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Wolf Pack, Senators clinch playoff berths

Craig Weller scored from a bad angle with 1:44 remaining in overtime to give Hartford a 3-2 victory over Portland on Saturday night and secure the Wolf Pack’s eighth consecutive berth in the Calder Cup Playoffs.

Weller was just below the goal line when he banked a shot off Pirates goaltender Kirk Daubenspeck, giving Hartford its league-leading and franchise-record 28th home win of the season.

Daubenspeck replaced an injured Maxime Daigneault early in the third period and allowed the tying goal by Alexandre Giroux before the Pack won in OT for the second night in a row.

Jeff Hamilton also scored for Hartford. Trent Whitfield and Brian Willsie had the Pirates’ goals.

In Binghamton, Chris Kelly scored early in the third period to propel the Senators to a 4-3 win over Manitoba and send them to the Calder Cup Playoffs for the third year in a row.

Brandon Bochenski had a goal and an assist and Ray Emery made 23 saves for Binghamton, which remained in first place in the East Division.

The Sens upped their mark to 24-6-3-4 at the Broome County Arena this season.

Elsewhere on Saturday:
Hershey kept its playoff hopes alive, as Brett Clark scored in overtime to lift the Bears past Bridgeport, 4-3… Jon Sim scored once in the third period and twice in the shootout as Philadelphia edged Norfolk, 4-3… Providence won its fifth in a row, with Hannu Toivonen stopping 38 shots in a 3-2 victory over Lowell… Former Penguin Brendan Buckley had two goals and two assists as Worcester ended a seven-game winless streak with a 4-3 overtime win over Wilkes-Barre/Scranton… Dustin Brown capped a three-point night with the winning goal 47 seconds into overtime, lifting Manchester past Springfield, 3-2… Edmonton scored three times in the final 6:54 of regulation, shook off a tying Milwaukee goal in the final minute and posted a 6-5 shootout victory over the Admirals… Brett Englehardt scored twice to help St. John’s to a 5-4 win at Cleveland… Rochester’s losing skid hit three games as Tuomas Pihlman and Ilkka Pikkarainen recorded a goal and two assists each for Albany in a 4-2 victory over the Amerks… Yann Danis made 43 saves as Hamilton shut out Syracuse, 3-0… Jiri Hudler had a goal and an assist in Grand Rapids’ 4-3 shootout win over Utah… Joffrey Lupul had two goals for Cincinnati in a 3-1 win over Chicago… Mikko Koivu had a goal and two assists as Houston ripped San Antonio, 7-1.