HERSHEY, Pa. – Ryan Stanton tallied the game-winning and series-clinching goal in a 2-1 victory over the Portland Pirates on Sunday night at GIANT Center. The Bears came back from two series deficits and claimed the Atlantic Division Semifinals three games to two.
Hershey would open the scoring for the fourth consecutive game. Hard work down low by Liam O’Brien would work the puck free. He found Sean Collins with a pass to the lower right circle, from where Collins would fire a shot across the body of Mike McKenna and over his glove at 14:19.
The Bears nearly added to their lead shortly afterward when Jakub Vrana placed a perfect saucer pass onto the stick of Travis Boyd from behind the net. Boyd lifted a wrist shot at the short side but the puck caught the right goal post.
Hershey would eventually get the lead doubled on a line rush led by Vrana. From the right boards, Vrana found a trailing Stanton for a low slapper right through the pads of McKenna at 8:29.
Portland brought the heat in the third period and was rewarded for the effort. Mike Matheson aimed a slap shot into traffic from the left point. Wayne Simpson got a stick on the shot and redirected the puck inside the right post and behind Justin Peters at 2:51, giving Portland its first goal in just over five periods.
Portland put forth a desperate effort in the final 90 seconds with McKenna pulled in favor of a sixth attacker, but the Bears held on for the win.
Peters stopped 23 shots to improve to 3-1 in the postseason. McKenna turned away 21 of 23 shots and fell to 2-3 in going the distance. Hershey finished 0-for-4 on the power play and 2-for-2 on the penalty kill.
The Bears will face the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins in the Atlantic Division Finals and will play the first two games at GIANT Center. Game one is set for Wednesday, May 4 and game two for Friday, May 6. Face-off both nights is at 7:00 PM. Tickets are available beginning Monday, May 2 at the GIANT Center box office, by calling (717) 508-BEAR, and online at TicketMaster.com.
NOTES: Ryan Stanton scored the first and last Hershey goal in the series…Hershey did not allow a power play goal on home ice in the series (14-for-14)…Hershey scored the first goal of the game in all three victories, and in four of the five games…Hershey won 13 games in the regular season scoring three or fewer goals, and the team won all three games in this series by doing so…Hershey improved to 14-4 on home ice in winner-take-all games…The Bears scratched LW Paul Carey, G Adam Carlson, RW Dustin Gazley, LW Dylan Margonari, LW Domenic Monardo and D Mike Moore…The Pirates scratched RW Chase Balisy, D Josh Brown, LW Rihards Bukarts, LW Lawson Crouse, C Steven Hodges, LW Dryden Hunt, C Juho Lammikko, LW Zac Lynch, LW John McFarland, G Colin Stevens, LW Tony Turgeon and D Mackenzie Weegar.
Article courtesy of Hershey Bears.