PORTLAND, Maine — Joey Crabb recorded a hat trick plus an assist, Jeff Taffe picked up a season-high five helpers and the Hershey Bears scored five times on the power play en route to a 6-3 victory over the Portland Pirates on Sunday afternoon at the Cumberland County Civic Center.
The Bears failed on their first two power play chances of the game, but finally grabbed the game’s first goal 28 seconds into the second period, cashing in with the extra man when Tomas Kundratek unloaded a slap shot that was blocked right back to him. His second wind-up found the back of the net behind Pirates backstop Chad Johnson for his 16th goal of the season.
Moments after Chris Brown was flagged for slashing, the Bears made it a 2-0 game on the ensuing power play. Bears winger Jon DiSalvatore carried the puck down the right wing and flipped a perfect pass toward the goal crease. A charging Peter LeBlanc tracked it down and tipped it past Johnson at 4:30.
Working their sixth power play of the game in the second, Taffe and Ryan Potulny controlled the play along the right wall. Taffe’s centering bid bounced off of a Pirates defenseman and right to a waiting Crabb for a slam-dunk at the left goal post at 19:03.
Grubauer made 29 saves to improve to 13-8-2 on the season. The Bears finished the night by matching the AHL’s season high for power play goals in a game with five on 10 opportunities. Hershey was also 6-for-7 on the penalty kill.
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The win, coupled with losses by the Connecticut Whale and Norfolk Admirals and a win by the Manchester Monarchs, keeps the Bears and Monarchs tied for ninth place in the conference standings — two back of the Admirals and Whale — with three games remaining in the regular season. The Bears reduced their magic number to seven for a postseason berth.