The Albany River Rats picked up a 4-3 shootout win over the Portland Pirates in front of a Pirates home game record 11,144 fans at HSBC Arena in Buffalo. Tim Kennedy scored a goal and an assist in front of his hometown crowd.
The Pirates didn’t take long to showcase their skills for the Buffalo faithful. On an early power play, Tim Kennedy fed it cross ice to Nathan Gerbe
on the right wing for a one-timer past Albany goaltender Justin Peters.
Gerbe’s 20th goal of the season came at the 3:40 mark of the first with the assists going to Kennedy and Marc-Andre Gragnani. The River Rats answered right back though. Nick Dodge scored his sixth goal of the season from Tim Conboy and Jakub Petruzalek at the 5:48 mark of the first. That closed the scoring for the first period, but certainly not the action. With just :25 left in the first, chippy play boiled over into a full out brawl in Buffalo. Nathan Gerbe
was skating past the River Rats bench when pushing and shoving turned into punches being through over the wall to the Albany bench. Gerbe was tackled to the ice with River Rats defensemen Tim Conboy pounding away, and soon everyone on the ice had a sparring partner. 74 minutes in penalties were given out in the final 25 seconds of the period to 10 different players.
In the second period, things calmed down a bit and the River Rats took the lead at the 11:45 mark on Michael Ryan
’s 24th goal of the season. He took a pass from Pat Dwyer and headed in on a breakaway on Enroth, beating him on the forehand. Dwyer got the lone assist as the Pirates fell behind for the first time in the game. Buffalo native Tim Kennedy picked up the equalizer late in the frame though, when he found a loose puck in the right circle and beat Peters with a wrister in the top right corner.
Kennedy’s eighth goal of the season was assisted by Mathieu Darche and Kyle Rank. The bad blood immediately boiled over again, as Michael Ryan
went after Kyle Rank. The two tied up and ended up receiving ten minute misconducts. After two periods, Portland and Albany were tied at 2.
Early in the third, the River Rats took the lead on Nick Dodge’s seventh goal of the season and second of the night. The assists went to Jerome Samson and Brett Carson. Portland battled back late though, scoring with under 30 seconds left. Zach Tarkir took a wrister from the right point and Kyle Rank deflected it past Peters for his first goal of the season. Tarkir and Colton Fretter got the assists and the Pirates forced overtime as the third period ended in a 3-3 tie.
In the extra session, neither team found the back of the net and for the second time in four days the Pirates and River Rats went to the shootout. Justin Peters stole the show, stopping all five Pirates shooters as Jonathan Paiement got the game winner with a deke that beat Jhonas Enroth
Portland goaltender Jhonas Enroth
stopped 24 of 27 shots he saw, but took the shootout loss to drop to 18-13-4. Justin Peters picked up the win for Albany with 28 saves on 31 shots. Peters then stopped all five shootout shots to improve to 11-17-2.
Allied Home Mortgage Three Stars of the Game: 1. Nick Dodge (ALB) 2. Tim Kennedy (POR) 3. Mathieu Darche (POR)
Notes: The Pirates set a record for attendance in a Pirates home game with 11,144 fans taking in the action. It broke the previous record from February 4, 1995 when 7,420 saw the Pirates and the Providence Bruins at the Cumberland County Civic Center. Tim Kennedy scored his third goal in the last four games. Kyle Rank scored his first goal as a Pirate to go along with an assist.