The oldest player on the ice had enough legs to carry the Wolf Pack to the Eastern Conference championship series.
Ken Gernander scored 7:49 into the third overtime period on Wednesday night, giving Hartford a 4-3 win over Worcester and a four-game sweep of their Atlantic Division final.
Gernander, the Wolf Pack’s 34-year-old captain, took a shot from the left-wing circle that IceCats goaltender Curtis Sanford got a piece of, but it trickled over the goal line to end the 10th-longest game in American Hockey League history.
Worcester erased an early 2-0 deficit and appeared to be on its way to its first win of the series when Dominic Moore tapped home a loose puck with 34.5 seconds left in regulation.
Sanford finished the night with 54 saves, including 22 in sudden-death overtime. Jason LaBarbera made 36 stops for the Wolf Pack, leading the team to its eighth consecutive victory.
Hartford now awaits the winner of the East Division final between Philadelphia and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. The Penguins won Game 1 on Wednesday.
MILWAUKEE 2, CHICAGO 1 (2OT)
Tony Hrkac scored with 9:20 gone in the second overtime as Milwaukee opened the West Division final with a 2-1 win over visiting Chicago.
Wyatt Smith scored in the opening minute of the second period for the Admirals, and Karl Stewart answered 5:30 later.
Kari Lehtonen made 56 saves in the loss for the Wolves, their first of the postseason. Wade Flaherty stopped 35 shots for Milwaukee.
WILKES-BARRE 5, PHILADELPHIA 4
Kris Beech scored with 4:21 remaining in regulation to give Wilkes-Barre/Scranton a wild 5-4 win over Philadelphia in Game 1 of the East Division final.
The Phantoms opened up a 4-1 lead and chased goaltender Andy Chiodo just 1:19 into the second period. Patrick Sharp scored twice for Philadelphia and Dennis Seidenberg had a goal and an assist.
But Konstantin Koltsov and Colby Armstrong scored 50 seconds apart to pull the Penguins back to within one, and Tom Kostopoulos tied the score late in the second period.
Armstrong finished with two goals on the night, and Sebastien Caron stopped all 11 shots he faced in relief to earn the victory.
ROCHESTER 2, HAMILTON 0
Paul Gaustad scored 2:49 into the second period and Ryan Miller made 22 saves as Rochester posted a 2-0 win over Hamilton in Game 1 of the North Division final series at Copps Coliseum.
Gaustad also assisted on Chris Thorburn‘s empty-net goal in the final minute.
J.F. Damphousse made 21 saves in the loss.
Game 2 is Thursday night in Hamilton.