Maine Hockey Journal

Peters shuts out Pirates as Bears even series, 2-2

Portland Pirates regular season contest against the Hershey Bears at the Cross Insurance Arena in Portland, Maine on 10/18/2015. (PHOTO: Michael McSweeney/Portland Pirates)

Portland Pirates regular season contest against the Hershey Bears at the Cross Insurance Arena in Portland, Maine on 10/18/2015. (PHOTO: Michael McSweeney/Portland Pirates)

The Hershey Bears set the tone in the first period and never looked back.

Travis Boyd and Chris Bourque scored first period goals for the Bears, and Justin Peters made 19 saves to shutout the Portland Pirates, 2-0, staving off elimination in Game 4 of the Atlantic Division semifinals Saturday evening before 8,946 at the Giant Center in Hershey, Pennsylvania.

Both teams were back on the ice less than 48 hours after the Pirates won Game 3 in epic fashion to take a 2-1 series lead as Rob Flick scored 3:10 into the third overtime.

Hershey just out-gunned Portland from the drop of the puck, putting the visiting team on its heels for the majority of the sixty minutes.

“It was a quick turnaround,” said Bears’ goalie Justin Peters during the on-ice interview. “Guys had a lot of desperation out there tonight, and that’s exactly what we need in Game 5.”

“They played a desperate game,” said Pirates’ head coach Scott Allen. “We played like we thought we won the series because we won a triple overtime game. All that did was give us two wins in the series. That’s it. We played like the series was done.”

With the best-of-five series now tied 2-2, the fifth and deciding game Sunday afternoon. The winner will face Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins in the Atlantic Division Finals.

Hershey jumped out 2-0 in the first period.

Travis Boyd put the Bears on the board at 12:51, taking a feed from Jakub Vrana and snapping a shot from the slot past Pirates’ goalie Mike McKenna.

McKenna made several point-blank saves in keeping the Pirates close through the first period, and during a scoreless second and third period. He finished with 26 saves on 28 shots.

Less than four minutes after Boyd’s goal, the Bears added a power-play goal, snapping an 0-for-7 skid in Thursday game to extend Hershey lead, 2-0.

With only 47 seconds left in the interference penalty to Jonathan Racine, Chris Bourque ripped a shot from the point that deflected off the stick of Brett Olson, catching the lower left corner of the net.

It was Chris Bourque’s first goal of the series.

The Pirates had few offensive opportunities in the game due to a Bears’ forecheck that stunted their movement up ice. Portland went 0-for-3 on the power play and is 1-for-16 in the series.

Portland nearly scored the first goal of the game early in the first period as Logan Shaw’s shot from the right circle flipped over Peters’ shoulder and drifted across the crease before Christian Djoos cleared the loose puck out of the zone.

“We gave them the game they wanted,” said Allen. “Give them credit. They played a hard, desperate game. We had some guys who played scared. Some guys who didn’t dig in. It’s certainly a disappointing loss.”

The loss drops the Pirates to 10-15 all-time in Game 4’s and 13-15 in possible elimination games. The last time the Pirates were in an elimination game against the Bears was May 30, 2006, when the Eric Fehr scored in overtime to clinch the Eastern Conference title in Game 7, sending Hershey to the Calder Cup Final against the Milwaukee Admirals. The Bears would eventually win the Calder Cup.

“They have a lot of playoff experience over there,” Allen said. “They’ve got guys that have won Calder Cups, and it showed. The better team certainly won the game.”

NOTES: Dylan Olsen left the game early into the second period and never returned after sustaining a hit from Garrett Mitchell. There was no update on the status of his condition after the game… Pirates’ scratches were Colin Stevens, Mackenzie Weegar, Wayne Simpson, Steven Hodges, Chase Balisy, Sena Acolatse, Lawson Crouse, Rihards, Bukarts, Dryden Hunt, Zac Lynch, Tony Turgeon, Juho Lammikko and Josh Brown.

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