Mikkelson’s OT goal lifts Pirates to key Game 3 win


AHL All-Rookie forward Bobby Ryan tied the game with 57 seconds left in regulation, and Brendan Mikkelson scored at 5:20 of overtime to give Portland a 4-3 win over Providence in Game 3 of the Atlantic Division finals on Friday at the Cumberland County Civic Center.

The Bruins suffered their first loss of the playoffs but still hold a 2-1 series lead.

Ryan finished with a pair of goals and an assist for the Pirates, and Geoff Platt also lit the lamp.

Providence took a 1-0 lead at 4:30 of the first period on Pascal Pelletier’s fifth goal of the playoffs. But the Pirates came back to take a 2-1 edge after 40 minutes on the strength of second-period goals by Ryan and Platt.

That set the stage for a wild finish. Petteri Nokelainen tallied the equalizer for Providence at 14:14 of the third stanza, and Martins Karsums followed at 17:54 to give the B’s a 3-2 lead.

Ryan then scored at the 19:03 mark to tie the game once more. Drew Miller picked up the primary assist on both that goal and Mikkelson’s game-winner in overtime. Mikkelson picked up his first tally of postseason play.

Pirates goaltender Jean-Sebastien Aubin also assisted on the game-winner and stopped 26 of 29 shots in net to pick up the win in his first appearance of the series.

Portland will look to even the series when it hosts Game 4 on Sunday afternoon.

2002 Calder Cup champion Derek MacKenzie and 2008 AHL All-Star Clay Wilson each tallied a goal and two assists as Syracuse rolled to a 5-1 road win over Toronto in Game 1 of the North Division finals at Ricoh Coliseum.

MacKenzie put the Crunch in front just 1:40 after the opening face-off, with Wilson picking up an assist, and then Wilson made it 2-0 at 11:04.

Nate DiCasmirro added to the Syracuse lead midway through the second period. After former Syracuse forward David Ling scored the Marlies’ lone goal at 13:46 of the second, Mark Rycroft and Derick Brassard netted third-period markers for the Crunch to account for the final margin.

Brassard and Rycroft each finished with a goal and a helper, and goaltender Karl Goehring stopped 31 of 32 shots in the winning effort.

Syracuse finished 2-for-5 on the power play and has now won five straight games over the Marlies, dating back to the regular season.

Game 2 of the series will be in Toronto on Sunday afternoon.