Maine Hockey Journal

Ennis helps the Canadian AHL All Stars rally past PlanetUSA

Portland, ME – Down by goal late in the game, Portland Pirates forward Tyler Ennis set up Alexandre Giroux for the game-tying goal with 18 seconds left, which led to the Canadian AHL All Stars come from behind win, beating PlanetUSA, 10-9, in a shootout in front of 5,225 at the Cumberland County Civic Center.

Ironically, it was Pirates’ forward Nathan Gerbe, who had a chance to seal victory for PlanetUSA with his second goal, only be stonewalled by River Rats’ defenseman Bryan Rodney, allowing the Canadian All Stars to get one final chance.

“I’ll be bugging him about missing that open net for awhile,” said Ennis.

The Canadian All Stars never led at any point in the game as PlanetUSA built a three goal lead on three separate occasions in the game, and were up by as much as four goals midway into the third period after Gerbe scored a goal for the highlight reel.

Gerbe taking the feed from Mike Weber drove to the net, but Canadian All Star goalie Cedric Desjardins was able to make the initial stop, before Gerbe just sent a backhand shot from behind the net that managed to find back of the net at 7:33 of the third period.

That turned out in the end to be the final goal for PlanetUSA as Canadian AHL All Stars would score the next four goals, unanswered, starting with Worcester Sharks rookie Logan Couture’s tally just 15 seconds after Gerbe scored.

With the game winding down, the intensity picked up greatly as PlanetUSA tried to hold the lead, but the Canadians kept coming as Ennis found Hershey Bears forward Alexandre Giroux where he drilled a shot from close in range, beating Worcester Sharks netminder Alex Stalock.

In the shootout, both Gerbe and Ennis missed on their chances before Couture and Keith Aucoin scored to keep the shootout alive for PK Subban to seal the deal for the Canadian AHL All Stars.

But, it might not have even made it to that point if it wasn’t for Rodney’s hustle in stopping Gerbe’s breakaway.

“He (Rodney) is the reason why we won,” said Subban.”Without him, we wouldn’t have.”

The AHL All Stars were quick to show off their talent getting the scoring going only 47 seconds in the game as Jason Jaffray found the back the net for the Canadian All-Stars, but it didn’t take PlanetUSA very long to make their mark as Sergei Shirokov picked up the rebound in the slot, beating starting goalie Jonathan Bernier.

“I’ve never played a game like that in my entire life,” said PlanetUSA and Pirates defenseman Mike Weber. “It was a chance to have some real fun with other guys from around the league.”

The goal set a record as the fastest two goals to start an AHL All Star game, beating the previous mark of 3:24 back in 1996 at Hershey.

Ennis, who was named All Star game MVP, traded goals with Brett Sterling of PlanetUSA as the scored remained tied at 2-2.

“It’s certainly was special and something I will always remember,” Ennis. “Anyone could have won it tonight, but it was nice to win in front of the home town crowd.”

At 9:32, Sterling scored again for his second of the night as PlanetUSA began a run, scoring the next three goals to take a 5-2 lead after 20 minutes of play.

Sterling, who is playing in his second AHL All Star game, tied an AHL All Star record for most goals by a player with five goals.

The Canadian AHL All Stars came to within a goal in the second period as Charles Linglet and Nolan Baumgartner scored within 13 seconds of each other to start the period, setting an AHL All Star record, eclipsing the previous record of 14 seconds back in 2003 in the Portland’s first AHL All Star game.

NOTES: This was the final year that the AHL will hold their All Star Classic using the format that has seen PlanetUSA play the AHL Canadian All Stars. Next year, the league will be going to a more traditional format pitting the Western Conference against the Eastern Conference.

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