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Portland in AHL's Conference Finals

by Staff Writer / Anaheim Ducks

Portland, ME - Pierre Parenteau scored the game winning goal at the 3:06 mark of overtime and Jani Hurme made 28 saves as the Pirates eliminated the Hartford Wolf Pack with a 5-4 victory on Sunday night in front of 5,389 at the Cumberland County Civic Center. With the win, the Atlantic Division Champion Pirates advance to the Eastern Conference Final against the Hershey Bears.

The Pirates claimed the 1-0 lead at the 11:32 mark of the first period when Pierre Parenteau tallied his 3rd goal of the post season. Garett Bembridge initiated the play, wheeling a pass from the far boards to Parenteau in the slot. Parenteau then spun around and chipped the puck over the left pad of goaltender Chris Holt and into the net. Garett Bembridge and Zenon Konopka assisted on the ice breaker. The goal for Pierre Parenteau and the assist for Zenon Konopka extend their respective point-scoring streaks to 10 and 24 games.

Dwight Helminen replied for the Wolf Pack minutes later, shrugging off a check from Aaron Rome at the blue line before darting down the near wing and sending a low wrist shot inside the far post to tie the game 1-1. Marvin Degon registered the lone assist on the equalizer.

The Wolf Pack added to their lead at the 15:09 mark of the opening frame. Colby Genoway controlled the puck behind the Portland net and slipped a wrap around shot underneath Jani Hurme at the right side of the cage. Nigel Dawes and Brandon Dubinsky were credited with assists on the goal, nudging Hartford ahead 2-1.

28 seconds later, Garett Bembride tied the game with his 1st goal of the playoffs. Bembridge charged down the slot and capitalized on a rebound opportunity; jamming the loose puck past Chris Holt before the net was dislodged. Zenon Konopka and Pierre Parenteau tallied assists on the goal, which evened the score 2-2.

At the 5:34 mark of the second period, Aaron Gavey restored Portland's one goal lead at 3-2. Gavey accepted a cross-ice feed from Geoff Peters before launching a bottle knocker into the top left corner of the net. Geoff Peters and Bobby Ryan picked up assists on the goal.

Hartford tied the game up for the second time at 8:47 with Brandon Dubinsky's 5th goal of the post season, and claimed the 4-3 lead ten minutes later with an unassisted goal from Nigel Dawes. Moments after Jani Hurme made a spectacular diving save with just over one minute remaining in the second period, Dawes corralled the rebound in the high slot and slipped a low shot through Hurme's pads and across the goal line.

The Pirates pulled even just over a minute into the final stanza on a strong fore checking play by Bruno St. Jacques in the Hartford zone. St. Jacques poked the puck off of a Hartford defenders' stick, right to an unguarded Garett Bembridge in the slot who shoveled the puck into the open side of the cage. Bruno St. Jacques and Zenon Konopka registered assists on Bembridge’s 2nd goal of the playoffs and second of the night.

After neither team could find the twine again in regulation, the Pirates and Wolf Pack had to settle things in overtime. Just over three minutes into the extra session, Pierre Parenteau emerged as the hero for Portland, snapping the loose puck past Chris Holt to solidify the series-clinching 5-4 victory. Zenon Konopka and Ryan Shannon were credited assists on the game winning goal. The assist for Ryan Shannon gives him 100 points on the season. Shannon is the first Pirate to accumulate 100 points in a season since Andrew Brunette and Martin Gendron both eclipsed the 100 point plateau during the 1995-1996 season.

Pirates goalie Jani Hurme registered his 7th win of the season, with a 28 save outing. At the other end of the sheet, Hartford’s Chris Holt made 33 saves in the loss.

Allied Home Mortgage Three Stars of the Game: 1. Pierre Parenteau (POR) 2. Garett Bembridge (POR) 3. Zenon Konopka (POR)

The Pirates return to action on Wednesday, May 17th for Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals at home versus the Hershey Bears at 7:05 p.m. Season Ticket Holders, please note that Game 1 will be Game "I."

Tickets for Pirates Playoff Hockey– Powered by Pepsi are on sale now at Ticketmaster outlets and or at the Cumberland County Civic Center Box Office in person or by calling the box office at (207) 775-3458.

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