The Portland Pirates posted back-to-back wins over the last place Springfield Falcons to finish a three-game homestand with a perfect 3-0 record. Although Portland is in fifth-place in the eight-team Atlantic Division, they have opened up a slight lead over the fourth place club in the seven-team North Division, the Syracuse Crunch, meaning the Pirates would cross over and face the Toronto Marlies in the first round of the Calder Cup playoffs.
Pirates 4, Falcons 3
Connor Brickley (7) notched the game-winning goal, from Brent Regner and Shane Harper, with 1:52 remaining in regulation time and Portland on a power play to give the Pirates a 4-3 comeback win on Friday night. Dylan Reese scored his first of the season at 4:45 of the first to stake the Falcons to an early scoreboard advantage. Chase Balisy (7) replied 1:30 later, with the lone assist going to MacKenzie Weegar to tie the game. Springfield regained the lead at the 12:45 on a goal from defenseman Derek Smith. Veteran Rob Schremp became the first Pirate to hit the 20-goal mark when he lit the lamp at 7:19 of the middle stanza, with the assists going to Kyle Rau and Cameron Gaunce. Springfield went ahead for a third time on a Stefan Fournier goal 3:25 into the final frame. AHL shorthanded goal leader Wade Megan (11) evened the game at 6:21, with Corban Knight getting the only helper, to set the stage for Brickley's later heroics. The goal was Megan's sixth shorthanded marker of the 2015-16 campaign. Mike McKenna stopped 35 shots to earn the win, while Niklas Treutle finished with 40 saves for the Falcons.
Pirates 6, Falcons 1
Chase Balisy scored twice in the first period and added an assist later to power Portland to a 6-1 rout over Springfield in the second game of the set. Balisy (8) opened the scoring 1:46 into the action, with Wade Megan collecting the only assist. Wayne Simpson (7) struck 46 seconds later, from Rob Schremp and Mike Matheson, to put the Pirates up by two. Brendan Shinnimin halved the deficit, getting the Falcons on the board at the 7:56 mark. Balisy (9) notched his second goal at the 17-minute mark to put the home side back up by two. The power-play goal was set up by Simpson and Brent Regner. Matheson (8) bagged another power-play marker at 5:43 of the second, with the helpers credited to Balisy and Regner. Simpson picked up his third point of the tilt with an assist on Corban Knight's (3) goal that came a scant 58 seconds after the Matheson's. Defenseman Sena Acolatse (6) completed the scoring with 3 seconds left in the period, with Rocco Grimaldi and MacKenzie Weegar picking up the assists on Portland's third power-play goal of the game. Marek Langhamer started for Springfield, but was pulled after surrendering 5 goals on 23 shots. Niklas Treutle stopped 13 of the 14 shots he faced in relief. Mike McKenna was the winner again, finishing with 28 saves to earn his 29th victory of the season.
The Pirates (35-24-5-2) hit the road on Tuesday, visiting the Bridgeport Sound Tigers in a game with an early 11 a.m. start time.