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Monarchs, Griffins clinch playoff berths

Two more postseason tickets were punched on Friday night as the Manchester Monarchs and Grand Rapids Griffins clinched berths in the 2014 Calder Cup Playoffs.

Manchester secured a spot in the postseason for the fifth year in a row and the 12th time in 13 seasons overall with a 5-1 win over the Worcester Sharks on Friday.

The Monarchs (43-17-2-6, 94 points) own the best record in the AHL and are closing in on their first division title since 2007. Brian O’Neill scored twice and Jean-Francois Berube made 27 saves in Friday’s victory.

The Griffins (41-20-2-4, 88 points), the defending Calder Cup champions, are heading to the playoffs for the eighth time in 13 years as members of the AHL.

Despite a 5-4 loss in Rockford on Friday, Grand Rapids clinched a playoff spot thanks to Rochester’s loss to Toronto and Utica’s overtime defeat to Abbotsford earlier in the evening.