Maine Hockey Journal

Pirates take series lead on Flick’s 3OT winner

2016 Calder Cup Playoffs. Atlantic Division Semifinal, Game 1. Portland Pirates vs. the Hershey Bears at the Cross Insurance Arena in Portland, Maine on 4/22/2016. (PHOTO: Michael McSweeney/Portland Pirates)

2016 Calder Cup Playoffs. Atlantic Division Semifinal, Game 1. Portland Pirates vs. the Hershey Bears at the Cross Insurance Arena in Portland, Maine on 4/22/2016. (PHOTO: Michael McSweeney/Portland Pirates)

Rob Flick scored the game-winning goal in the third overtime to lift the Portland Pirates over the Hershey Bears, 2-1, in Game 3 of the Atlantic Division semifinal Thursday evening before 8,084 at the Giant Center in Hershey, Pennsylvania.

Flick was a late decision to play by Pirates’ head coach Scott Allen.

The decision on whether Flick would be in the lineup was made late by Pirates’ coach Scott Allen and ultimately proved to be the right call to make as he netted the game-winning goal 3:10 into the third overtime.

Corbin Knight intercepted the puck and rushed up ice along the far sideboard where he left a drop pass for Rob Schremp, who dished to Flick for a one-timer from inside the left faceoff circle past Bears’ goaltender Justin Peters.

“It feels great, being the guy to finally get one in their net,” said Flick. “It was a low-scoring game to begin with, so it feels pretty special. It was a team effort, and I happen to be the guy to get shot. We still have a lot of work to do.”

“Rob and I talked this morning, and he was disappointed in his last game,” said Allen. “He knew he needed to be better. I felt as the game went along he got stronger. It was nice to see him get the game-winning goal.”

Peters, who earned the start for Game 3 after allowing just one goal on 32 shots, stopped 42 of 44 shots in the loss. Pirates’ goaltender Mike McKenna finished with 41 saves on 42 shots.

“No problem with the goaltending tonight,” said Bears coach Troy Mann. “(Peters) made some big saves. Both goalies were tremendous. That is why we’re talking about this game almost six periods (of hockey). Petey gave us a chance to win the hockey game. McKenna did the same for Portland. Unfortunately, they were able to get the second goal.”

The game set a new franchise record for the longest game in franchise history surpassing the previous record set on Apr. 15, 2001 when the Pirates lost 2:06 into the third overtime to the Saint John Flames.

The game also became the 20th longest in AHL history and the longest game in Giant Center history, beating Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals between the Pirates and Bears in 2006.

“The longer the game went I thought it played into our favor,” said Allen. “I really loved our resiliency tonight.”

With the Pirates taking a 2-1 lead in the best-of-five series, they can close out series in Game 4 on Saturday. Game 5 is Sunday afternoon, if needed. The winner will face the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins in the next round after they knocked off the Providence Bruins in three straight games. Portland finished the regular season 4-1-0-1 against the Penguins.

Portland trailed by a goal 1-0 in a low-scoring, tight-checking affair until 6:28 of the third period when Greg McKegg slipped the puck past Peters on a wraparound to tie the game, 1-1.

McKegg was one three players to join the Pirates after the parent club, Florida Panthers, were eliminated by the New York Islanders last Sunday. McKegg, who cleared waivers on Wednesday, was joined by Logan Shaw and defenseman Mike Matheson.

“I was a little nervous about all three of those guys,” said Allen. (McKegg) didn’t play the last couple games of the (Panthers/Islanders) series, but even Shaw and Matheson, they played but hadn’t been on the ice since that game until this morning. It’s tough when you miss a few days on the ice. It’s not so easy to jump back in. There were a few times all three (players) had struggles, but as the game wore on they got better.”

That would be all for scoring until Flick’s goal 43:10 later.

Both the Pirates and Bears were held without a goal on the power play as Portland went 0-for-9, and Hershey went 0-for-7. Six of Portland’s nine power-play chances came in the second period.

“It was the battle of special teams and both team’s penalty kill was pretty good,” Allen said.

Portland weathered the storm in the first period by the Bears but trailed 1-0 after a second-period goal by Nathan Walker as he took a pass from Dustin Gazley, playing his first game of the series, and snapped a shot past McKenna at the 5:27 mark of the period.

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