The Portland Pirates, not landlubbers and obviously not teddy bear lovers after tonight’s game, fell 7-1 in a ferocious Hershey Bears attack Saturday night at Giant Center thanks in large part to the 10,000-plus teddy bears that were flung onto the ice on the Bears’ annual Teddy Bear Toss night.
After a tentative start by the Bears which included yielding the first goal of the game for only the fifth time this season and the first time in 10 games, a goal by Portland’s Ryan Duncan, the Bears evened the contest up when former Pirate Graham Mink gave the home fans the opportunity to unleash the bears. Mink buzzed a shot by the blocker of Portland goaltender Jason Pogge at 16:28 with the Bears on a power play. Mink’s marker was his 9th of the season, eight of which have been struck at Giant Center.
After the avalanche of bears that were thrown onto the ice after Mink’s goal, the officials elected to send the clubs to their respective dressing rooms while the stuffed animals were collected, and the ice was then resurfaced before the teams resumed play with 3:32 left on the scoreboard clock for the first period.
After the teams returned to the ice, neither team was able to score as the 3:32 ticked away, but 6:28 into the second stanza, thanks in large part to veteran Ryan Potulny, the Bears grabbed back the lead that they had earlier relinquished. Potulny skillfully utilized his veteran guile to garner his 3rd goal of the season.
Potulny’s linemate Jacob Micflikier started the sequence by carrying the puck just inside the Portland blueline where he slammed on the brakes. After coming to the sudden stop, Micflikier saucered a centering pass to Potulny who was cruising down the slot, where he looked to have a play on the puck, but wisely elected to let it go to winger Matt Ford who put a perfect pass on the tape of Potulny who had outraced a Portland defender to the crease area.
Following Potulny’s plundering of Pogge, the Bears added second period goals from Matt Pope, Julien Brouilliette and Mink, and third period strikes from Matthew Ford and another from Potulny to cruise to their 11th win of the season.
Notes- Hershey scratches were defensemen Danny Richmond (veteran) and Zach Miskovic (healthy), and forwards D.J. King (injury), Garrett Mitchell (healthy), and Kyle Greentree (injury).
Former Capital and current goaltending coach of the organization Olaf Kolzig attended the game.
Mink has scored the Bears’ first goal of the game six times this season at Giant Center.