Maine Hockey Journal

Hardworking Pirates sweep Bears

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)

PORTLAND – The Portland Pirates learned a little bit about themselves this weekend.

Hard work truly does pay off.

Rob Schremp and Kyle Rau each score twice to complete the weekend sweep of the Hershey Bears Sunday afternoon with a 5-2 victory before 1,664 at the Cross Insurance Arena.

The Pirates (2-1-0-0) earned a 3-2 victory over Hershey in Saturday’s home opener.

“It was nice to get the first win under our belt last night and come back tonight and play another good game,” said Rau. “We’ve got some good players on our team, and when we play like we played tonight, we’ll be tough to beat. It was nice just to get a little confidence out of the gate.”

The Pirates dropped its season opener in Providence despite playing a solid game.

“We have skill when we play the right way,” said Pirates’ head coach Tom Rowe. “When you have the work ethic that we’ve shown through training camp and the opening of the season, it solidified what (Pirates’ Asst. Coach) Scott (Allen) and I thought. We’re a hard-working team with skill, but you have to work hard to be successful. I thought we got what we deserved this weekend.”

Portland scored the only goal in the first period, a power-play goal, as Rob Schremp snapped a shot from the right circle past Bears’ goaltender Dan Ellis.

Ellis played last year for the Panthers’ minor league affiliate when it was located in San Antonio.

Sam Brittain, who was a backup to Ellis in San Antonio, got the start in goal for Portland. He finished with 17 saves for the victory.

“You want to win and work hard, and that was my focus, just what I could control,” said Brittain. “It was a unique experience to see him down there having played with him last season.”

Rau, a third-round pick of the Panthers in 2011, tallied his first of two goals just 1:11 into the second period.

Wayne Simpson, who is with Portland on a PTO, forced Connor Carrick into a turnover off the forecheck, which led to Rau getting the puck in the slot, beating Ellis to put the Pirates up 2-0.

“Simpson is a really smart kid with his stick,” said Rowe. He signed with South Carolina as a free agent. He’s played the same way here as he did there.”

Schremp, who signed with the Pirates as a free agent last week, extended Portland’s lead, 3-0, with his second goal of the game at 10:40 of the second period.

Schremp, took a cross-ice pass from Cameron Gaunce, and fired into a wide open net with Ellis out of position for his third goal of the season.

“Oh my, no,” said Schremp on his disbelief on the empty net. “Even when I shot it I was just trying to get it off because a stick was coming into my lane. I was like get it on net, get it on net, and I looked up and the whole net was open. It was a really great fake by Gaunce.”

The Bears snapped Brittain’s shutout bid after Paul Carey fired a wrist shot from the left circle under the crossbar with 4:40 left in the second period.

Rau added his second goal of the game with 2:07 left in the second period. Again, Simpson caused another Bears’ turnover, leading to a pass to Matheson. He took the initial shot, but Rau was able to corral the rebound, lifting it over Ellis as the Pirates regained its three-goal lead, 4-1.

The Pirates and Hershey traded goals in the third period.

At 5:53, Travis Boyd made a nifty spin-o-rama play while driving toward the net, tossing a backhand across the crease to Riley Barber for a one-timer past Brittain.

John McFarland would add a penalty shot goal late in the game after being hauled down by Ryan Stanton.

That’s a high-end team,” said Rowe. “They’ve got good players over there. We told the team during intermission that they’ll be stretching the ice, taking chances, because they have to. I thought we handled it a little better tonight, but we have some work to do.”

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