Three more teams punched their tickets to the Calder Cup 2004 Playoffs on Friday night as the postseason picture became a little bit clearer.
Portland extended its points streak to seven games (5-0-1-1) with a 6-3 win over Lowell, completing its comeback in the Atlantic Division and sewing up a spot in the qualifying series. The Lock Monsters were eliminated with their seventh consecutive loss.
Andrej Podkonicky scored three times and added an assist for the Pirates, who also got 24 saves from Rastislav Stana.
In Cincinnati, the Mighty Ducks posted a 4-0 win over Houston, but both clubs clinched playoff berths when San Antonio lost in Grand Rapids.
Joel Perrault recorded a goal and an assist and Ilya Bryzgalov made 30 saves for the Ducks, who will face the Aeros in the West Division qualifying series. The site of that series is still to be determined; with one game left, the teams are tied for fourth place, but Cincinnati owns the tiebreaker.
Elsewhere on Friday:
Hamilton won the Sam Pollock Trophy as champions of the North Division when Syracuse dropped a 4-1 decision to Rochester… Chicago stunned Milwaukee with five goals in the third period to earn a 6-3 win over the Admirals… Kevin Miller scored twice in the third as Grand Rapids kept pace with the Wolves with a 3-2 win over San Antonio… Michael Leighton made 44 saves as Norfolk tied Binghamton for fourth place in the East with a 3-0 win at the Broome County Arena… Steve Kelly and Mike Cammalleri each scored twice as Manchester wrapped up second place in the Atlantic with a 4-1 win over Worcester… Tim Thomas made 20 saves for his eighth shutout, leading Providence past Springfield, 3-0… Christian Ehrhoff recorded a goal and an assist for Cleveland in a 3-2 win over Utah… Albany kept Philadelphia from clinching a division title with a 5-3 win over the Phantoms, as Joe Hulbig and Steve Kariya registered a goal and two assists apiece… Sebastien Centomo stopped 38 shots for St. John’s in a 4-2 victory over visiting Toronto.