By: Cristiano Simonetta, Catherine Morrison
SAVANNAH, GA - Michael Bullion was the spark the Savannah Ghost Pirates (5-9-2-1) needed against the Trois-Rivières Lions (11-5-0-0) on Thursday night, as the club shut out the Lions in a 5-0 win at Enmarket Arena.
The first period started off with a bang when, just over a minute in, Logan Drevitch scored with a shot from the far corner that slid between Lions goaltender Joe Vrbetic’s pads. Drevitch’s third goal of the year came at 1:26.
Before the fans had even finished cheering, the goal light went off again, this time for Simon Pinard, who ripped a shot from the right circle to double Savannah’s lead at 2:01. Pinard’s goal marked his seventh of the season, tied with Vince Marleau for the team lead.
“I liked that we came out with a sense of urgency, I think we got a couple of nice breaks there but we earned those breaks,” Ghost Pirates head coach Rick Bennett said.
Savannah remained in control the rest of the period, and the Ghost Pirates’ efforts were rewarded at 17:03 when Brent Pedersen scored on a shot from the slot for his fifth goal of the season.
With just seconds left in the period, the Ghost Pirates went on the power play after Trois-Rivières’ Nolan Yaremko was sent to the box for roughing. On the five-on-four, Pat Guay capitalized on his own rebound at 19:36.
“We felt that, addressing the team, it started in Orlando. We weren’t rewarded, but we played well and then they came back and had the day off and they practiced really hard,” Bennett said. “They were consistent from Orlando to tonight’s game, and I think they were rewarded for just consistently working hard.”
If the first period was all about offense, the second period was all about defense, as Bullion made incredible saves to keep the shutout going against the Lions. Thursday’s game was Bullion’s first since serving a three-game suspension.
“My mindset going into today was really just about deleting the backstory of the game and just kind of treating it as back to business,” Bullion said.
Bullion continued to look sharp in the third period and Ross Armour added his first goal of the year at 13:17 of the third period.
Bullion ended the night with 23 saves, picking up his second shutout of the season.
“This is the job, and it needs to be done. I had a lot of fun doing it,” Bullion said.
The team played a full 60 minutes from beginning to end, and was rewarded with a shutout against the top team in the North Division. The Ghost Pirates went 1-for-4 on the power play and 3-for-3 on the penalty kill.
“Obviously, every guy who chipped in, it wasn’t just the goal that they produced, it was a solid team effort from the first puck drop to the end,” Bullion said. “I think watching us from day one to now, it’s just been that upward trend. Now that we’ve started to figure it out, figure out our identity, how to play to that, every game it's just rolling in a little bit better.”
The Ghost Pirates will look to continue their momentum tomorrow night at 7:05 pm in North Charleston against the South Carolina Stingrays. Coverage can be found on FloSports and Mixlr.