconds later with the lone assist going to Chris Casto.

The goals keep coming with Pirates' veteran Rob Schremp lighting the lamp just 46 ticks after the Czarnik goal to tie the game at three. Rob Flick and Shane Harper were awarded assists on the goal.

In the third period, the Bruins power play clicked for a second time. Ben Youds got the goal at the 2:41 mark and Czarnik assisted for his third point of the game.

Vatrano, a product of UMass-Amherst, completed his hat-trick unassisted 2:18 later to give Providence a 5-3 advantage.

Portland pulled back within a goal when Flick converted from Harper and Schremp midway through the frame.

Vatrano iced the game with another power-play goal with 1:41 left in regulation. His fourth of the contest was set up by Khokhlachev, making Providence a perfect 3 for 3 with the man advantage.

McKenna finished with 18 saves on just 24 shots. Providence's Zane McIntrye turned aside 27 shots to post the win.

The Florida Panthers new AHL affiliate will be back in action this weekend. The Pirates will meet the Hershey Bears on Saturday and Sunday to open a three-game homestand.