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East roundup: Whale even series, 2-2

Tuesday’s AHL Boxscores II 2011 Calder Cup Playoffs

Also see… Tuesday’s West Roundup

CONNECTICUT 3, PORTLAND 1
Each playing his first game of the 2011 Calder Cup Playoffs, Chad Kolarik and Mats Zuccarello tallied a goal and an assist apiece as Connecticut collected a 3-1 win over visiting Portland on Tuesday at the XL Center, evening the teams’ Atlantic Division semifinal at two games apiece.

It marked the Whale’s second consecutive 3-1 triumph since the series shifted to Hartford.

The series will now shift back to Portland for Game 5 on Thursday and is guaranteed to return to Hartford for a sixth game on Saturday night. If needed, Game 7 would be next Monday (Apr. 25) back in Portland.

Kolarik, who had been out of the lineup since Mar. 12 and had played only two games since Feb. 13, got the Whale out to a strong start when he notched a power play goal at 16:32 of the first period. Zuccarello and Jeremy Williams earned helpers on the play.

John Mitchell stretched Connecticut’s lead to 2-0 with his third of the playoffs early in the second period, and Zuccarello made it as 3-0 games early in the third. Zuccarello was making his AHL postseason debut after suiting up for the parent New York Rangers in Game 1 of their first-round Stanley Cup Playoff series last week.

Portland finally got on the scoreboard at 12:23 of the third period when rookie Mark Voakes notched his second goal in as many games, but the Pirates suffered their sixth straight playoff loss on the road dating back to 2009.

Whale goaltender Dov Grumet-Morris stopped 19 of 20 shots in the winning effort, while Portland’s David Leggio took the loss after a 27-save effort.

HERSHEY 3, CHARLOTTE 2
Hershey burst out to a 3-2 lead after 20 minutes and then had to hold on for a 3-2 road win over Charlotte at Time Warner Cable Arena on Tuesday.

The victory allowed the Bears to grab a 2-1 edge in the best-of-seven series and regain home-ice advantage after dropping the opener at Giant Center.

Francois Bouchard (8:44), Keith Aucoin (14:50), and Kyle Greentree (18:48) tallied first-period goals for the Bears, and Aucoin added an assist for a two-point night. Bouchard’s first goal of the postseason came unassisted, and Greentree also nabbed his first of the playoffs.

The Checkers clawed back into the game on a second-period strike by Nick Dodge and a goal from Zach Boychuk only 2:21 into the third, but they could not put the equalizer past Hershey goaltender Braden Holtby despite a late push.

Holtby finished with 28 saves to pick up the win. Making his first-ever AHL postseason start, Charlotte’s Mike Murphy bounced back from the tough opening period to stop all 12 shots he faced over the final 40 minutes.

MANCHESTER 6, BINGHAMTON 3
Ryan Potulny kept the hot hand with a hat-trick effort for Binghamton, but Manchester received goals from six different players to double up the host Senators by a 6-3 count at the Broome County Arena on Tuesday.

The Monarchs captured their second road win over Binghamton and took a commanding 3-1 series lead in this Atlantic Division semifinal. Game 5 is set for Wednesday night in Binghamton, and the Senators will be looking to extend the series back to Manchester for a Game 6 on Friday.

Monarchs rookie forward Brayden Schenn, drafted fifth overall by the Los Angeles Kings in 2009, notched his first pro playoff goal and added an assist on the night. Viatcheslav Voynov, David Kolomatis, Justin Azevedo, David Meckler, and Corey Elkins also scored for Manchester.

Bud Holloway posted three assists to run his team-leading postseason point total to eight (3-5-8), and rookie goaltender Martin Jones stopped 35 of 38 shots between the pipes.

Manchester grabbed leads of 2-0 and 3-2 before watching Potulny bring the Senators back even on both occasions. Potulny scored twice in a span of 1:01 early in the second period and then made it 3-3 at 8:34 of the third.

Azevedo put the B-Sens on top for good with a shorthanded tally at 13:56, and Meckler and Elkins added insurance down the stretch.

WILKES-BARRE/SCRANTON 2, NORFOLK 1
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and Norfolk played their third consecutive low-scoring game, but this time it was the Penguins who prevailed by a 2-1 count on Tuesday night at the Scope.

The Pens, who owned the AHL’s top record during the regular season (58-21-0-1, 117 points), dropped the first two games of this East Division semifinal at home but have now cut that series deficit in half.

Bryan Lerg notched his first career postseason goal at 10:20 of the third period, and the power play marker snapped a 1-1 deadlock and ultimately stood up as the game-winner. Andrew Hutchinson and goaltender Brad Thiessen earned the assists.

Thiessen, the AHL’s 2010-11 goaltender of the year, did not record a helper during the regular year.

Rookie Keven Veilleux put the Penguins on top with an unassisted goal late in the opening period, but Admirals forward Stefano Giliati answered on the power play at 15:40 of the second stanza.

In addition to the assist, Thiessen turned aside 28 of 29 shots between the pipes en route to his first AHL playoff victory.

Game 4 of the series will be on Wednesday night in Norfolk.