Portland, ME – Kyle Wanvig notched a Gordie Howe hat trick, not once, but twice as the Portland Pirates extended their win-streak to nine games with a 7-4 victory over the Hartford Wolf Pack in a Monday matinee in front of 4,443 at the Cumberland County Civic Center.
The feat wasn’t lost on Pirates head coach Kevin Dineen.
“Now that is a memorable night,” he said. “That is hard to do. I think that’s like Bull Durham and you need to let the Hockey News know about that.”
“That one’s a keeper.”
Wanvig has been on a roll, lately, with a point in his last seven games.
“Hockey’s fun right now,” said Wanvig. “We’re starting better than we did earlier in the season, and that’s been the complete difference for us.”
Wanvig started his afternoon with an assist on the Pirates second goal of the game as he found Felix Schutz behind the net, after Wolf Pack goalie Chad Johnson’s major gaffe with the puck at 3:42 of the first period led to the goal.
At 5:32, Cody McCormick made it 3-0 for Portland after, again, Johnson went behind the net to handle the puck only to have it bounce to the front of the net where McCormick had an easy tap-in.
That ended the night for Johnson after allowing three goals on only four shots.
Wanvig got back into the mix with a fight against Justin Soryal as the first period came to a close after Soryal took liberties with Pirates netminder Jhonas Enroth.
Hartford got the board early in the second period as Nigel Williams was credited with the goal after the puck went off the stick of a Pirate in front and trickled into the net at 2:05 of the period, as Portland held on to a 3-1 lead.
At 7:37, the Pirates regained their three goal advantage as Jeff Cowan shot from the left side, squirting past Miika Wiikman, giving the Pirates a 4-1 lead.
Less than three minutes later, Portland made it 5-1 when Wanvig assisted on Tyler Ennis’ 18th goal of the season at 10:12 of the period, just as the Pirates five-on-three power play expired.
At 13:02, Wanvig complete his first Gordie Howe when he beat Wiikman with a one-timer from Jeff Cowan, giving the Pirates a 6-1 lead.
Only 21 seconds later, the Wolf Pack scored their second goal of the game on a similar play as Kenny Roche, snapped a one timer by Enroth at 13:23 of the second period.
With less than a minute to play in the second period, and the Pirates on their fourth power play of the game, Wanvig scored his second goal of the night, lifting a shot upstairs over Wiikman; completely two-thirds of his second Gordie Howe hat trick.
It wouldn’t take him long to finish the job. Wanvig dropped the mitts with Brodie Dupont just one second into the start of the third period for his second fight of the game.
“When you’re not a scorer all the time and you get the opportunity to get two (goals), two (assists) and two (fights),” said Wanvig. “I had to take it… I’ll never have this chance again.”
Hartford pulled within three goals, at 7-4, as Dane Byers and Justin Soryal scored just 15 seconds apart, but that would be as close as the Wolf Pack would get.
Enroth made 27 saves for his eighth straight victory, while Wiikman made 24 saves in the no decision.
NOTES: Kyle Wanvig and Travis Turnbull, who scored the first goal of the game, had a little family support at the game as their both had their fathers at the game.
The Pirates skated with 17 skaters, again, as Matt Caruana went down to block a shot and didn’t return.