Tensity, physicality and pace. The qualities needed for an epic, winner-take all game were all seen from the get go of Game 5. The Hershey Bears and Portland Pirates squared off to decide the best of five series, and establish who will move on to the second round and battle the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins.
The Chocolate and White struck first for the fourth time of the series thanks to Sean Collins. With 5:41 left in the first, Liam O’Brien sent a perfect pass from the trapezoid to Collins on the face off dot. It was the lone tally of the period putting Hershey in control after one period.
On an odd-man rush, the Bears doubled their lead at 9:29 of the second period. Jakub Vrana dropped a feed to Ryan Stanton, who beat Mike McKenna low to the ice. McKenna immediately looked to the rafters on the goal, probably wishing he could have it back. On the opposite end, Justin Peters channeled his inner Freddie Cassivi. Peters was the star the remainder of the frame with key stops on odd-man rushes.
The Pirates would cut the Bears’ lead in half only 2:51 into the third period. Wayne Simpson deflected a Michael Matheson shot to claw back into the hockey game. But, defense has been key for the Chocolate and White all series long. Another tremendous effort blocking shots and jamming passing lanes by the Bears led to a 2-1 finish.
The Hershey Bears knock off the Portland Pirates in five games to advance to the Atlantic Division Finals.
Submitted by Matt Trust