PROVIDENCE, R.I. — The fact the Portland Pirates had their six-game winning streak broken Sunday in a 3-2 loss to the Providence Bruins was hard for them to swallow, not merely because of the outcome.

With the game tied 2-2 in the third period, Portland’s Justin Hodgman split Providence’s defensemen and was hauled down, but the puck slid off his stick and under goalie Jeremy Smith for what appeared to be the go-ahead goal.

But referee Alex Garon waived off the goal, and Providence got the winner with 8:55 left in regulation when Rob Flick snapped home a wrist shot from the right circle.

“He said it was a non-goal because he blew the whistle,” Portland Coach Ray Edwards said of the disallowed goal. “I asked for a replay but he said it wasn’t replayable.

“He said he wasn’t going to look at it because he blew the whistle. It wasn’t a replayable situation because he blew the whistle.”

The timing of the whistle was debatable as far as Hodgman was concerned.

“I was trying to split the ‘D’,” Hodgman said. “They gave me middle ice. I tried to catch the other ‘D’ with his feet moving. The puck slipped away from me and ended up getting on net.

“I didn’t hear the whistle until I saw the puck in the net. That’s the way I look at it. But there only was one ref. It’s tough for him and there isn’t a review. It’s tough. You wish you could take another look at it. But they make the calls and that was his call.”

After a scoreless first period in which Pirates goalie Peter Mannino made seven saves during a Providence power play, the Bruins (10-11-2-0) grabbed a 2-0 lead in the second.

Spencer Asuchak slid a cross-ice pass to Flick, who deflected the puck inside the left post at 3:35. Asuchak then scored his first goal of the season, at 8:47, on a shot from the left circle.

But the Pirates (14-10-0-0) countered by breaking out of a prolonged power-play slump. Portland had only one goal in its last 49 attempts with a man advantage before Hodgman buried the rebound of a Dave Schlemko shot at 10:33.

Then, at 17:57, Portland tied it 2-2 during another power play. Dylan Reese sent Alexandre Bolduc in on a clean breakaway, and Bolduc beat Smith high to the glove side.

“This was one where it was a great learning experience for our younger players,” Edwards said. “I thought our older players dug in tonight. But we didn’t get enough … from our first-year players and some of our second-year players. They were not good enough tonight.

“It’s a good lesson for them in terms of how hard it is to play back-to-backs, (three games in three nights), and play at the pro level. It’s a grind, and we didn’t have enough of our younger players play well tonight. But I think at the end of the day the team that deserved to win probably won.”

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