Pirates first to clinch

The Portland Pirates became the first team to clinch a berth in the 2006 Calder Cup Playoffs when the Lowell Lock Monsters dropped a 3-2 decision in Albany on Saturday evening.

Through Saturday’s action, the Pirates, who missed the postseason in 2005, own a record of 40-16-5-3, and sit six points ahead of Hartford for first place in the Atlantic Division.

Under rookie head coach Kevin Dineen, the Pirates have hit the 40-win mark and have topped 85 points for the first time since 1999-2000.

This will be Portland’s 10th all-time trip to the Calder Cup Playoffs. The Pirates won the Calder Cup championship in their inaugural 1993-94 season, and returned to the Finals in 1996.