Toronto, Portland and Cincinnati joined Norfolk as road teams winning Game 1’s in the best-of-three qualifying series round as the Calder Cup 2004 Playoffs continued on Thursday.
Michael Henrich broke a 1-1 tie with 6:11 left in regulation to lift Toronto to a 3-1 win over Cleveland in both teams’ postseason debuts.
Tyler Moss made 34 saves for the Roadrunners, who will look to advance to the North Division semifinals with another win in Game 2 on Saturday.
At the Dunkin’ Donuts Center, Portland got four assists from Colin Forbes in a 7-1 rout of rival Providence. Ivan Ciernik scored twice and Alexander Semin added a goal and an assist in the Pirates’ most lopsided playoff win since a 7-1 decision over Saint John in the 1996 conference finals. Maxime Ouellet finished with 29 saves for the win.
Game 2 in Providence is Friday night.
Cincinnati pushed defending champion Houston to the brink of elimination with a 3-1 win over the Aeros. Tony Martensson and Chris Kunitz scored power play goals in the second period, and Ilya Bryzgalov turned aside 28 of 29 shots.
The Mighty Ducks go for the sweep in Game 2 on Saturday.
The road was also kind to Worcester in the opener of the Atlantic Division semifinals, as the IceCats recorded a 2-1 win in Manchester.
Blake Evans scored on a power play just 24 seconds into the game, and Ernie Hartlieb tallied what would be the game’s final goal at the 3:45 mark of the first. Curtis Sanford stopped 10 shots in 20 minutes of work before leaving due to injury, and Jake Moreland turned aside all 17 shots he faced the rest of the way.