The Portland Pirates got goals from three different players and veteran netminder Mike McKenna stopped 36 shots in a season-ending 3-1 win over the Springfield Falcons at MassMutual Center on Sunday evening.
The Pirates finished the regular season with a 41-27-6-2 record, good for fourth place in the Alalntic Division. They will play the first place Hershey Bears in a best-of-five series to open the Calder Cup playoffs.
After McKenna and Falcons' goalie Adin Hill kept things scoreless for the first two periods, defenseman Matt MacKenzie opened the scoring at 4:28 of the final frame. Rob Flick and Wade Megan assisted on MacKenzie's second goal of the season.
Sena Acolatse (8) notched a power-play goal at 9:52, from Brett Olson and Rob Schremp, to put the Pirates up by two. Schremp finished as Portland's leading scoring with 42 points (21G/21A).
Craig Cunningham scored his 22nd of the campaign 1:18 later to finally get the Falcons on the board. The goal was set up by Laurent Dauphin and Michael Bunting.
Connor Brickley (12) completed the scoring with an empty-net goal with 22 seconds left in regulation time. Winger Wayne Simpson drew the only assist on the clinching tally.
Portland will open the playoffs at home with games on Friday night and Saturday. The final three games of the series (if necessary) will be in Hershey.
Atlantic Division Semifinals - Series "A" (best-of-5)
A1-Hershey Bears vs. A4-Portland Pirates
Game 1 - Fri., Apr. 22 - Hershey at Portland, 7:00
Game 2 - Sat., Apr. 23 - Hershey at Portland, 7:00
Game 3 - Thu., Apr. 28 - Portland at Hershey, 7:00
*Game 4 - Sat., Apr. 30 - Portland at Hershey, 7:00
*Game 5 - Sun., May 1 - Portland at Hershey, 5:00