The home team finally won, and it proved to be the difference in the series.
Worcester scored four times in the second period en route to a 6-1 win over Manchester on Saturday night, putting the wraps on their Atlantic Division semifinal series, four games to two.
Captain Jeff Panzer had a goal and an assist and two-time Calder Cup champion Terry Virtue dished out four assists as the IceCats secured a best-of-seven series win for the first time in franchise history.
The Monarchs controlled most of the first period, outshooting Worcester by a 13-2 margin, but the game was even at 1-1 after 20 minutes.
The IceCats came to life in the second, getting goals from Panzer, Mike Glumac, Peter Sejna and Scott Pellerin. Trevor Byrne scored early in the third as Worcester went 4-for-5 on the power play for the game. Curtis Sanford wound up with 28 saves.
The visiting team had won each of the first five games of the series, including a pair of shutouts at the Centrum Centre in Games 3 and 4 by Adam Hauser, who stopped just 11 of 17 shots in Game 6. The IceCats hadn’t scored a home playoff goal in more than 13 periods entering Saturday’s contest.
The Monarchs failed to win a playoff series for the third consecutive spring; Worcester advances to face the winner of the Hartford-Portland series in the Atlantic Division final.
CINCINNATI 1, MILWAUKEE 0
Ilya Bryzgalov earned his first career playoff shutout as Cincinnati blanked Milwaukee, 1-0, to take a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven West Division semifinals.
A second-round pick by Anaheim in 2000, the 23-year-old Russian finished with 22 saves and helped the Ducks stop six power play chances for Milwaukee.
Tony Martensson scored his second goal of the playoffs 8:21 into the opening period for the Ducks, who will host Game 4 on Monday at Cincinnati Gardens.
It was just the second shutout loss of the year for the Admirals, who led the AHL in offense during the regular season.