Bracken Kearns ended the Portland Pirates’ chance at gaining home-ice advantage for the first round of the playoffs when he scored on a breakaway with 42 seconds left Friday night to lift the Bridgeport Sound Tigers to a 3-2 victory at Cross Insurance Arena.

The Sound Tigers clinched a berth in the Calder Cup playoffs.

The Pirates, who clinched a playoff spot last weekend, were unable to improve their seeding in the Eastern Conference playoffs that start next week.

The Pirates went into the weekend with a chance to move up as high as second in the Atlantic Division and gain home ice. Now the best they can finish is third in the division.

“We’re still battling for positioning in the standings,” Portland Coach Scott Allen said. “We’re still battling for who we’re going to play in the first round, so we’re not looking to mail in any games. The game you’re playing is the biggest game you’re playing that day. That’s what we’ve got to understand.”

The Pirates will finish the regular season with games at Springfield on Saturday and Sunday.

“It’s obviously disappointing with the loss because you want to have a couple of wins before going into the playoffs,” center Brett Olson said. “The good thing about playing three (games) in three (nights), we have a couple more chances this weekend to go get the win.”

Friday night, before 3,317 fans, the Pirates got off to a slow start.

“The first period I thought we eased into it,” Allen said. “It took us some time to get going, but I thought in the second and third periods we were good until the last six minutes of the game.”

Bridgeport center James Wright opened the scoring 11 minutes into the second period by putting a shot in from the top of the right circle for his 14th goal while the Sound Tigers were skating with a two-man advantage.

“We fell behind with a terrible five-on-three call, but it is what it is, and we tried to use it as a learning experience,” Allen said.

Tony Turgeon was sent off for holding and Olson was called for unsportsmanlike conduct.

“We know that’s going to happen in the playoffs and you can’t get rattled by that stuff,” Allen said. “You can’t get caught up in it.”

The Pirates took a 2-1 lead less than five minutes into the third period on Connor Brickley’s 11th goal and Olson’s 13th goal, but they couldn’t hold it.

With six minutes left, defenseman Matt Finn put in a shot from the inside the right circle for his sixth goal to tie it.

Kearns got the winning goal when he took the puck from a defender and skated in alone to put a backhander past goalie Mike McKenna for a team-high 23rd goal.

NOTES: During a pregame ceremony, goalie Mike McKenna received the Pirates’ Most Popular and Most Valuable Player Awards, and right wing Wade Simpson received the Unsung Hero Award, which are based on a vote of the fans. Veteran center Wade Megan received the players’ Player Award and was named the recipient of the Tom Ebright Award by the Pirates’ front-office staff. Rookie Mike Matheson, currently with the NHL parent Florida Panthers, received the Jack Button Award as that organization’s top NHL prospect. … Former Lewiston Maineiac Marc-Andre Cliche centered the third line for the Sound Tigers.