HARTFORD, Conn. – Christian Thomas had two goals and the Connecticut Whale scored twice in the first and third periods for a 4-1 win over the Portland Pirates on Friday night.

Portland (28-17-1-1) lost starting goalie Chad Johnson, who took a hard hit in the opening minutes and didn’t return for the final two periods. Mike Lee, who was reassigned Thursday by Phoenix from Gwinnett of the ECHL, took over.

The Pirates also dropped out of first place in the Atlantic Division when second-place Providence beat Bridgeport, 7-3.

Thomas scored the first goal at 8:39 of the opening period after collecting a pass around the boards from Kelsey Tessier.

The Pirates tied it just over three minutes later when Alexandre Bolduc stuffed in a rebound of a shot from the right point by Mike Stone.

Left wing Brandon Mashinter one-timed a pass from Kris Newbury with 1:50 left to put the Whale back on top, 2-1.

The Whale (22-21-4-2) outshot the Pirates 14-6 and forced the Pirates to kill off two five-on-three power plays in the period.

In the third, Thomas made it 3-1 with a hard shot from the right circle.

The Whale then got a short-handed goal from Tessier off a long pass from Sam Klassen.

Portland, which plays the Falcons at Springfield on Saturday night, was held to nine shots in the final period, 24 overall.


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