HERSHEY, Pa. — Unlike Saturday night, Portland came to play for all three periods Sunday afternoon.

Nevertheless, the Pirates fell short in a 2-1 loss to the Hershey Bears in the final game of a best-of-five AHL Atlantic Division semifinal series at Giant Center.

Hershey will meet the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins in the division finals beginning Wednesday in Hershey.

For the Pirates, their season came to abrupt halt despite a strong effort. Portland rebounded from a lackluster offensive effort in a 2-0 defeat in Game 4 and played a tight defensive game with fewer miscues.

They once again trailed 2-0 heading into the third period, however. They avoided back-to-back shutouts when Wayne Simpson tapped in Mike Matheson’s blast from the left point at 2:51 of the third period, ending Hershey goalie Justin Peters’ shutout streak of 100 minutes, 51 seconds.

The goal was preceded by a Portland power play that generated three shots.

Portland pulled goalie Mike McKenna with 1:19 left but couldn’t producing a tying goal despite keeping traffic in front of the Hershey net. The Pirates outshot the Bears 7-3 in the final period and 24-23 overall.

“I was certainly happen with our compete level tonight and it was certainly indicative of a playoff game,” said Pirates Coach Scott Allen. “We were engaged right from the outset. We battled through it all, but they find a way to win. We didn’t let down when we were down.”

Allen credited the Bears’ offensive zone play throughout the series.

“They do a very good job with it,” he said. “We were prepared for it as well as we could have been and it was a tight series.”

He also cited the play of both goalies. Peters made several key saves as he turned away 23 shots, and McKenna was equally effective with 21 saves.

“(Peters) had an outstanding game,” said Allen. “Both goalies were outstanding. That’s what makes for playoff hockey. It was a game of inches.”

Hershey Coach Troy Mann saw a difference in his club after it dropped a 6-4 decision in the series opener in Portland. The Bears allowed a total of four goals in the next four games.

“That was a wake-up call for us,” he said. “From there, we played some pretty good defensive hockey. We also came up with some timely goals when we needed them.”

Hershey went ahead in the first period when Sean Collins took a pass from Liam O’Brien behind the net and flicked a shot in the slot past McKenna’s glove at 14:19.

Before the goal, the opening period was similar to Saturday’s first period, as tight checking by both teams limited scoring opportunities. Portland’s best chance came when Brickley fired a shot in front that Peters gloved.

Hershey’s Travis Boyd nearly gave his team a two-goal lead late in the period, but his shot hit the post and flipped over McKenna’s shoulder toward the other side of the net.

The Bears made it 2-0 in the second period when Ryan Stanton scored his first playoff goal. The defenseman took a cross-ice pass from Jakub Vrana and flipped a shot between McKenna’s pads at 8:29. Ryan Bourque also was credited with an assist, as he started the rush after a shot by Portland’s Matheson’s rebounded out to him.

With just over two minutes left in the period, Brickley had another opportunity in front when he took a pass from Lawson Crouse but Peters smothered Brickley’s shot.

The Bears responded with a pair of rushes that nearly resulted in goals, as the Pirates had trouble clearing the puck in front.

Overall, Allen was pleased with his team’s season.

“I couldn’t be prouder of these guys,” he said. “We had a lot of movement throughout the year and we had a lot of guys contribute to the season the Florida Panthers had. We had guys who stepped up and kept us in contention all the way.

“We had the fight tonight, but unfortunately, it wasn’t enough.”