PORTLAND – Tim Kennedy, who played two seasons ago for the Portland Pirates, scored a power-play goal in overtime for the second consecutive game to lift the Connecticut Whale against his old team at the sold-out Cumberland County Civic Center on Friday.

Kennedy, who scored 36 seconds into overtime Tuesday night to beat Portland in Hartford, Conn., put in a shot from the right circle to lift the Whale to a 5-4 victory before a New Year’s Eve crowd of 6,733.

“It was kind of the same set-up,” said Kennedy, who had 18 goals and 49 assists as a rookie with the Pirates in 2008-09. “I got off by myself on the right. I almost felt bad for (Portland goalie) Jhonas (Enroth); I whiffed and went five-hole. If the shot would have went where it was supposed to go, he probably would have stopped it.”

The Pirates rallied to tie the score three times in the final 25 minutes of regulation.

“We got the two points,” Kennedy said. “We’d like to get them in regulation but you’ve got to give (the Pirates) credit. They worked hard and they came back.”

It was Portland’s fifth loss in six games.

“You just can’t have an up-and-down style of play,” Portland Coach Kevin Dineen said. “You need a level of consistency that’s higher and when you have that, success will follow. We don’t have that throughout our lineup right now.”

The Pirates got off to a promising start.

Mark Mancari, the team’s leading scorer, opened the scoring six minutes into the game by sliding a rebound into the left side for his 14th goal after Connecticut goalie Chad Johnson stopped close-in shots by Mark Ellis and Derek Whitmore.

Following the goal, the Pirates managed to take only two shots on goal for the rest of the period.

Less than nine minutes into the second, Connecticut moved into a 2-1 lead.

Chad Kolarik tied the score by putting a shot from the left circle under the crossbar for his 15th goal after intercepting a pass in the neutral zone. Todd White, a center who has played more than 600 games in the NHL, put a shot in from the right circle for his first goal in his first game as a Whale for the lead.

With five minutes left in the second, Paul Byron tucked a penalty shot between Johnson’s pads for his 12th goal to tie the score. It was awarded after defenseman Tomas Kundratek hauled Byron down after he broke in alone on the goalie.

The Whale, who have earned standings points in 15 of their last 17 games to move into a tie with the Pirates for second place in the AHL’s Atlantic Division, regained the lead when Chris Newbury scored a short-handed goal 23 seconds into the third.

Exactly five minutes later, Justin Bowers, up from the ECHL’s Greenville Road Warriors for his second stint with the Pirates, scored his first AHL goal to tie the score.

Less than eight minutes into the third period, Connecticut regained the lead when Jason Williams scored on a shot from the top of the slot.

With less than 11 minutes left in regulation, Colin Stuart put in a wide-angled shot from the left side for his seventh goal to tie the score.

The Pirates spent six of the final seven minutes of the third period on the penalty kill, including two lengthy segments when the Whale skated with a two-man advantage.

“We had our power-play opportunities early,” Dineen said. “The score sheet would be skewed to our favor for the penalties to start, and obviously it really got balanced out at the end.”


NOTES: Left wing Igor Gongalsky (concussion) joined right wing Mark Parrish (groin) and center Travis Turnbull (shoulder) on the Pirates’ injured list. Parrish, who scored five goals and had 10 assists in 19 games, said he could return to the ice sometime during the next two weeks.


Staff Writer Paul Betit can be contacted at 791-6424 or at: [email protected]