Former Pirate Tim Kennedy scored early into overtime as the Connecticut Whale defeated the Portland Pirates, 2-1, in front of a 7,913 at the XL Center in Hartford, Conn. on Wednesday night.
It was the first meeting of the season between both teams as well as the first time the Pirates faced the newly rebranded Connecticut Whale, who began the season as the Hartford Wolf Pack.
These same two teams will meet again on Friday at the Cumberland County Civic Center in Portland.
The game was scoreless through two periods of play before Connecticut finally got on the board at the 4:58 mark of the third period with a goal from Kelsey Tessier.
The lead only lasted for 1:11 before Pirates forward Paul Byron evened the game at 1-1.
Colin Stuart carried the puck into the offensive zone and dished the puck to Byron who ripped a laser by Whale netminder Chad Johnson for his 11th goal of the season. Alex Biega was credited with the other assist on the play.
Only 29 seconds remained in regulation when Marc-Andre Gragnani was whistled down for tripping, sending Connecticut to the power play in the extra session.
With the Pirates forced to kill off a four-on-three, Kennedy skated the puck out of the right corner to the bottom of the face-off circle, looking for the pass before firing the puck by Pirates goaltender Jhonas Enroth just 36 seconds into overtime.
Kennedy, the once highly touted forward of the Buffalo Sabres, was bought out by his former club this summer after a messy arbitration hearing, which left him looking for work before signing a contract with the New York Rangers.
In 29 games with the Whale, Kennedy has five goals, 17 assists for 19 points with a minus-3 rating.
Enroth falls to 9-9-1 on the season after making 28 saves, while Johnson stopped 24 of 25 shots for the win.
NOTES: Forward Igor Gongalsky suffered a hit by Dale Weise in the first period and did not return.