Pirates rally, advance past Whale

Portland advanced to the Atlantic Division finals for the first time since 2008 with a 6-4 victory over Connecticut in Game 6 at the XL Center on Saturday night.

The Pirates spotted the Whale a 2-0 lead before scoring four times on 18 shots in the second period to propel themselves to a 4-2 series victory. It was the first win of the series by a road team.

Paul Byron led the Portland attack with two goals and an assist on the night after entering the game with 0-2-2 in the series.

Mark Parrish added a goal and two assists, Corey Tropp and Mark Mancari notched a goal and an assist each and Alex Biega scored the tie-breaking goal late in the second period to give the Pirates the lead for good. Biega and defense partner Dennis Persson were each a plus-5 in the game.

David Leggio (4-2) stopped 30 of 34 shots for Portland, which has knocked Connecticut out of the playoffs three times in the last six years (2006, 2008, 2011).

Jeremy Williams, Dale Weise and Chad Kolarik scored power-play goals and Carl Hagelin notched his first professional tally for the Whale. Wade Redden chipped in three assists.

Connecticut bowed out of the Calder Cup Playoffs in the first round for the fourth consecutive time since they last reached the second round in 2006.

Atlantic Division Semifinal – Series “A” (best-of-7)
A1-Portland Pirates vs. A3-Connecticut Whale
Game 1 – Thu., Apr. 14 – PORTLAND 3, Connecticut 2
Game 2 – Sat., Apr. 16 – PORTLAND 3, Connecticut 2 (OT)
Game 3 – Sun., Apr. 17 – CONNECTICUT 3, Portland 1
Game 4 – Tue., Apr. 19 – CONNECTICUT 3, Portland 1
Game 5 – Thu., Apr. 21 – PORTLAND 5, Connecticut 4
Game 6 – Sat., Apr. 23 – Portland 6, Connecticut 4