One night after falling to the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, the Pirates were embarrassed by a 7-1 drubbing to the Hershey Bears before 10, 238 at the Giant Center.
The Pirates are now 0-2-0 in their three-game road trip as they’ve been outscored by an 11-2 margin.
This game was also the return of Pirates’ captain Dean Arsene for the first time since playing nearly six seasons with the Bears where won the Calder Cup twice as captain of the franchise.
It looked promising for the Pirates to start.
Only two minutes into the game, Ryan Duncan snapped a 10-game goal-scoring drought with a rush into the zone, snapping a shot that beat Bears’ goalie Danny Sabourin stickside for a 1-0 lead.
After that, the Pirates might have well left the ice because they weren’t there anyway as the Bears scored seven unanswered goals.
Former Pirate Graham Mink, who scored twice, tied the game at 1-1 on a failed clearing attempt by the Pirates, setting into motion a 30 minute delay because of the Bears’ annual teddy bear toss.
Because of the number of bears collected and the length of cleanup, officials moved the remaining 3:32 to the start of the second period, which one would have thought killed any momentum that the Bears built, but instead it was the Pirates, who sank like an ocean wreck in the middle of the Atlantic as Hershey scored four times in the second period to take a 5-1 lead.
Matthew Ford, who recorded two assists, scored to give Hershey a 6-1 lead just a minute into the third period.
Ryan Potulny added his second goal of the night before the four minute mark of the period, giving the Pirates its largest margin of defeat this season.
Justin Pogge returned to the net for Portland, taking the loss, stopping 34 of 41 shots. Danny Sabourin allowed the first goal on the first shot of the game, but was solid from that point on by making 20 saves.
NOTES: Pirates’ forward Brock Trotter returned to the lineup after missing nine games with an upper-body injury.