Penguins win a Game 7 thriller, advance to Cup Finals

Ex-Pirate Tim Brent poked home a rebound with 30.7 seconds left in regulation, breaking a 2-2 tie and sending Wilkes-Barre/Scranton to a 3-2 win over Portland on Saturday in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals at the Wachovia Arena.

The Penguins capture their third conference championship and advance to take on Chicago in the 2008 Calder Cup Finals.

After rallying for a 4-3 overtime win in Game 6 a night earlier, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton jumped out to a 2-0 lead after the first period of Game 7. Dave Gove had a goal and an assist in the stanza, and Ryan Stone also scored.

The Pirates responded with a pair of goals in the second period to tie it up. Stephen Dixon scored at 10:10, and Geoff Platt tallied the equalizer at 16:05.

The game remained knotted at 2-2 through the remainder of the second period and most of the third stanza until Brent netted the last-minute game-winner for his league-leading 11th goal of the postseason.

Brent was a member of the Pirates squad in 2006 that dropped Game 7 of the conference finals at Hershey.

Alex Goligoski chipped in two assists on the night for the Penguins, including one on Brent’s decisive goal, and rookie goaltender John Curry (12-5) stopped 30 of 32 shots in the winning effort.

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton improved to 4-0 all-time in Game 7’s, a mark that also includes the decisive game of the 2004 conference finals at Hartford.

The Penguins will travel to Chicago for Game 1 of the Calder Cup Finals on Thursday evening.

2008 Calder Cup Finals (best-of-seven)
Game 1 – Thu., May 29 – W-B/Scranton at Chicago, 8:00
Game 2 – Sun., June 1 – W-B/Scranton at Chicago, 4:00
Game 3 – Wed., June 4 – Chicago at W-B/Scranton, 7:05
Game 4 – Fri., June 6 – Chicago at W-B/Scranton, 7:05
*Game 5 – Sat., June 7 – Chicago at W-B/Scranton, 7:05
*Game 6 – Tue., June 10 – W-B/Scranton at Chicago, 8:00
*Game 7 – Thu., June 12 – W-B/Scranton at Chicago, 8:00

*if necessary… All times Eastern