BINGHAMTON, N.Y. – The Portland Pirates got a rare goal from defenseman Tim Conboy when they needed it most Saturday night.

Moments after stepping onto the ice for his shift, Conboy put in a shot from the top of the slot with 12 seconds left to lift the Pirates to a 3-2 victory against the Binghamton Senators in Game 3 of their American Hockey League Atlantic Division semifinal series before a near-sellout crowd of 4,637 at Broome County Arena.

“To be honest, I was trying to get up there and get into the play and to try to maybe keep the puck in,” said Conboy, who turned Travis Turnbull’s feed from the left circle into his first goal in more than two years. “I’d never thought I would have scored the game-winning goal like that, so it was pretty cool.”

It was the Pirates’ first win in the best-of seven series, and it came after the Senators skated to victories Wednesday and Thursday at the Cumberland County Civic Center.

“Our goal was not to worry about anything else but tonight’s game,” Conboy said. “Luckily, we came out on top and we can now focus on Game 4.”

Games 4 and 5 are scheduled for Monday and Tuesday nights in Binghamton.

Portland forward Derek Whitmore set up the dramatic finish when he scored his fourth goal of the playoffs on a shot from just above the left hash mark to make it 2-2 with less than six minutes left in the third period.

As in Games 1 and 2, the Pirates scored first.

Brian O’Hanley, a former Boston College defenseman who spent most of the regular season in the ECHL with the Cincinnati Cyclones, opened the scoring five minutes into the game on a shot from just inside the left circle by the hash mark. It was his first goal in 20 games with the Pirates and came on a long rebound after goalie Robin Lehner stopped Paul Byron’s shot from point-blank range.

Portland played a solid defensive game during the first period, limiting the Senators to eight shots on goal and holding them without a shot for a 10-minute stretch.

But the Senators had their chances. One of their best scoring opportunities came 14 minutes into the game when Erik Condra broke in alone after withstanding a slash by Portland defenseman Jeff Dimmen. Goalie David Leggio, making his eighth start of the playoffs, went down to make the pad save.

The Senators took a 2-1 lead during the second period.

Ryan Keller tied the score five minutes into the period when he finished off a two-on-one break with his fifth goal of the playoffs. Ryan Potulny started the break when he won a battle with Portland defenseman Alex Biega for control of the puck near his own blue line.

With less than six minutes left in the period, Kaspars Daugavins snapped the tie by putting in a rebound during Binghamton’s fifth power play. Daugavins fifth playoff goal came after Leggio stopped two close-in shots by Condra.

Lehner made a spectacular glove save when Mark Mancari, Portland’s leading scorer in the playoffs, tied to score on a breakaway 40 seconds into the third period while the Pirates were short-handed.

Portland’s victory snapped the Senators’ five-game winning streak in the playoffs.

“I think our game was pretty strong for quite a little bit,” Portland Coach Kevin Dineen said. “I wasn’t crazy how the third period started, but we find a way to do it.

“It was a big game for us, obviously.”

 

Staff Writer Paul Betit can be contacted at 791-6424 or at:

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