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Wolf Pack defeat Pirates

February 28, 2009 - American Hockey League (AHL) - Connecticut Whale News Release

Portland, ME: The Hartford Wolf Pack stormed back from a 3-0 third-period deficit at the Cumberland County Civic Center last night, to post their sixth straight victory, a 4-3 shootout win over the Portland Pirates.

Mike Ouellette scored the tying goal and added an assist for the Wolf Pack, Patrick Rissmiller notched the shootout-winning goal and had an assist, and rookie Tomas Zaborsky posted his first career multiple-point game in the AHL with two assists. Sean Avery scored his second Wolf Pack goal, and Matt Zaba made 29 saves in regulation and overtime and stopped four of five shootout attempts. Tim Kennedy, Marek Zagrapan and Tyler Bouck scored for Portland, and Colin Murphy had two assists.

Portland's Kennedy scored the game's first goal at 5:05 of the first period, with Portland on a power play and another penalty coming against the Wolf Pack, Zaba stopped Marc-Andre Gragnani's shot, but Kennedy jammed in the rebound. Zagrapan made it 2-0 for Portland at 15:14, as he drove a shot from the left-wing side off of Zaba's glove and into the net.

The Pirates increased their lead to 3-0 at the 1:23 mark of the second period, as Aaron Slattengren dug the puck out behind the net and fed it to Bouck, who snapped a shot into the top corner over Zaba's glove. The Wolf Pack spent most of the rest of the second penalty-killing, with referee Shaun Davis assessing four minor penalties against Hartford.

The Wolf Pack's comeback started with Tom Pyatt's goal at 1:47 of the third. Zaborsky deflected the puck to Pyatt at the right-wing side of the crease, and Pyatt had an open net. That goal ruined the shutout bid of Pirate goaltender Jeff Jakaitis, who was making his first AHL appearance.

Hartford then scored two goals in a span of 38 seconds, starting at 10:12, to tie the game. After Jakaitis could not settle down Rissmiller's shot from the right-wing circle, Avery nudged the puck just over the goal line. Then Zaborsky, who was not even supposed to play in the game but was inserted into the lineup when P.A. Parenteau was injured in warmups, set up Ouellette in the slot for the tying goal at 10:50.

After a scoreless rest of the third period and overtime, Zaba allowed only Murphy to score among the five Portland shootout attempts, and Rissmiller backhanded a shot up under the crossbar behind Jakaitis for the winner on Hartford's fifth attempt, after Artem Anisimov had scored on the Wolf Pack's first shootout try.

The win was the Wolf Pack's second consecutive shootout triumph, following Friday night's 2-1 home win over Manchester, after the Pack had not gone to a shootout once in the previous 32 games. The two points lifted the Wolf Pack (33-23-2-3, 71 points) to within two points of first-place Providence, which lost 4-3 in a shootout in Philadelphia, in the Atlantic Division standings.

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