Connecticut native Ryan Shannon scored three times to lead Portland to a 6-2 win over Hartford in Game 1 of the Atlantic Division Finals at the Hartford Civic Center on Tuesday night.
Game 2 is Thursday in Hartford, before Portland hosts the next four games (if necessary) of the best-of-seven series.
Zenon Konopka added a goal and an assist for the Pirates, and Shane O’Brien recorded two assists.
Portland took the first 10 shots on goal of the night and claimed a 1-0 lead on Geoff Peters’ third goal of the postseason. Konopka set up the goal, giving him a point in 19 consecutive games (12 regular season, seven postseason).
Shannon, a rookie from Darien, Conn., made it 2-0 with 5:08 remaining in the first period with a power-play goal.
Alexandre Giroux cut the deficit in half 34 seconds later with his fourth playoff goal.
Shannon, who had 27 goals and 59 assists for 86 points in 71 regular-season games, netted his second goal of the night with 4:28 left in the second. Again, it took the Wolf Pack less than a minute to respond, with Dwight Helminen making it 3-2 at the 16:18 mark.
Curtis Glencross restored Portland’s two-goal lead early in the third. Konopka and Shannon added insurance goals, with Shannon completing the hat trick into an empty net with 1:08 remaining.