PORTLAND – Brett Skinner scored twice and Michael Leighton made 31 saves, leading the Portland Pirates past the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins 6-2 on Saturday night.

Colby Genoway had a goal and two assists to help the Pirates regain first place in the Atlantic Division.

The Pirates (9-4-0-1) took a 1-0 lead into the first intermission after Skinner tallied his first of the evening 13:39 into the game.

Both teams scored twice in the second period. The Penguins (10-3-0-0) got goals from Tom Gilbert and Jonathan Filewich, while Genoway and Skinner connected for Portland.

The Pirates took command in the third on goals by Bjorn Melin, Petteri Wirtanen and Drew Miller. Leighton won his second game in two nights. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton goalie Andrew Penner made 26 saves in the loss.

Henin-Hardenne beats Sharapova in semifinals

MADRID, Spain – Justine Henin-Hardenne will finish the year as the top-ranked player in women’s tennis after beating Maria Sharapova in Saturday’s semifinals of the WTA Championships.

Henin-Hardenne will face defending champion Amelie Mauresmo in Sunday’s final, with $1 million going to the winner. Mauresmo advanced to the final with a 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 victory over two-time winner Kim Clijsters. Henin-Hardenne’s 6-2, 7-5 (5) victory over Sharapova clinched her second year-end No. 1 ranking. Mauresmo will finish 34 consecutive weeks as No. 1 at the end of the tournament.

Henin-Hardenne won the French Open and was the runner-up at the three other Grand Slam tournaments this year – the first woman since Martina Hingis in 1997 to reach all four major finals. She lost to Mauresmo at the Australian Open and Wimbledon.

Mauresmo also defeated Henin-Hardenne in a round-robin match Friday.

“It’s the last match of the year and obviously it’s great to have Justine and I in a final again, after we had a tough match yesterday,” Mauresmo said. “Hopefully she’ll party (tonight) with her No. 1 ranking.”

Henin-Hardenne can clinch a tour-high sixth title of 2006 in Madrid after missing nearly two months while recovering from a muscle tear in her right knee.

Schild leads Austrian sweep in World Cup

LEVI, Finland – Marlies Schild led an Austrian sweep in the women’s World Cup opener Saturday, winning a slalom by .80 seconds.

Schild, who led by .60 after the first run, had a two-run total of 1 minute, 45.66 seconds down Levi’s Black course.

– By The Associated Press


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