This could have easily been a 5-0 lead for Portland before Ryan Stanton injected some life into the Bears with a goal inside the final :10 of the opening period.
First, Corban Knight had a breakaway from just inside the blue line, and Dan Ellis got his jersey logo in front of the hurried shot.
Minutes later, Rocco Grimaldi came flying down the slot to catch up to a puck poked loose from the right corner. He stepped into one but Ellis flashed the leather to trap it.
After the Pirates went ahead 1-0, Dylan Olsen’s long-range slapper from the left point caught the crossbar. That was checked on video at the next stoppage, but the puck wasn’t in.
Ellis really can not do any more for his team, who really owe him a good turnaround game here. I have to believe that some of the rookies have some nerves on display, but the team definitely did settle in. Additionally, the Bears cannot get any more help from the officials, who handed out four Hershey power plays that frame – the first four of the game. But at the start of the second, Portland gets a four-on-three that will turn into a five-on-three.
Nerves are out, now it’s time to get back to Bears hockey.