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HERSHEY BEARS COVERAGE WITH RICH BLOSSER
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Bears Recap for 5/15/24

Hello Bears fans, it time for another recap as we are getting into the heart of the Calder Cup Playoffs.

 

Cal-ed Out:

On Wednesday May 8th, the Hershey Bears traveled to the PPL enter to take on the Lehigh Valley Phantoms in Game 3 of the Atlantic Division Semi-finals.  After dominating Game 2, Bears fans had dreams of brooms as the Bears looked to close out the series.   The Bears tried to strike first, and fast as forward, Ethen Frank, was stopped on a breakaway and a few minutes later, Ethen Frank and Pierrick Dube, were stopped on a 2x1 attempt. 

 

It would be the Phantoms that would score first on the power play as a point shot from defenseman, Emil Andrae ,found its way ot the back of the net to make it 1-0.  A few minutes later, the Phantoms would get another power play opportunity as forward, Hendrix Lapierre, would go off for hooking.  The Phantoms would strike again on the man advantage as, Olle Lycksell, would push the puck past goaltender, Hunter Shepard, to make it 2-0.

 

The Bears had the leagues best penalty kill during the regular season had surrendered 2 goals on this night and it would be all the Phantoms needed. 

 

Hershey tried to get back into this game with a 4-minute power play, but the Phantoms PK stood firm. The Bears would put 6 shots on goaltender Cal Peterson in the third; in fact the Bears would not register a shot on goal until 8:30 to go in the game.  The Phantoms took Game 3 by a score of 2-0, giving goaltender Cal Peterson a 22 save shutout and extending the series.  Bears head coach Todd Nelson was not pleased with this performance, saying:  “They played like a team of men, and we played like boys!”

 

Saturday Night Shootout:

On Saturday May 11th, the Bears and Phantoms meet again for Game 4 of the Atlantic Division Semi-finals.  Hershey made some adjustments as forward, Matthew Phillips, was out and, Garrett Roe, was in his place.  This was Roe’s AHL playoff debut at 36 years young.  The Phantoms were looking to keep their season alive and force a Game 5 back in Hershey on Mother’s Day.  The Phantoms struck first once again as forward, Rhett Gardner, batted a puck out of mid-air after goaltender, Hunter Shepard, made an incredible save and the Phantoms were still able to make it 1-0 off the rebound.  Bears faith full’s were thinking “here we go again”, but seconds later forward, Ivan Miroshnichenko, would score on a breakaway to break the 168 minute shutout streak of Cal Peterson against the Bears in PPL Center.  It was Miro’s first playoff goal, and we may see him in red, white and blue, sooner rather than later.  However, the Phantoms would regain the lead as Captain, Garrett Wilson, would send a floater to goaltender, Hunter Shepard, that bounced off his glove, then mask and into the net. Once again the Bears responded quickly as forward, Pierrick Dube, would score on a turnaround shot that found the back of the net.  The teams went into the locker room tied at 2-2 and the Phantoms lead in shots 11-8.

 

In the second, Hershey found their game play and took control of the game as forward, Ivan Miroshnichenko, once again scored with a top corner wrister past Cal Peterson.  It was Hershey’s first road lead in the PPL Center in quite some time. The Bears would get a power play on a Phantoms delay of game penalty and Hershey would make them pay as forward, Ethen Frank, wristed a laser past Cal Peterson to give Hershey a two-goal lead, 4-2.  The Bears seemed in solid control of this game as they had the next round in their sights.  However, the Phantoms would capitalize on a Bears turnover as phantoms forward, Bobby Brink, would steal the puck and find a wide-open forward, Tanner Laczynski, to bring the Phantoms back to within one. 

 

In the third period, the Phantoms went all in to try and extend their season, throwing everything at Hershey goaltender, Hunter Shepard.  But it was the Bears that would find the back of the net from an unlikely player as defenseman, Hardy Haman Aketll, would score after forward, Mike Vecchione, was denied on a 2 on 1 chance, but, Ivan Miroshnichenko, would dig the puck out of the pads of goaltender Cal Peterson and get the puck back to his defenseman. With the Bears up 5-3, the Phantoms pulled the goaltender with 4 minutes to go, Hershey thought, Mike Vecchione, got an empty netter, but the play was called back after, Garrett Roe, forced the puck ahead with his hand, instead of his stick.

 

After some rough stuff in the final minute, that saw defenseman, Logan Day, get slammed into the boards during a scrum and headed down the tunnel holding his shoulder.  The Bears got the win and finished off the Phantoms 3 games to 1.  It was Hershey 3rd straight playoff series win against the Phantoms (2 as LV and as Philly Phantoms in 2010)

 

Hershey’s next opponent is a rematch of last year’s Atlantic Division finals as the Bears will take on the Hartford Wolf Pack, who came off a series win against the Providence Bruins.  Hershey is 3-1-0-0 against the Wolf Pack this year, including 2 wins at the XL Center.  The Wolf Pack are just like the Phantoms, but just a bit better, low scoring, hard hitting and can rally an impressive offense when you least expect it.  With, Riley Nash, being questionable after leaving Game 4, the Wolf Pack lean on forward, Jake Leschyshyn, for scoring, and Hartford could get reinforcements from the Rangers if New York is eliminated.  This will be a tough and lengthy series, I do not believe you can sweep a team twice in a row, but Hershey will take this in 5 games.

 

Go Bears and I will see you at Giant Center on Thursday May 16th at 7 pm and on Saturday May 18th at 7.  Get your tickets now!

 

Make sure you don’t miss my “GRIT & BEAR IT” Podcast available on all podcast platforms and right here on this site.

Bears Recap for 5/7/24

Hello Bears fans, Hershey is two games in to the playoff.  Let’s see how the boys did.

 

Opening Shot:

On Wednesday May 1st the Bears finally got their Calder Cup defense going as they took on the Lehigh Valley Phantoms.  Hershey dominated the Phantoms during the regular reason with an 8-2-0-2 record. However, the Phantoms have come into this series as confident underdogs ready to spoil the Bears’ plans for a repeat.

 

With reinforcements from the Washington Capitals, the Bears welcomed back: Hendrix Lapierre, Captain Dylan McIlrath, Vincent Iorio, Hardy Haman Aktell, Lucas Johansen and more.  The additions paid immediate dividends as Hershey was able to not only get five shots on goal, but they got the first goal of the series, as forward, Hendrix Lapierre, deflected a, Chase Priske, shot past Phantoms goaltender, Cal Peterson, to take a 1-0 lead.

 

Hershey would add another goal from the fourth line as forward, Henrik Rybinski, would clean up a goalie crease scramble and sneak a puck under goaltender Cal Peterson to make it 2-0.  It was Rybinski’s first career playoff goal and it was an insurance goal for the chocolate and white.  Physicality was a factor in this game, as the refs let a lot of hard checks, elbow hits and some obvious penalties go, as the game turned into an old barn playoff game.  The Phantoms would get a goal from forward, Tanner Laczynski, to make things interesting with a 2-1 lead with 4:32 to play.  But the Bears defense, as they have done all season, was able to close the door in the final minutes with timely shot blocking and quick clearing to secure the win in Game 1 for the Bears. 

 

Saturday Night IS Fight Night:

On Saturday May 4th the Bears and Phantoms played Game 2 of the Atlantic Division Semifinals as over 10,000 packed into a sold-out Giant Center.  This game had a big fight feel to it and many came from Allentown to cheer on the orange and black among the Hershey faithful.  This time it was the Phantoms turn to try and establish the tempo as they had the game’s first 5 shots and tried to get an early goal on their rivals.  Alas it was for not as forward, Ethen Frank, would get 2 quick goals on net minder, Cal Peterson, in the first half of the first period, including a breakaway goal.  The Phantoms would answer before the end of the first as forward, Hunter McDonald, would find the puck in the slot and bury it past Hershey goaltender, Hunter Shepard. Even though the Bears were outshot 14-9 in the first, the Bears were the better team.  The Bears would add to their lead as forward, Henrik Rybinski, would deflect a shot from forward, Bogden Trineyev, to make it 3-1.  Forward Alex Limoges would get a power play goal just as a 5x3 power play would expire for the Bears, making it 4-1 and the first power play goal of the postseason for the chocolate and white.

 

While the physical play was at the same level as Game 1, the referees did not let the same penalties slide as the Phantoms got 7 penalties called against them, compared to Hershey’s 3.   All three of the Bears’ penalties came in the third period, which made the game a bit more interesting than it should have.  During a power play for Lehigh, Hershey’s, Aaron Ness, covered the puck in the crease after a error by, Hunter Shepard, as he tried a clearing attempt. The penalty resulted in rare playoff penalty shot for the Phantoms taken by forward, Bobby Brink, but Hunter stood firm, stopping the shot, which lead to chants of Shep-ard, Shep-ard  through out Giant Center.

 

Forward Hendrix Lapierre would add an empty net goal to ice the game at 5-1 and on the ensuing play, a big line brawl erupted behind goaltender Cal Peterson.  Nearly every Bear and Phantom player started pushing, shoving, tackling, punching or a mixture of all of the above.  The chaos resulted in every player getting a 10 minute misconduct and both benches looking a bit thin.

 

The Bears would get the last laugh as they took Game Two, 5-1 to take a 2-0 lead in the series, the Bears have a chance to sweep the series on Wednesday May 8th in Allentown .  If not, then on Saturday May 11th there will be a Game 4.  If needed, game 5 is on Sunday May 12th.  Let us hope it does not come to that and we can all relax and enjoy Mother’s Day! 

 

Don't forget to check out my Podcast, "GRIT & BEAR IT" right here on this sight.  Go Bears and see you at Giant Center!

Hershey Bears vs Lehigh Valley Phantoms Playoff Preview:

Hello Bears fans, it is the most wonderful time of the year, playoff hockey!  I hope all of you are enjoying whatever playoffs you are watching be it, Stanley Cup or the Bears Chase for another Calder Cup!  After a week off, the Bears learned who their opponent was last Friday April 23rd as the Phantoms defeated the Wilkes/Barre Scranton Baby Pens in a quick 2 game sweep of their I-476 rivals.

 

So, let’s check the tale of the tape, How did they get here?

Hershey Bears:  The Bears secured a first-round bye back in March and have been resting since their last game on April 20th.  Lehigh Valley Phantoms:  Defeated the WBS Baby Pens in 2 games with an overtime goal after coming back from a 3-1 deficit with 10 minutes to go in the game.

 

Regular season series: Hershey went 8-2-0-2 against the Phantoms this season, including a couple of shutouts from both goaltender, Hunter Shepard and Clay Stevenson.  The Bears have not won a game at PPL Center since January 31, while the Phantoms have not won at Giant Center since November 12, 2023.

 

Player to Watch:

Hershey Bears: Hendrix Lapierre.  While forward, Hendrix Lapierre, or Lappy as he is called on social media, has seen plenty of time at the corner of 7th and H streets in D.C. for many weeks now, and he produced goals.  The young forward is talented as he scored a hat trick earlier this season for the Bears when they played Belleville back in January and Lappy can be another weapon to a very already loaded Hershey Bears.  Lehigh Valley Phantoms: Tanner Laczynski.  The Flyers prospect has been known to be hot and cold this season, if he gets going, he can put up points especially on the road (in our building) and on power plays.  Tanner provided 2 clutch goals for the Phantoms and could possibly go on a run against the Chocolate and White.

 

The Phantoms seems to be a “nobody believes in us” team, a ragtag group of forwards, no star prospects unlike the mid-2010 Phantoms playoff team.  This Phantoms team was expected to have a fierce 3 game set with the Baby Pens, and if they survived that, then Hershey would pick at the leftovers.  However, Cal Peterson put on a clinic in WBS for Game 1, and the Phantoms battled back to an OT victory in Game 2.  If anyone could trip up this loaded Bears team … it’s this squad.

 

Prediction: “Bears in FIVE.”

The Bears can NOT afford to overlook this Phantoms team!  The orange and black will throw everything at the Bears to complete an upset … almost equal to how last years NHL season leader (Boston Bruins) were discarded and tossed out in their first round of the playoffs last April.  If the Phantoms can get goaltender, Hunter Shepard, and Cal Peterson stands on his head like Justin Peters did for the Bears in 2016 postseason, the Phantoms could win this series.  I think Cal Peterson steals a game at Giant Center either Wednesday or Saturday, but the Bears will find a way to defeat their rivals in a sneaky, tough matchup.   

 

Storylines:

Hershey Bears:  The Bears are the defending AHL Calder Cup Champions and Hershey is looking to Repeat the Roar this postseason.  Hershey has broken many team and league records this year and there is still at least one more dangling carrot out there.  If the Bears are able to Repeat … Hershey will be the first AHL club to ever achieve three different Back-to-Back Championships.  Bears fans have high expectations for the playoffs, which begin Wed. 5/1 and Sat. 5/4 at Giant Center.  Go Bears! 

 

Make sure you listen to all of the “GRIT & BEAR IT” Podcasts this season, available on all podcast platforms and right here on this sight.

Bears Recap for 4/24/24

Hello Bears fans, this is it, end of the line for the Hershey Bears regular season of hockey, of course we still have the playoffs to look forward to, as we chase a 13th Calder Cup.

 

Wednesday Checkup, turn your head and cough:

On Wednesday April 17th, the Bears took on the Charlotte Checkers for the 7th time this season, with the Kilpatrick trophy locked up, it seemed Hershey had little to play for, outside of the best AHL record ever.  Charlotte had plenty to play for in securing home ice for the first round. 

 

Hershey came out shooting plenty at goaltender, Magnus Hellburg, including a feed from behind the net from Hershey forward, Matthew Phillips, that found a wide open, Joe Snively, to give Hershey a 1-0 lead.  A few minutes later, Matt Strome, on the penalty kill would draw a penalty shot and beat Hellburg to make it 2-0 Bears.  It was Hershey’s first successful penalty shot since, Riley Barber, in 2018 against the Lehigh Valley Phantoms.  The Hershey faithful thought they were in for an easy night until the Checkers answered with two goals to tie the game.  First from forward, Wilmer Skoog and a power play goal from Michell Vander Sompel, just seconds into their man advantage.

 

The Checkers would take the lead in the second as forward, Wilmer Skoog got his 2nd of the game to make it, 3-2.  Charlotte dominated the second period, outshooting the Bears 14-4 as they were firmly in control of the game.  However, in the third, Hershey found their second wind as forward, Alex Limoges, deflected an Ethen Frank shot to tie the game at 3.  That was Limoges’ 24th of the season as the Bears turned up the pressure on their red and black opponent.   The game had a playoff feel to it, like the playoff series last spring, tight checking and a tense atmosphere at Giant Center.  However, Pierrick Dube, would intercept a pass at the blue line and skate in on a breakaway and score to give Hershey the lead, 4-3.  The Bears would tighten things down defensively and secure the win for their 52nd win of the season … leaving Hershey a point shy of the best overall season record ever in the AHL, which is held by the 1992-93 Binghamton Rangers.

 

Looking back and moving forward:

On Saturday April 20th the Bears would face the Checkers in not only a rematch, but the regular season finale of the Hershey Bears season.  The Bears front office handed out the hardware for regular season awards; here is a summary. 

 

AHL Man of the Year:  Jake Massie

Coach's Award:  Henrik Rybinski

Best +/-:  Vincent Oirio

Player of the Game Award:  Pierrick Dube

Unsung Hero:  Jimmy Huntington

Best Defensemen:  Chase Priske

Rookie of the Year:  Goalie, Clay Stevenson

MVP:  Goalie, Hunter Shepard

 

When the game started, Charlotte would play spoiler to not only the Bears awards night, but the chances of Hershey getting the best record in American Hockey League History!  The Checkers scored two quick goals from forward, Mackie Samoskevich, and Will Lockwood.  The Bears were outplayed for most of the game, beaten to loose pucks, losing puck battles, especially in the corners and things felt a bit off for the Chocolate and White.  It seemed like it was not meant to be for the Bears, but forward, Joe Snively, tried as he scored a goal against Charlotte while Bears Coach, Todd Nelson, pulled the Hershey goalie and sent out ding out an extra Hershey attacker.  It worked!  And the Bears tightened the score to just 2-1.  The Bears fans faithfully rose to their feet hoping for some late Hershey magic, including yours truly, but with Hershey’s goalie pulled out of the net again … a fumbled bouncing puck gave Hershey defensemen, Logan Day, trouble at the Charlotte blue line and Checkers, Alexander True, skated the loose puck down to a Bears open net to make it, 3-1.  Forward, Zac Dalphe, would add another empty net goal with 8 seconds to go and the Checkers won with a 4-1 final score.

 

Hershey would finish the season with their best regular season points percentage ever, at .771, beating the 2009-10 Calder Cup team whose winning percentage was .769.  The Bears would get some more awards after the regular season concluded as goaltenders, Hunter Shepard and Clay Stevenson, earned the Harry “Hap” Holmes awards for best goaltending duo at 2.10 GGA combined.

 

Hunter Shepard would also receive the Aldege “Baz” Bastien Award for the AHLs most outstanding goaltender, making him the 4th Bear to ever earn that award.

 

Hershey Bears Head Coach, Todd Nelson, would also receive the Louis A.R. Pieri Award for being the most outstanding American Hockey League Coach for the 2023-24 season.

 

As great as all this hardware is, the Bears will soon begin long and hard playoff rounds in an effort to seek the ultimate prize; the Calder Cup Championship.  The boys earned a first-round bye so they get a short rest for now while they wait for their opponent for the second round.  See you soon at Giant Center and check out the “GRIT & BEAR IT” Podcast on all podcast platforms, including right here, as Hershey chases the silver chalice!

Bears Recap for 4/16/24

Hello, everyone, it is hard to believe but we only have a handful of games to go in the Hershey Bears season.  It’s been fun covering games for you and thanks to 717SportsMedia.com for posting my Recaps. 

That Old Feeling:

On Friday April 12th, the Bears began 3 games in 3 nights at Giant Center for the 12th and final time.  Hershey was looking to lock up the Kilpatrick trophy as regular season champions as the Phantoms were looking to inch closer to the 6th and final playoff spot in the Atlantic Division.  The Bears would set the tone early as forward, Bogden Trineyev, made a check that sent a Phantom player into the boards and the Bears faithful into an uproar.  Hershey would get on the board later in the 1st period, as forward, Matthew Phillips, would deflect a Chase Priske, shot past goaltender, Cal Peterson, to make it 1-0.  It was Phillips first goal at Giant Center since first scoring on the road in Charlotte a month ago.

Hershey would add to their lead as forward, Ethen Frank, would unleash a powerful slap shot for a power play goal, it was his 29th of the season and it was 2-0.  The Phantoms would answer a few minutes later as Captain Garrett Wilson would score on a turnaround shot to put the Phantoms on the board, 2-1.

Hershey would answer back in the third as defenseman, Logan Day, ripped a shot past, Cal Peterson, to give Hershey a 2-goal lead once again at 3-1.  Forward, Joe Snively, would get in on the action as defensemen, Chase Priske, had his initial shot blocked, but regained the puck and passed it to a wide-open Snively to put this one away, 4-1.  It was the Bears 8th win against the orange and black this season giving them a record of 8-2-0-2 against their I-78 rivals.

Last Call in Wilkes-Barre:

Hershey traveled up I-81 on Saturday night to take on their 81 rivals Wilkes Barre-Scranton Baby Pens for the last time in Northeast PA.  While the Bears were 8 and 2 against the Baby Pens, they were only 3-2 at Mohegan Sun Arena.  Yours truly was at this game and will cover my experience on the podcast.  It was the home finals for the Baby Pens drawing their biggest crowd of the season at 7,400 in attendance.  The crowd and Pens would get into it early as the Pens got 7 shots on goaltender Clay Stevenson within the first 8 minutes.  Wilkes-Barre would open the scoring as forward, Avery Hayes, would pick a corner against, Clay Stevenson, to make it, 1-0.

Hershey would respond in the second as defenseman, Hardy Haman Aketell, would tip in a pass from forward, Ryan Hofer, to tie the game at one all.  It was Hardy’s second of his rookie season with the Bears, but WBS would answer back a few minutes later as forward, Jansen Harkins, would sneak one past Clay Stevenson to make it 2-1.

In the third period, the Pens would tack on 2 more goals from Corey Andonovski and Sam Poulin, to put this one out of reach at 4-1 baby pens.  Wilkes-Barre played like a team desperate for 2 points on the night and it showed, as they limited the Bears offense to 1 goal and no shots on goal for the Bears the  last 15 minutes of the third period.  Hershey would lose this game but received good news earlier in the day as the Coachella Valley Firebirds lost in overtime to the Bakersfield Condors.  With that loss and Hershey’s win the night before, the Bears claimed the Kilpatrick trophy for the 9th time in team history.

Sunday Rematch:

Hershey and Wilkes-Barre would have their rematch at Giant Center as they played for the 12th and final time this season.  The Bears were without their captain as Dylan Mcilrath, was recalled to the Capitals earlier in the day.  The teams played a sluggish Sunday game as both were at the end of a long weekend of hockey.  The Bears would get the first goal in the dying seconds of the first as defenseman, Logan Day, blasted a shot past goaltender, Joel Blumqvist, to make it 1-0.  However, the Baby Pens would answer back in the second with a goal from forward, Vinnie Hinostroza, to tie the game at 1-1.

Into the third period, the game took a tense playoff feel to it, even though both teams were tired, neither wanted to back down to their rival.  The Bears would take the lead on a Jimmy Huntington, shorthanded breakaway goal that was set up from a shot block from forward, Dmitry Osipov.  Hershey would get another power play goal late in the third from forward, Mike Vecchione, and Matthew Phillips, would get an empty net goal to seal this one at 4-1.  Hershey would end up with a perfect 6-0 record against the Baby Pens at Giant Center this season and 9-3 overall, as a playoff series rematch could be possible between these two clubs.

Hershey will finish their season with 2 more home games against the Charlotte Checkers on Wednesday April 17th and Saturday April 20th at Giant Center.  The Bears will get some time off after Saturday with a first-round bye as the first round of the Calder Cup Playoffs will begin with a 3-game miniseries between the 3rd and 6th  seeds in the Atlantic Division.  See you at Giant Center.  GO BEARS!

Make sure you listen to my latest “GRIT & BEAR IT” podcast right here on this site!

Bears Recap for 3/30/24

Hey, Bears fans, the regular season is winding down and I am here with another recap, if you enjoy this article, please check my Hershey Bears podcast ... The GRIT & BEAR IT Podcast on all podcast platforms.

 

Cleveland Hockey:

The Bears traveled to the Rock and Roll capital of the world on Friday to take on the Cleveland Monsters.  This Monsters team is depleted with call ups to Columbus as well as injuries ... with players like, Trey Fix-Wolansky and Brenden Gaunce are up with the Blue Jackets right now.  Hershey is getting healed after a rough month of injuries and call ups themselves. 

 

The Bears peppered Cleveland goaltender, Jet Graves, early, outshooting the Monsters 8-1 not even halfway into the first period.  Hershey would strike first as forward, Matt Strome, would collect a pass from, Riley Sutter, to chip the puck past Graves to make it 1-0.  But the Monsters would cash-in on a goaltender error as Hershey net minder, Clay Stevenson, gave the puck away to forward, Stephan Matteau, (son of the infamous New York Ranger.)  Clay scrambled back to his net to make the save but could not get the rebound as forward, Alex Whelan, put it home to tie the game.  However, Hershey’s offensive onslaught yielded two goals from forwards, Pierrick Dube’, and, Ethen Frank, to make it 3-1 after one period.

 

In the second, forward, Jimmy Huntington, extended Hershey’s lead as he scored (while falling on his butt) to make it, 4-1 Hershey.  The Bears would get into penalty troubles as they took 4 minor penalties on the second and two more in the third.  The Monsters were able to make the Bears pay as forward, Jake Gaudet, scored to cut the lead to  4-2.  Hershey forward, Henrik Rybinski, would match said goal with his own to take the lead back 5-2, but the Monsters would answer a few minutes later with, Tyler Angle, getting one to make it, 5-3. 

 

The Monsters pulled their goalie, and the Bears took another penalty to create a 6 on 4 disadvantage for the Bears to end the game, but Chocolate town forward, Bogdan Trineyev, would get an empty net (shorthanded goal)  to make it 6-3 and get the win for the Bears.

 

Saturday night in the 216:

The Bears and Monsters clashed again the next night as it was a East Conference Finals “goalie rematch” between Hershey’s, Hunter Shepard, and recently acquired, Malcom Subban. This game played like a goaltender duel with Subban making many key saves and, Hunter Shepard, not facing a lot of shots, only 10 midway through the game.

 

Hershey would get into penalty woes again as they took 4 straight penalties (2 in the first and 2 in the second) However, forward, Matt Strome, once again broke the ice with a sneaky shot that bounced off of Subban’s skate and into the net for Strome’s second goal of the weekend.

 

In the third period, it was the Monsters turn to get the penalties as forwards Zboril and Owen Sillinger, were sent to the box giving Hershey a 5 on 3 power play.  The Bears made the Monsters pay as, Ethen Frank, scored a 5 on 3 goal and, Alex Limoges, scored a 5 on 4 goal to give the Bears a 3-0 lead. Joe Snively would tack on another goal (thanks to a beautiful feed from defenseman, Logan Day and Alex Limoges), and Snively would get another power play goal to blow the game wide open at 5-0.  Goaltender, Hunter Shepard, would close the door on the blue and black club as he got his 5th shutout of the season and helped to set a new franchise record for combined goalie shutouts in a season with 11.  The previous record was held by 2014-15 at 10 with goalies, Philipp Grubauer, with 6 shutouts and, Pheonix Copley, with 3 along with, Justin Peters, with 1.

 

Bobbleheads and Penalties:

Hershey would take on the Providence Bruins in a rare Tuesday night home game as it was, Mike Vecchione, “Bobblehead night.”  If you want my opinion on said night, listen to the podcast on Monday April 1st!

 

The Bears and Bruins met for the final time this season, playoffs permitting, at Giant Center on March 26th.   Hershey was looking forward to a season sweep vs. the P-Bruins going 5-0-0-0 against them this season, including a road sweep at Amica Mutual Pavilion.  Hershey’s penalty problems would arise again as defenseman, Vincent Iorio, would go off for holding to the dismay of 10,001 faithful.  The Bruins would make Hershey pay as former Bear, Jayson Megna, would clean up a rebound to start the scoring at 1-0.  Hershey would answer quickly, as defensemen, Logan Day, ripped a powerful shot past Bruins goalie, Brandon Bussi, to tie the game, 1-1.

 

In the 2nd, more penalties as, Chase Priskie, went for a double minor high sticking call, which began at the end of the first period, but Providence forward, Anthony Richard, would get called to create a four on four.  A failed clearing attempt led to a Providence goal as forward, Michael Callahan, would give Providence the lead at 2-1.  Providence would get another special team’s goal as forward, Jayson Megna, found a wide-open, Anthnoy Richard, on the faceoff dot who unleashed a powerful shot of his own to make it 3-1 Providence. The Bruins would tack on another goal after a turnover from, Joe Snively, to, Marc McLaughlin, and it was 4-1.  Providence scored 3 goals on 4 shots, making the Bears pay for their uncharacteristic mistakes.

 

Providence would hold onto the lead into the 3rd, even surviving a full 5 on 3 Hershey power play, shutting down the powerful Bears offense and Providence won 4-1.  This win is the P-Bruins lone win against the chocolate and white this season.  Head Coach, Todd Nelson, was not pleased with this performance in his post-game interview and feels the need to reel in the penalties, because 10+ minutes of penalties will not fly in the postseason.

 

Hershey has one game this Easter weekend as they travel to Hartford to take on the Wolf Pack, and then on Tuesday April 2nd, it’s another Tuesday night home game against the Phantoms.  Hershey then travels next weekend to Des Moines, Iowa to take on The Iowa Wild.  See you at Giant Center and GO BEARS!

Bears Recap for 3/19/24

Hello once again Bears fans, I am back for another Bears recap.  The Hershey Bears have clinched a playoff spot and now look to clinch the Atlantic Division and home ice throughout the Calder Cup Playoffs.

 

The Devil is in the ABC:

The Bears made their one and only trip to upstate New York to take on the Utica Comets.  Last time Hershey faced Utica was earlier in the month, a 1-0 loss at Giant Center.  This time the Comets came to Hershey at Giant Center and the Comets came out with two quick goals; the first was a rebound goal from forward Filip Engaras.  The second goal was a perfect shot to the pad of Bears goaltender, Hunter Shepard, which bounced right to forward, Xaiver Parent, who made it 2-0. 

 

However … Hershey would finally get a goal on Comets goaltender, Jesse Poulter, as Bears forward, Riley Sutter, would deflect a shot from, Matt Strome, to make it 2-1.  The Bears would get two more quick goals from forward Alex Limoges, who gave the Bears up ead, 3-2.  Utica would answer early in the third as the Hershey goaltender ended up poked checking the puck right to Comets forward, Kyle Criscuolo, which tied the game, 3-3.

 

Neither team would find the back of the net in overtime, even though the Bears would get a 4 on 3 power play to no avail. Utica would take the shootout with the lone goal coming from forward, Timur Ibragimov, an ECHL minor league call up.  This game finished up a Hershey 4-game road trip which saw the Bears go 1-1-0-2.

 

Saturday Night Crunch fest:

Hershey returned home to take on the Syracuse Crunch in a game where Head Coach Todd Nelson challenged the Bears to play a playoff style of hockey.  Both teams came out high hitting and fast skating, as neither team looked like they played the night before and traveled from upstate NY.  Syracuse would get the first tally as forward, Gabriel Foster, put home a loose puck in front of goaltender, Clay Stevenson, to make it 1-0.

 

In the second period, Hershey got the answering goal when Pierrick Dube picked up the puck off the faceoff and fired a shot past Crunch goaltender, Ben Halverson, to tie the game, 1-1.  The Bears would take the lead on a power play goal as forward Jimmy Huntington would collect a cross ice feed and blast it home to make it 2-1.  This was Hershey’s 8th PPG since forward, Mike Sgarbossa’s, call-up to the NHL parent club, Washington Capitals.  Hershey would get an insurance marker early in the third as Riley Sutter deflected a shot from defensemen, Vincent Iorio.  Hershey would hold onto the lead despite an almost full two-minute 5 on 3 penalty kill.  The Crunch then had no other option and they pulled their goalie with 4 minutes to go and, Riley Sutter, would ice the game with an empty net goal and the Bears win  4-1.

 

Woah is the Wolf Pack:

Hershey would finish the weekend with a divisional matchup against the Hartford Wolf Pack. There would be no Sunday slump for the Bears as forward, Ethen Frank would get a power play goal just 1:19 into the game.  It was Ethen’s first goal since coming back from injury and a much-needed jolt to Hershey’s power play.

 

Hershey would get another goal late in the second as forward, Alex Limoges, would clean up a loose puck in front of Hartford goalie, Dylan Garand, to make it, 2-0 Bears.  Hershey’s defense would smother the Hartford forwards which greatly reduced the scoring chances for the Wolf Pack.  Hartford felt like they lost their physicality with the recall of forward, Matt Rempe, the newest tough guy who is bouncing back and forth between the AHL and NHL.   

 

The Bears would get another goal midway through the third as Hershey’s Garand, left a loose puck for Forward, Riley Sutter, to “collect and bury” into a wide-open Hartford net to make it, 3-0.  Ryan Hofer would get a goal after another gift, in the form of a poke check, which went right on Hofer’s stick giving Ryan his 4th on the season.  However, Hartford forward, Jake Leschyshyn, would try and end Hunter Shepard’s shutout with a late shorthanded breakaway, which was stopped perfectly by the Hershey net minder to maintain his shutout and secured the win.  This was Hershey 10th shutout of the season, tying a franchise record for most combined shutouts by Hershey goaltenders.  Hershey would get 5 out of 6 points on the weekend and as of this article release, the magic number to clinch the division is 11 points.

 

Hershey will hit the road this weekend for a pair of games against the Cleveland Monsters on Friday March 22nd and Saturday March 23rd.  The Bears will return home for a rare Tuesday night home game against the Providence Bruins on March 26th before finishing the month of March in Hartford on Saturday March 30th.

 

If you enjoyed this article, check out the GRIT & BEAR IT Podcast, the first and only Hershey Bears hockey podcast on Spotify.  GO BEARS and let’s keep the Cup!

Bears Recap for 3/12/24

Hello Bears fans, I am back from a weekend in Charlotte, North Carolina, I followed the boys to the state of the first flight. 

It was a busy week for the Bears as Evgeny Kuznetsov, was waived by the Washington Capitals and sent down to the Hershey Bears.  He attended practice with the boys back on Tuesday March 5th and even traveled down to North Carolina.  However, he was traded to the Carolina Hurricanes later in the week, and got a start for the chocolate and white, I am positive there is a #92 Hershey Bears Kuznetsov jersey somewhere.

 

Friday Night Showdown:

Hershey faced off against the Checkers on Friday in front of a packed Bojangles coliseum, Hershey is looking to get off a three-game losing streak (0-2-0-1.) I am also to get over a personal losing streak at Bojangles, 0-4.  The Checkers got a lucky bounce early as a shot from the point hit a Bear in front of goaltender, Clay Stevenson.  The puck dropped right in front of Checkers forward, Zac Dalpe, who slammed it home to give Charlotte an early 1-0 lead.

 

Hershey would respond and break their scoreless drought as forward, Mike Vecchione, would tip a point shot past goaltender, Evan Comire.  Not only was it Mike’s 15th of the season, but the first Bears goal in over 130 minutes.  The fortunate bounces would continue for the Checkers as a, Gerry Mayhew, shot would bounce off the glass, past 4 players and right to forward, Will Lockwood, to regain the lead, 2-1.

 

In the second period, the Bears fore-check forced a turnover as forward, Alex Limoges, came off the boards and tucked the puck past Comire to tie the game at 2 all.  Hershey tried to play their style of hockey and seemed to establish their fore-check and caused the Checkers to make some mistakes. However, a few minutes later, forward Justin Sourdif, would score on a breakaway to retake the lead, 3-2 Charlotte.  The Checkers continued to dominate the Bears, winning puck battles and skating circles around the boys, in the offensive zone.

 

Charlotte would tack on another goal early in the third to put the game out of reach at 4-2.  Hershey would get one late as defenseman, Chase Prisike, would clean up a scramble in front of goalie, Evan Comrie, to bring Hershey within one, 4-3.  But forward, Gerry Mayhew, would get an empty net goal for his 14th and seal the win for the boys in Queen City.

 

Checkmated:

On Saturday, the Bears had their rematch against the Checkers as they looked to split the weekend series.  Matthew Phillips made his debut for the Bears after being waived by the Capitals a few weeks ago, claimed by the Pittsburgh Penguins, waived by the Penguins a few days ago, then reclaimed by Capitals and sent to Hershey.  The move paid off as Phillips got his first goal as a Bear on his first shift, burying a rebound left by goaltender, Spencer Knight to give Hershey a 1-0 lead.

 

Charlotte would respond with a 4-on-4 goal after Aaron Ness missed a check causing a 2 on 1 breakaway for Charlotte which was buried by forward, Mackie Samoskevich, to tie the game at 1.  However, Hershey would get the lead back as forward, Matthew Phillips, found a wide-open forward, Jimmy Huntington, to put the Bears ahead 2-1.  Hershey would add to the lead on a power play goal as a point shot would bounce off goalie, Spencer Knight’s, right to forward, Jimmy Huntington to make it 3-1. The Bears got back to their defensive style of guarding the center of the ice and forcing the Checkers to the boards and limit them to only shots from the point.  Charlotte gets a shorthanded goal to bring the deficit to one as, Patrick Giles, interrupted a drop pass in the neutral zone and tucked one past Bears goalie, Clay Stevenson.

 

In the third period, Charlotte got more aggressive in their offensive play as they activated their defensemen,  and rushed into the Bears zone every chance they got.  While this game had a playoff feel to it, the Bears defense held firm through 2 Checker power plays in the third and won the game, 3-2, final answer.  This win broke Hershey’s four game losing streak, but also reduced Hershey’s magic number to make the playoffs.

 

The next day, Sunday, Springfield Thunderbirds would lose to the Providence Bruins, reducing Hershey’s magic number to 0 which then guaranteed the Bears a spot in the 2024 Calder Cup Playoffs. 

 

Up next for the boys in chocolate is a three in three weekend as they travel to Utica, NY to take on the Utica Comets.  Then, they return home for a set against the Syracuse Crunch and Hartford Wolf Pack.  GO BEARS!

Bears Recap for 3/5/24

Hello Bears fans, it’s March and the last full month of Hershey Bears regular season hockey, as I say on the Grit and Bear It Podcast.  You better love, hug and cherish the season, because it will be gone before you know it.

A Rare Comet Sighting:

The Bears returned to action at the Giant Center after having a week off after a very busy week which saw them play four games in six days. However, during the week, the Capitals recalled forward, Ivan Miroshichenko.  This left another hole in the Bears forward lines as well as another scoring option. Hershey would have to move defenseman, Tyson Empey, to forward, away from his usual position at defenseman.

 

The Comets came into the contest after beating the Phantoms in Utica the previous night and traveled down to Hershey.  The two teams came out hard hitting as forwards, Tyson Empey and Will MacKinnon, had a fight just seconds after the opening faceoff.  Both the Comets and the Bears played a tight, playoff style of hockey, hard checking, defensive while both teams were careful to not make mistakes.  The fisticuffs did not stop after the first period as forwards, Dmitry Osipov and Colin Felix, had a fight after a boarding call.

 

On this night it was the Bears that made the mistake as Comets captain, Ryan Schmelzer, dug a puck out of the corner and fed a streaking, Robbie Russo, to break the tie, 1-0 with 9:15 to go in the third.  The Bears would get a late power play after a boarding call to Graeme Clarke, but could not find the back of the net.

 

The Comets would get the shutout against the chocolate and white and take the contest 1-0.  The Bears will have a rematch against the Utica Comets in Utica, NY on Friday March 15th.

 

Sunday afternoon Phantoms:

The Bears would take their last trip to the PPL Center on Sunday March 3rd to take on the Phantoms.  Hershey is 3-1-0-1 at the corner of 7th and Hamilton streets this season and look to rebound after their shutout loss the previous night.

 

Unfortunately, it was more of the same on Sunday, as the Bears had trouble generating offense getting only 11 shots on Phantoms goaltender, Cal Peterson, through two periods.  The Bears lack of shooters and several ECHL forwards filling in for Bears injuries.  Hershey is missing forwards, Mike Sgarbossa, Pierrick Dube, Ivan Miroshinchenko, Hendrix Lapierre, who are all in DC.  As well as forwards, Ethen Frank, and Riley Sutter, to injuries along with, Lucas Johansen, who is also injured.

 

With missing that much talent, it was hard to watch the Bears play their style without key contributors.  The Phantoms were also down several key players as well, making this game a clash of skeleton crews.  Both teams would head into a shootout and the Phantoms would get two goals from forwards, Jon-Randall Avon, and Wade Allison, as Hershey would only get one shootout goal from Kevin O’ Neil, as the Phantoms would take this contest, 1-0 in OT.

Even with the shootout loss, the Bears have not lost back-to-back games in regulation this season.  The Bears continue their march towards a 13th Calder Cup as their magic number is down to only 6 to automatically qualify for the playoffs.  The boys will travel down south this weekend to Charlotte, North Carolina to take on the Checkers, Friday, and Saturday night at Bojangles Coliseum. 

And yours truly will be there to watch it all, GO BEARS!

Bears Recap for 2/27/24

Hello Bears’ fans, it’s the end of February and where does the time go, the Bears are wrapping up a very road heavy month and here is your recap.

 

Wrapping up in Canada:

The Bears traveled to Laval, Quebec, Canada to not only wrap up a eastern Canada swing, but a five game road trip.  The Bears were still down some key players;  Mike Sgarbossa and Ethen Frank, to name a few, alas more news came from DC as forward, Pierrick Dube, was recalled to the Caps.  With little time to prep the boys went to Place Bell with a mess of forward lines, in hopes to salvage this game. However, the Rocket would get on the board first, as a clearing attempt on a penalty kill bounced off a Bear and right to former Hershey Bear forward, Philippe Maillet, for a power play goal.  The Rocket would not stop there as just under 3 minutes later forward, Jared Davidson, would get one past goalie, Hunter Shepard to make it 2-0.

 

Hershey would be outshot in the first 12-3, as the road travel may have been catching up to the boys.  The Bears would respond in the second period, with a power play goal of their own as forward, Ivan Miroshnichenko, would fire a slap shot like, Alex Ovechkin, to cut Laval’s lead in half, 2-1.  Early in the third, another Russian forward would tie the game as Bears forward, Bogdan Trineyev, would steal a puck on the fore-check and tie the game.  No more scoring would happen in the rest of the third and overtime, and we went to a shootout as Laval forward, Logan Mailloux, would get the only goal of the skills competition to win the game for the Rocket.  This would wrap up the Bears longest road trip of the season, as the boys went 3-1-0-1 in that spa, getting 8 out of 10 points, and still leading the AHL.

 

Friday Night Hockey:

The Bears return home early Thursday morning and will play again the following day as they welcome their rivals the WBS Baby Pens.  Wilkes-Barre has had some losses as well with many recalls from Pittsburgh and forward, Alex Nylander, was traded to Columbus for, Emil Bemstrom.  Hershey was still without their captain, Dylan McIlrath, for one more game, serving a two-game suspension.  Also, Hershey forward Hendrix Lapierre was recalled to the Capitals.

 

Both teams started sluggish as it was evident that both clubs were nowhere near the talent they had earlier in the season. Alas, the Baby Pens would get on the board first as Baby Pens forward, Johnathon Gruden, would corral a chip pass over 3 Bear defenders Gruden went in to score on a breakaway against Bears net minder, Clay Stevenson.  The Bears would answer as forward, Ryan Hofer, would get his third of the season, sliding a puck through the five hole of Pens goalie, Joel Blomqvist.  The two teams battle throughout the second and third period in a low shot, tight checking game with plenty of post whistle scrums. Hershey would get a late power play after a tripping call.  However, an uncalled boarding penalty against Hershey’s, Aaron Ness, was not called in that action and it caused a brouhaha behind the net. 

 

Hershey would make them pay as defenseman, Chase Priske, would rifle a slap shot past the WBS net minder to give Hershey the lead.  The Baby Pens would make things interesting as they got a power play of their own with less than 3 minutes to go and pulled the goalie for a 6 on 4, power play.  But the Bears would get 2 shorthanded empty net goals from forwards, Matt Strome and Bogdan Trineyev, to seal the game and get yet another victory over their I-81 rivals with a 4-1 final.

 

Hockey, Amerks and Beer! …

On Saturday February 24th the Hershey Bears celebrated FeBREWary at Giant Center with beer samplings and specialty jerseys.  For my thoughts on said event, check out the latest Grit and Bear It Podcast episode, available on all podcast platforms.

 

The Bears took on their oldest rivals, the Rochester Americans, or known as the Amerks for short, in front of a full and feisty crowd at Giant Center.  The first period was full of penalties for the Bears as they took five penalties in the opening period.  The Amerks would cash in on a late 5x3 power play as forward, Isak Rosen, would collect a rebound from Hunter Shepard for his 12th of the season.  In the second, the Bears would respond as forward, Bogdan Trineyev, would snipe one past goalie, Devon Levi, almost from the goal line to tie the game.

 

The train to the penalty box would continue for both teams as Rochester would receive the last 3 penalties of the game including one that carried over into overtime creating a 4 on 3-man advantage for Hershey.  In the extra frame, just as the Bears power play was expiring, Hershey forward, Alex Limoges, would slide a rebound past goalie, Devon Levi, and win the game for the Bears!  It would be Alex’s 15th of the season and the game winner for the former Nittany Lion hockey player. 

 

Hershey would finish the month of February: 6-2-0-1 and still lead the AHL with 85 points.

 

Hershey’s magic number to clinch a playoff spot is 13 more wins as of this article, but it might be a little too soon to talk about that.  

See you all at Giant Center, GO BEARS!

Bears Recap for 2/20/24

Hello Bears Nation, we are in the dog days of the hockey season and the Bears are in the middle of their annual Canadian road trip.  So, let’s get to it.

 

Choco dusted in Toronto:

The Bears made their only trip to the Coke-Cola Coliseum this season, playoffs permitting, to take on the Toronto Marlies.  Hershey was without forwards, Mike Sgarbossa, (still up in DC) and, Ethan Frank, due to a injury, however he did make the trip and is progressing in his recovery.  Also, on Thursday February 15, forward Matthew Phillips, was put on waivers as the Capitals roster got Sonny Milano, back.  However, the Pittsburgh Penguins claimed the young forward.   There is a path that he could come back to Hershey.  Alas that is for another time.

 

The first period was rather tame for these two teams as each club was unsuccessful on the power play and shot totals were low at 8-6.  The Bears should have been the fresher of the two teams as they did not play for a week and Toronto played on Wednesday February 14th. 

 

In the second period, hometown forward, Matt Strome, found a pass from Henrik Rybinski, to give Hershey a 1-0 lead.  It was his 3rd of the season and first goal against a team not named the Phantoms.  Early in the third period, the Bears would score on their 7th powerplay of the game as Alex Limoges would find a loose puck after a blocked shot and rifle it home.  It was Alex’s 14th of the season and the Bears seemed to have the game in hand.

 

However, the Marlies would get two quick goals from forward (and former Baby Penguin), Joseph Blandsi, and Dylan Gambrell to tie the game.  In overtime, the two teams played 3 on 3 like a Jenga tower, careful not to make a mistake leading to odd-man rushes.  Toronto would cause the tower to collapse as Garrett Row snuck a puck past Toronto goaltender, Luke Cavallin, to win the game.  A few Marlies players thought Roe was offsides entering the zone, but the goal was not reviewed, and Hershey escaped Toronto.

 

Head Coach, Todd Nelson, was not too thrilled about his team’s performance on Saturday, calling it one of the worst games he has seen in his time in Hershey.  While his team got the win in OT, there was a lengthy and heavy practice after said game.  This is from Bears Hockey Nation blogger, Corey Swartz. 

 

Monday Senate Meeting:

The Hershey Bears were back at it on a rare Monday afternoon game as it was Family Day in Canada.  The Bears responded to their Head Coach and his comments in the very next game vs. the Belleville Senators by getting a 3-0 lead.  Hendrix Lapierre scored three goals three different ways: a even strength, a powerplay and a shorthanded goal.  The Senators would respond as forward, Matthew Highmore, would get the B-Sens on the board.  Belleville also turn up the pressure and out shot Hershey 9-6 in the second period, but the Bears still held a 3-1 lead.

 

In the third period, Hershey would get some insurance as, Chase Priske, who would get a power play goal to extend Hershey’s led to 4-1.  However, Hershey Captain, Dylan McIlrath, jumped into an altercation and knocked out a Senator player with his first and only punch and the Senators would get a 5-minute power play.  Belleville would get one on the five-minute man advantage as forward, Zack Ostapchuk, would find the net to make it 4-2.  But Hershey would clamp down defensively and not let Belleville back into the game and sealed the victory at 4-2 Bears.

 

Hershey is undefeated in regulation at the CAA Arena since the Belleville senators were formed in 2017/18.  Hershey will wrap up their Canadian road trip on Wednesday February 21 at Bell Place to take on the Le Rockets de Laval, (Laval Rockets).  The Bears will return home this weekend after being away for three weeks to take on the WBS Baby Pens this  Friday February 23rd and at home again on the 24th to take on their oldest rivals, the Rochester Americans.

See you at Giant Center, Go Bears!

Bears Recap 2/14/24

 

The Bears are back from a few days off after the All-Star Classic in San Jose, California.  We now enter the dog days of the hockey season, and it is time to grind for the boys of Hershey.

 

Bear down in Providence:

Hershey traveled to Rhode Island this past Friday to finish the road portion of their season series with the P-Bruins.  However, before the trip, the Washington Capitals recalled center, Mike Sgarbossa, to the big club.  This left the Bears without their assist’s leader.  Also, before said game, the Bears found out forward, Bogdan Trineyev, would be suspended for one game for a high-sticking incident.

 

The Amica Mutual Pavilion, formerly known as the Dunkin’ Donuts Center, has not been friendly to the Bears over the past few seasons.  Overall Hershey is just 8-11-1-2 against the Bruins over the past five seasons.  This game played out like a typical Providence game with low shot totals, broken plays and stellar goaltending.  Providence goaltender, Brandon Bussi, had an 8 game winning streak heading into the contest against Hershey goaltender, Hunter Shepard.

 

Hershey would finally get on the board in the third period as, Joe Snively, scored after a nice feed from, Hendrix Lapierre, it was Joe’s 10th goal of the campaign. However, the lead was temporary as Providence got a lucky bounce as a shot bounced off the glass and right in front of goaltender, Hunter Shepard.  Forward Brett Harrison would put the puck in the net to tie the game which was his 5th goal of the year.

 

Hershey would take the lead back in the closing minutes of the third period, as Alex Limoges, cleaned up a rebound in front of Bruin goalie, Brandon Bussi, to give Hershey the lead for good!  It was Alex’s 12th  goal of the season and third straight game with a goal.  Providence would make a rare mistake as they scored on themselves with their goalie pulled for the extra attacker.  Aaron Ness, was the last Bear to touch the puck and was awarded the goal for his third this season and Bears won it 3-1 for a road sweep of Providence.  On a sad note, Hershey’s victory came with a price as, Ethen Frank, appeared to have gotten injured after crashing into the Bruins net during the first period and he left the ice unable to put weight on his right leg.  Ethen tried to skate in the 2nd period warm-ups, but he had to immediately return to the locker room for the rest of the match.   

 

Things that make you go D’oh in Springfield:

Hershey then traveled to Springfield, Mass to take on the Springfield Ice-O-Topes, this is the one night a year where the Thunderbirds take on a Simpsons themed night.  A “Sold out” MassMutual Center and a lively crowd served up a tough task for the boys without their two biggest scoring guns.  Hershey would get on the board first with a, Garrett Roe, shot that beat goaltender, Malcom Subban, for Roe’s sixth of the season.  Hershey’s lead was short-lived as forward Zachary Bolduc, deflected a point shot to tie the game at 1-1. 

 

In the second period things began to fall apart for the Bears as forward, Keean Washkurak, fooled goaltender, Clay Stevenson, with a low turnaround shot to give Springfield the lead, 2-1.  Then, less than two minutes later, Adam Gaudette would bank a shot off Clay’s shoulder during a four-on-two rush to extend Springfield’s lead.  Things got worse for Hershey as a defensive miscue from Captain, Dylan McIlrath, and Goalie, Clay Stevenson, left a puck right in front of said goalie when, Hugh McGing, swopped in and slapped it past Stevenson.  Springfield led 4-1 and had everything coming up Millhouse.  Hershey Defenseman, Jake Massie, would make things interesting with a shorthanded goal bringing the score to 4-2.

 

In the third period, Hershey threw everything they had at goalie, Malcom Subban, generating 9 shots on goal and dominated play in the Springfield zone.  However, it was all for not, as, Will Bitten, got behind the Bears defense and scored on a breakaway giving Springfield a three-goal lead at 5-2.  Hershey would get a PPG from, Alex Limoges, to once again make it a two-goal game but the Ice-O-Topes would get an empty net goal and make the final score 6-3.

 

Hershey would split the first weekend of this five-game road trip going 1-1, as they set their sights on the great white north, to begin a 3 game swing in Canada.  Saturday February 17th in Toronto at 4pm … Monday February 19 in Belleville at 2pm and Wednesday February 21 in Laval at 7pm.

 

After that Canadian road swing, Hershey returns to Giant Center after being away for three weeks to face the WBS Baby Pens on Friday February 23 at 7pm.  See you all at Giant Center and Go Bears!

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Bears Recap at All Star Break 2/6/24

 

Hi everyone, it’s All-Star Break, as the boys get a well-deserved few days rest for some and a week off for others.  So here is a quick recap of last weekend’s action.  On 1/31 - Win at Phantoms 4-1  …  2/2 - Loss at Phantoms 4-1  …  2/3 - Win vs Bridgeport 4-0

 

Hershey enters the break at 36-8-0-2 for 74 points and first place in the AHL, but this week we are going to give out some awards for the first half of the season. 

 

“The Frank Mathers Best Bear Award” (MVP) … The nominees are:  Goaltender Clay Stevenson, Pierrick Dube, Mike Sgarbossa and Ethen Frank.  … And the winner is:  Clay Stevenson

 

When you set the rookie record for shutouts in a season as a Hershey Bear, you are the MVP and that goes to goalie Clay Stevenson.  With a Goals against average (GAA) of 1.79 and a save percentage of .935, Clay Stevenson, has been another gem that the Bears keep finding.  Clay’s solid play has been the rock that this team has built on during this incredible run. While Hershey may have scoring depth, it’s the goalies that will carry this team to another Cup!

 

“The John Albert Melted Bar Award” (Team LVP)  … The nominees are:  NO ONE!

 

This Bears team is so good and deep that no one has had a bad or negative game that has stood out.  Sure, a Bear may have an off night here and there, what player doesn’t; in the end this is an incredible team that has a chance at greatness with no real flaws.

 

“The Ryan Bourque Unsung Hero Award” … The nominees are:  Jimmy Huntington, Aaron Ness, Garrett Roe and Riley Sutter.  … And the winner is:  Garrett Roe

 

Honestly, I could have given it to anyone as each of these guys are more than capable of being Unsung Hero as they are all worthy of the name.  However, I must give a slight edge to Garrett Roe, the savvy veteran who has captured the hearts and minds of Bears fans with his selfless play.  Garrett has been a excellent middle six addition and is more than willing to roll with the lineup changes, whether he is flanked by Miro, Riley or Huntington he does it all, penalty kill and even some power play time.

 

“The Best Bears Moment Award” … The nominees are:  The Return of the Teddy Bear Toss Goal, Garrett Roe Hat Trick, and the Cal Peterson 200 ft goal.  … And the winner is: Garrett Roe Hat trick

 

While it is easy to give the award to the TBT goal by Bogdan Trineyev, I feel like the Garrett Roe hat trick was a greater feat.  On December 16, 2023, the Hershey Bears dominated the Laval Rocket as Garrett Roe scored the first two goals and the last goal to give him the hat trick.  Given all of Roe’s history since coming back from a tour in Europe, his mother’s battle with cancer and more, this was a heartwarming hat trick before the holidays. 

 

“The Chris Conner Award for Worst Pest” … The nominees are:  Joel Blomqvist and Jakub Vrana.  … And the winner is:  Joel Blomqvist

 

It was hard to find a pest as Hershey won the majority of their games and didn’t really have a, Lex Luthor, to challenge our Supermen.  The closest I could think of was the baby pens goalie, Joel Blomqvist.  It seems he is always in net versus the Bears and tends to have good games against Hershey, except for the 7-5 game.  Joel was the All-Star choice for the Baby Pens for a reason; he is a reliable backstop for WBS.

 

And that will do it for the first half-ish awards for this Bears fan, now some predictions for the second half.

Hershey will win the Atlantic Division and get home ice through most of the playoffs.  Having the top record in the AHL is hard as a short slump for the boys will happen sooner rather than later.  Providence should take second as long as their goaltending holds with Brandon Bussi, who found his form over the holidays. 

Here are my predictions for the 2024 playoff round participants:  The Hartford Wolf Pack, WBS Baby Pens, Springfield Thunderbirds and I think the Philadelphia Phantoms will squeak by with the last few games of the season over Charlotte.  The Checkers will just miss the playoffs and Bridgeport is on their own island of misery and defeat.  … GO BEARS! 

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Bears Recap 1/30/2024

Greetings Bears fans, we are in the dog days of the season according to Head Coach, Todd Nelson.  However, that doesn’t mean we are not still roaring for another banner! Hershey had a home sandwich this week, home-away-home, so let’s see how the boys did.

 

This past Wednesday, January 24th, the Bears took on the Springfield Thunderbirds for the last time at Giant Center, playoffs permitting.  It would take almost halfway through the game until the Bears found the back of the net as forward, Mike Vecchione, scored his 11th goal of the season, waiting out goaltender Malcom Subban and firing a shot low blocker side.

 

Hershey would tack on another goal as forward, Jimmy Huntington, would join a 3 on 2 rush and fire a laser shot past goalie Subban’s glove to make it 2-0.  Huntington, the former Tampa Bay Lightning forward, would get his 8th of the campaign; however, Springfield would answer as Mathias Laferriere, would cut the lead to one with 7:24 to play.  The Bears would bend, but not break as they would get 2 empty net goals from Ethen Frank, and Pierrick Dube, and that would seal the deal for the chocolate and white.  Hershey has a 3-0 record against the Thunderbirds and will face them again in Springfield on February 10th.

 

Battle of I-81, Round 9 …

On Saturday January 27th, Hershey traveled up to Wilkes Barre to take on the Baby Pens for the first time in over a month.  This game was WBS’s cross-check cancer night, which is their own version of Hockey Fights Cancer.  This drew a larger than normal crowd to Mohegan Sun Arena.  The Baby Pens would strike early in the first as Radim Zohorna would slide a puck under Hershey goaltender, Clay Stevenson, to give Wilkes a 1-0 lead.  Hershey would answer back as Ethen Frank clanged a puck off the cross bar and down for the tying goal, it was his 19th of the year and we went to the intermission tied at 1-1.

 

In the second period, Hershey would take the lead on the man advantage as, Pierrick Dube, would sneak a puck past goaltender, Joel Blomqvist, to make it 2-1.  It was his team leading, 22nd goal of the season as Pierrick ,sits second in scoring in the AHL.  However, Wilkes-Bare would tie the game with a Power Play Goal of their own as Vinnie Hinostroza, was left alone in the lower circle and scored.

 

In the third, Ethen Frank would give Hershey the lead as he joined a 3-on-2 rush to score his 20th goal of the season.  However, late in the third, forward, Mike Vecchione, would take 2 penalties on the same play, slashing and high sticking, to give the Baby Pens a 4-minute power play with 3:01 remaining.  Wilkes-Barre thought they tied it with 5 seconds to go as Sam Poulin deflected a puck out of mid-air past goalie Clay Stevenson.  But the referees gathered at center ice and waved off the goal due to the puck being deflected from above the cross bar.  After much fanfare from the 8,000 in attendance, Hershey ended up skating off to victory over their rivals.

 

Hall of Fame Night …

On, Sunday January 28th, it was Hall of Fame Night as the Bears honored the recent HOIF class, Bruce Cline, Tony Cassloato, Mark Lofthouse and very long-time sports reporter, Don Scott.  Hershey also welcomed their final Canadian opponent, the Toronto Marlies.  Hershey would get on the board early in the first as Defenseman, Chase Priske, fired one past Toronto’s goaltender, Dennis Hildeby.  Only seconds later, Toronto would answer right back as, Captain Logan’s, shot would tie the game. 

 

In the second period Bears forward, Jimmy Huntington, would fire a laser past the big blue goalie, Dennis Hildeby, to give Hershey the lead.  It was Huntington’s 9th of the season.  However, midway through the third, Toronto would score 2 quick goals to reclaim the lead with goals by Marlie forwards, Joseph Blandisi and Kieffer Bellows, to make it 3-2.  Hershey would press for the tying goal late into the third period and pull goaltender, Hunter Shepard, for the extra attacker.  The Bears would tie the game with seconds to spare as Ivan Miroshnichenko would find, Jimmy Huntington, in front for the tip-in and Giant Center erupted. 

 

The Bears went into overtime fairly confident as they are 5-0 in the extra frame this season.  Both teams play the slow pace, waiting for shot chances and puck possession.  Hershey would get one last chance at the end of overtime as Chase Priskie would lead one last charge up the ice and he left a drop pass for Hershey forward, Joe Snively, who whistled the puck past Hildeby for the win!  Hershey would clean sweep the weekend, winning three for three, and the Bears continue to keep the best record in the AHL at (34-7-0-2) ... 70 points

 

Hershey will travel to Allentown to take on the Phantoms in back-to-back matches on, Wednesday January 31st, and Friday February 2nd.  Hershey then heads back to Giant Center for a Saturday night home game where they will battle the Bridgeport Islanders at 7pm.  That will be  the Bears last game prior to the American Hockey League (AHL) All-Star Break in San Jose, CA

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Bears Recap for 1/23

 

We are halfway through the hockey season, and the Hershey Bears are still seeking the 13th Calder Cup as we head towards the All-Star Break in a few weeks.

 

This past Friday, Hershey traveled to Hartford to take on the Wolf Pack at the XL Center, formerly known as the Civic Center.  In the pregame interview, Coach Todd Nelson, challenged the top lines to get involved more on the score sheet.  The Bears were a few men down as, Alex Limoges, was still out with an Upper Body injury and Garrett Roe was a late scratch as, Dmitry Osipov, would replace him.

 

Hartford would get an early lead as, Jake Leschyshyn, got one past Hershey goalie, Hunter Shepard, it was his fourth of the season and his third against the Bears.  Hershey would end up tying when, Pierrick Dube, ripped one past Hartford’s, Louie Domingue, to get his 20th of the campaign, snapping a cold streak for the sniper.

 

Hershey’s injury bug would continue as, Matt Strome, did not return in the 2nd period, leaving the Bears bench a bit thin.  Hershey would continue the great special teams play as, Mike Vecchione, deflected a, Joe Snively, shot from the point to give Hershey a 2-1 lead.  Mike Sgarbossa, received the secondary assist bringing his total to 30 helpers so far this season.  Vecchione’s deflection brings him his 10th goal on the season.

 

In the 3rd period, Hershey would extend their lead when, Aaron Ness, got his second goal this year with a top shelf laser that got passed Domingue.  Ethen Frank, would get an empty netter for his 16th and Hartford would score at the horn for a garbage goal making the final score 4-2 Hershey.  Coach Nelson, felt this was an emotional game for the boys and he was right as each team got a win at each others barn.  This win gave the Bears four out of six points during the road trip (1-0-2).

 

Hershey would then return home to Giant Center to face their I-81 rivals, WBS Baby Penguins.  Hershey had a tall task ahead of them as injuries and a quick turnaround were needed, due to a five hour bus trip home from Connecticut. 

 

Hershey decided to recall two players from South Carolina for the game against the Pens which included Stingrays, Tyson Empey, who saw some ice time while, Kevin O’Neil, sat patiently by with fresh legs in case he was needed.  Coach Nelson, gave Captain, Dylan McIlwraith, the night off by inserting, Jake Massie, to take over defensive duties.     

 

Wilkes had the advantage of not playing the night before and it showed as they had an extra jump in their step.  Hershey was able to weather the storm as both teams tried to pepper each others goalie.

 

In the second period, Hershey would get a five on three power play and, Coach Nelson, used his timeout to set up that power play.  The timeout to prepare paid off as, Ethen Frank, would score on a backhand past Baby Pens net minder, Joel Blumqvist, to give the Bears a 1-0 lead.

 

The Baby Pens put 28 shots on Hershey’s, Clay Stevenson, but none got by him as Hershey took the contest 1-0.  This was Stevenson’s sixth shutout, which broke the record for most shutouts by a Bears goalie during their Rookie season.  The record was previously held by, Vitek Vanacek, and Ron Hextall.

 

Coach Nelson commented that it was a hard watch for him, and an ugly game, but the boys found a way to get the win.  Nelson, felt they were making tired mistakes and not making enough passes in the neutral zone to set up offensive plays.  The Bears will be at Giant Center on Wednesday, January 24th to take on the Springfield Thunderbirds … and then on the road again to pair up with the WBS Baby Pens for the second time in one week.  And finally, Hershey heads back to Giant Center on Sunday, January 28th for a five o’clock game with the Toronto Marlies.

 

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Bears Recap for 1/18
Hi everyone, I am back from Illness to bring you more Hershey Bears coverage, here is a quick recap of the weekend I was out.
1/3 W vs Charlotte 4-1
1/6 L vs Hartford 5-3
1/7 W vs Phantoms 3-2 in OT, which was the annual Teddy Bear toss game. Bogden Trieneyev had the Teddy Bear Goal in the 2 nd period, which caused over 70,000 stuffed animals to be thrown onto the ice. Truly a great sight!


The Bears were on the road this past weekend as they traveled to Allentown at the corner of 7 th and Hamilton to take on the Lehigh Valley Phantoms. Hershey was 5-1 against the orange and black this season with 2 shutouts by Clay Stevenson. Your goalies would be Hunter Shepard vs Cal Peterson.


Hershey would get the first strike as Henrik Rybinski would use a highlight reel move to get past a defender and put it on past Cal Peterson. IT was his 3 rd of the season, and the Bears were off and running, only to have the Phantoms tie the game on the Powerplay as tanner Laczynski would find a wide-open Olie Lycksell to even it up on the powerplay. Not to be outdone a few minutes later, Ivan Miroshnichenko would drop pass to Garrett Roe who blasted a laser shot past Cal to give Hershey a 2-1 lead. Garrett Row got his
5th of the season, and the Bears would tack on another has Ethen Frank on the powerplay fired a shot from Ovi’s office to make it 3-1!

 

For most of the season, Hershey was in a familiar spot, a multiple goal lead and confident they could get another win against their I-78 rivals. However, the Phantoms would get one back later in the period as Samu Tuomallla (Phantoms All Star Selection) would beat Hunter Shepard to make it a one goal game.
 

The goalies took over in the second as both Cal and Hunter made spectacular save after save to outduel each other. The Phantoms would tie it midway through the third as Ronnie Atturd would get one past the goalie. The game would stay tied into Overtime where Hershey would get a brief 4x3 Powerplay, but could not find the back of the net, So we went to a shootout to decide the winner, in the 4 th round Jon Randall Avon would get one past Hunter and Coach Nelson sent Matt Strome……uh, okay, to try and win it, but he would get iron and the Phantoms came back to win. It was Lehigh’s second win against Hershey this season making them 2-5 against the Chocolate and White and we won’t see LVP again until the end of the month. Hershey would get a day off and travel to western Connecticut to take on the Bridgeport Islanders in a rare Monday afternoon game for the Bears. This was matinee hockey for MLK Day, much of hockey had day games on MLK day.
 

The Bears and Islanders met up for the fifth time this season, with Hersey going 4-0 against the blue and orange. Your goalies were Clay Stevenson vs H. Tikkanen. This was a very frustrating game to watch as Bridgeport played a very tough, neutral zone clogging, defensive type of game. Hershey could not find their game as passes were broken up, shots were blocked, even simple breakout passes weren’t finding sticks and getting broken up at center ice. Though 2 periods Hershey lead in shots 19- 14, but both goalies stood firm keeping zeros on the board.
 

Bridgeport would break the ice in the third as Ruslan Iskhakov would sneak past Clay to make it 1-0, the Islanders seem content with sitting on this one goal lead. In fact, over 20 of their games were one goal games this season, so Bridgeport knows how to play in close games, even if they do no get the win. Late in the third, Hershey would tie the game as Chase Priske would blast one past Tikkanen to tie the game. It was Chase’s third of the season and a desperately needed goal as Hershey was in danger of getting shutout. The Bears would once again need extra time to settle this, but neither team would score in 3x3 OT, and we were going again to a shootout. Hersey would go first as Miro would SCORE to put Hershey up, but William Dufuor would score as well. In round 2, Joe Snively would find the back of the net to put Hershey up again, but Bridgeport counter as Ruslan Ishakov would get one as well.
 

Neither team found the net in Round 3, into Round 4 Pierrick Dube would shoot high and wide of the goal. Bridgeport sent Matthew Maggio to face Clay, who would get a piece of the puck, but it trickled in and Bridgeport won in the shootout. While Hershey would not get a win on the weekend, they would get 2 out of 4 points and still have a big lead in the Atlantic division. The Bears are in a bit of a slump since the calendar flipped going 2-0-2, but losing 3 out of their last 4, while the All-Star Break is coming in a few weeks, it’s time to dig deep. Hershey has a lot of road games as we pass the halfway point of the season and will need everyone on board to stay atop the standings. A cooling off from a hot first half is expected, and the Bears will just have to Bear It.


See you at Giant Center, Go Bears!

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Bears Recap1/2

Happy New Year one and all as we look to another year of Hershey Bears Hockey, the calendar year has flipped but we are in full swing of the regular season.

After a few days off the Bears were back at it on a Wednesday night to take on the Wilkes Barre/ Scarton Baby Pens, it’s a Wednesday so it’s WBS day.

Your goalies were Hunter Shepard and Magnus Hellberg

Both teams came out a bit slow, since neither practiced over the holiday break, as both amassed only 5 shots on goal, however WBS had a better jump than Hershey.  They were determined to get the first goal as they knew they were facing a better team, and when faces such a good team you cannot make any mistakes.

The Pens would when a backhand clearing attempt was caught by Alex Limoges, who stole, sniped and scored on Hellberg, it was his 9th goal of the season and unassisted.  For WBS it was a harsh blow after putting shots on Hunter, even ringing the cross bar.

In the Second, Hershey would find their speed game as Joe Snively would dig the puck out of the corner and find a wide-open Ethan Frank for the goal, Ethan had his 14th and Sgarbossa picked up his 25th assist, as WBS turned to the one thing that can beat speed and skill: Brute Force!

Corey Andonovski would blast Alez Limoges into the boards, a bd hit in any league or generation, that caused a brawl between him and Pierrick Dube who stood up for his bloody teammate. Corey would get a 5-minute penalty, 10 misconduct and a BYEEEE from the Bears faithful.

The Bears would make them pay as WBS took a penalty in the 4x4 play, and Joe Snively would fire a missile to the top corner on Hellburg to give the Bears 3-0 lead.   WBS would answer in the third with a 4 on 1 rush after Captain Dylan McIllrath tripped on a line change to make things interesting as Austin Rueschhoff got the goal.

Hershey was able to withstand the late push from WBS and as WBS pulled their goalie for a extra attacker, Aaron Ness would black a shot, Jimmy Huntington would collect the puck, Alex Limoges WITH NO STICK kicks the puck out of the zone and Dube would get the empty netter for his team leading 17 goal.

Bears win it 4-1 the final and go to 6-2 against their 81 rivals, and get their 6th straight win as they went into a travel heavy weekend.

 

Hershey would travel Friday to upstate New York to take on the Rochester Americans, or Amerks depending on who you ask, last time we played them was back in May, Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals and a 1-0 shutout that sealed a trip to the Calder Cup Finals.

Your goalies were Clay Stevenson and Devin Cooley, a different matchup from Hunter and Subban back in late May, Hershey would get on the board early with a laser from Lucas to make it 1-0.

It was Lucas first goal this season after spending most of the campaign in DC, Riley Sutter and Henrik Rybinski would get the assists.

However, in the second, Clay Stevenson would play a puck just inside the trapezoid and after some confusion Linus Weissbach was left all alone to slam home the puck and tie the game.  Hershey would answer though on the Power Play as a nice feed from Ethan Frank would find Mike Sgarbossa who would score on the PP then assist on a goal. It was his 6th this year to go along with his 26 assists to lead the team in points.

Rochester would answer in the third with a PPG of their own to tie the game again as Tyson Jost would get the tying goal.  Both teams played as if it was May hockey, tight D zone play, attacking and counter attacking, knowing one mistake could break the tie.

That would be the case as Garrett Row stole a puck at the blue line and lead a rush to find Mike Vecchione in the slot and bury the puck to make it 3-2.  It was Mike’s 8th goal of the year, while he may always be on the scorecard, he is there when it counts.

Bogdan Trineyev would get a empty netter to seals the road win, 4-2 the final and seven straight for the Bears who had a long night of travel ahead.

 

Saturday Night saw the Bears in Allentown to the PPL Center to take on their 78 rivals the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, it’s been a hot minute since these two played at Hershey before the Xmas break.

The Phantoms would come out flying being the fresher team as Hershey traveled from Rochester the previous night and LV did not play at all.  The Phantom went after Clay Stevenson firing at him from all angles, Hershey could get no offense zone time as every dump in was collected by the Phantoms.  A chip in would be caught by a Phantoms defender and the Bears skaters were given no room to work, thankfully the Phantoms were kept off the board thanks to Clay.

In the second the game would take a weird turn as Lucas Johnson cleared the puck out fo the Hershey zone, the puck hit a stick and flew into the air where all players lost sight of it, including Cal Peterson as the puck landing in his crease, between his legs and into the goal!

It was the Bears fifth shot on goal and it gave them the lead as Lucas got his 2nd goal and Logan Day was given an assist, you could hear a pin drop at the PPL Center after that.  The Phantoms tried to respond but Clay was up to the task stopping all 22 shots heading into the third.

In the third period, Hershey would find their game as they start getting more offensive zone time and get sustained pressure on Cal Peterson, as another bounce would go Hershey’s way as a Iorio shot would bounce off the boards, off of Cal and Matt Strome would bat the puck out of the air and into the net.

It was Matt Strome’s first of the season and against his old club, to make it 2-0, Hersey would get another from Strome as he knocked in a scramble in front of Cal to make it 3-0.

In a game of odd turns, Jack Massie would strip a Phantoms forward and get a breakaway, Jack would rifle a shot on Peterson as they goalie got a piece of it, but not enough to stop it from going in to make it 4-0.  It was Massie’s first of the season and that was enough to win and sweep the weekend.

It was Hershey’s league leading 27th win as this train keeps chugging along into 2024, the Bears are at the top of the AHL with 54 points, 16 more points than the Providence Bruins.  Pierrick Dube is 2nd in the AHL in Goals, as of time of this article Mike Sgarbossa is tied for 1st in assists for the AHL and 4th in total points in the AHL.  This team is humming along and has a trio of home games including the Teddy Bear Toss on Sunday at 3pm weather permitting.

That’s my Opinion GO BEARS!

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Bears Recap for 12/26

 

Happy Post Holiday, hope all of you enjoy this 2023 holiday season, but the hockey train rolls on and the Hershey Bears still continue their pursuit of the 13th Calder Cup.

On Friday the Bears traveled to Western Massachusetts to take on the Springfield Thunderbirds in a rematch of their 1-0 tilt on the 18th.  The Bears had some callups to work through as Hendrix Lapierre, Ivan Miroshnichenko and Mike Sgarbossa all got sent to DC earlier in the week before the holiday roster freeze on the 23rd.

Although Mike Sgarbossa was sent back to Hersey on Friday the 22nd, he was not able to join the team in time for said game.  Hershey would send Hunter Shepard in net as Springfield sent out Blues goalie prospect Zherenko a 7th round pick in 2022. 

The Bears came out fast and furious putting the games first 5 shots on Zherenkko and skating circles around the T-Birds, passes were clean and connecting and space opened for the boys.  Pierrick Dube would get the game’s first goal as he fired a top corner laser past Z to make it 1-0.

It’s his team leading 15th of the season and enough to put him in the top 5 in scoring the AHL.

Hershey would not stop there as recently sent down Lucas Johanson would fire a blue line shot that Jimmy Huntington would deflect into the net for a Power Play Goal to make it 2-0 Hershey!

That was Jimmy6th goal of the season and Lucas’s first point ack with the Bears this season.

After the first Hershey was up on shots 15-8, but that did not consider the fact that Hershey dominated in all play, puck possession, faceoffs and overall gameplay.  If Hershey can play like that all the time, like Hunter said, no one in the AHL can stand in our way!

In the beginning of the second we would have a (in the words of Steve Dangle) “If you are a Goaltender, Tend the Goal” moment as Zherenko went to play a puck off some lively boards.  Joe Snively went in to retrieve the puck and Zherenko sent the puck to no one, and Ethen Frank picked the puck up and fired it into the net to make it 3-0!

IT was Ethen 13 of the campaign and Snively’s 15th assist, and after that, it seemed like the Bears had this game, they generated more high-risk chances on Zherenko, so much so that the game should have been 6-0. 

However, Springfield clawed back as Joesph Duszek and former Bear Jakub Vrana would get 2 goals to make it 3-2 late in the 2nd.  Hershey would head into the locker room up by just one, but it felt like Hershey should have been leading by more.

But, early in the third, the T-Birds tied it on a Zach Dean knuckler that fooled Hunter and made it 3-3, Springfield had come back from 3 down and being out played for most of the 2 periods. Both teams would go to overtime, and this would be the period Springfield would dominate as they held the puck for most of, if not almost all of the OT.

Hunter made some key saves including a poke check on a streaking Vrana, Hunter made only 3 saves on 3 shots but it felt like 20 in just 5 minutes and the two teams went into a shootout.

Springfield went first as Ryan Suzuki failed to score as did Alex Limoges for the Bears, Jakub Vrana would out deke and wait out Hunter but rang the crossbar to keep the shootout at 0.

Pierrick Dube would rifle a shot past Zherenko to make it 1-0, as Adam Gauette came over the boards for the T-Birds, he would shoot the puck wide, and Hershey would get the extra point in the SO and win!

 

Hershey would return home on Saturday to face the Providence Bruins just before the holidays as Mike Sgarbossa reentered the lineup and Clay Stevenson would be in net for Hershey.

However, in net for Providence was not Brandon Bussi, but Micheal DiPiertro, that’s right, its Rick’s DiPietro son, the infamous Islanders goalie!

Hershey would come out flying again as they have most of the season, putting 9 shots on Michael matching the 2-period total of the previous matchup.  Halfway through the first Vincent Iorio would whistle a blue line shot that beat Micheal and give Hershey the lead.

It was his 4th of the season and second against the P-Bruins, fitting that Vinny gets the last goal against the Bruins and the first one of this game.

However, in the second the Bruins would answer as Vincent Arseneau would lift a puck over Clay to tie the game, this was the Providence team I was used to, always having an answer for us.

The Bears would answer with a goal from a unlikely source as Captain Dylan McIllrath would net 2 goals in under 3 minutes to give Hershey a 3-1 lead, Dylan did not a goal in the whole 22/23 regular season, not has 3 for this year.

Providence would tack on another as Anthony Richard would find a loose puck to make it 3-2, in the third period, Hershey would get one back as Pierrick Dube would throw a puck that would bounce around and find the back of the net!

It was Dube’s 16th goal of the season, matching his total from last year and tying him for the AHL lead, But Dube would get into penalty trouble.  Dube would go off for boarding and while arguing the call got another two minutes for mouthing to the officials.  This gave Providence a 4 minute Power Play with 6 minutes to go, as we watched Hershey kill the penalty, we waited for DiPietro to get pulled to make it a 6x4, but for some reason Coach Ryan Mougenel did not until 90 seconds left in the game and after the penalty was killed off.

Riley Walsh would find a rebound and blast it into the back of the net to make it 4-3 with 44.8 seconds left to make things interesting, but Hershey held on and took both games of the weekend!

Hershey win gave them 24 wins at the 30-game mark good for 48 points that leads the AHL and the division by 13 points now.  While it is early, this is an incredible start for the Bears!

Hershey has a few days off until Wednesday as WBS comes back to Hershey for the first time in a month for another Wednesday night tilt.  The Bears will hit the road this weekend, traveling to Rochester New York to face the Americans for the first time since the Eastern Conference Finals.  Then it’s off to Allentown to take on the Phantoms on Saturday.

That’s my opinion GO BEARS!

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Bears Recap for 12/19

The Bears were back at it in a weekend home set, finishing up a five-game homestead, seeing Hershey take on The Laval Rocket, farm club of the Montreal Canadians.  On Sunday, the Springfield Thunderbirds would come in with 2 former Bears returning to Giant Center.

 

Saturday was Hunter Shepard Bobblehead night at Giant Center as fans stormed door opening to get one of 5,000 bobbleheads, spoiler alert, I did get one.  Over 9,000 Bears packed Giant Center to see the Bears take on a Canadian team, which means double anthem night!

Hershey would have some injury issues as Mike Vecchione was still out and Joe Snively unavailable due to a callup from the Capitals.

 

Hershey came out of the puck drop flying, as Hendrix Lapierre would lead a 2x1 breakaway with Garret Roe, Roe passed to Lappy, then Lappy back to Roe who batted the puck past Strass Mann to score his first goal as a Bear.  Many fans, I included, wanted Roe to get a goal as he seems to be one of the veterans that wants to help these kids come along.

Roe got his first, with assists to Lapierre and Logan Day, Hershey would not stop there as Roe would get another one as Aaron Ness threw a puck in front of Mann leading to a big net scramble.  The puck bounced around, both Roe and Miro poked at the puck, and it finally went in as the Bears went up 2-0 and Mann whined for Interference.

Hershey had 9 shots on goal less than 10 minutes into the game and two of them went into the net, as the game settled down a bit, the scoring chances for Hershey would not.  The Bears lead in shots 12-5 as Hershey got a late powerplay, Hershey got set up and Lapierre would find a wide-open Ivan Miroshnichenko to put the Bears up 3-0.  Miro had all day to put the net in net, he could have checked the weather, scrolled X and then shot the puck and still scored!

 

On the Second period, Strauss Mann still stayed in net and Hershey continued to toy with their prey, Hershey had chance after chance on the Rocket who looked like a tired team. Chase Priske would throw a shot from the blue line to the net and Riley Sutter was there to catch the rebound and make it 4-0. 

Laval would get one on the board as William Trudeau would shoot from the FOX43 ad on the Giant Center board and it somehow got past Hunter to put Laval on the board.  While the shutout was ruined, Hershey was still up on 24-11 after two.

The Third period saw Laval get a early power play and for a brief two minutes, we thought if Laval got a goal here, things would get interesting.  Sadly, for Laval they did not, and Alex Limoges would get 2 goals to put this game even more out of reach at 6-1.

Hershey would get one last powerplay at the 18:29 mark of the 3rd and Coach Todd Nelson put out the 2nd Powerplay unit to try and get Roe his third.  Hershey gave every opportunity to the veteran to get his first career hat trick and Limoges would find Row ide open for a back door shot to give him the 3-goal night and sent Giant Center into a celebration for the veteran!

Hats were thrown, hugs were shared, I nearly lost my voice and the Bears would win, in their most dominant game all season 7-1 the final!

On Sunday, the Springfield Thunderbirds would come to town, the farm club of the St. Louis Blues, would also bring 2 former Bears in as well, Nathan walker and Jakub Vrana.

Both these T-Birds played on the Bears in the Calder Cup Finals run of 2015/16 and the Stanley Cup Capitals team in 2018, made their returns to Hershey, this was Vrana’s first trip back since being traded to Detroit in 2021.

The goalie match up tonight was a rematch of the 2023 Eastern Conference Finals as Hunter Shepard took on Malcom Subban.

This game had a playoff feel to it, the game was hard hitting, low shot totals and both teams giving it their all just to make scoring chances. Hershey would start the fireworks as Dylan McIllrath and Sam Bitten would clash in a blue lien tilt in front of the Bears bench.  The Giant Center erupted in cheering as the two traded fists, Dylan wore down Sam Bitten as he got one last punch on the cheekbone of Bitten as he went down.  One of the best fights in Hershey in the better part of a decade.

The action was tense as both goalies had ice water in their veins, stopping in tight chances, power play opportunities and random puck bounces.  However, Pierrick Dube would skate into the half circle and unleash a power shot at Subban which he blocked with his arm, but it was not enough to stop the puck from bouncing past him and into the goal.  Dube would get his 14th goal and give the Bears the lead, in a goal that felt more like an April Playoff Goal than a Sunday afternoon December goal.

Springfield would try to find the tying goal but would not as Hershey held off the Thunderbirds and swept the weekend! 

I have a feeling we may see this team again in May, this Thunderbirds team is fast and big and like a playoff team.

Hershey would stay atop the Atlantic division with 44 points and that is good enough for leading the AHL with the Hartford wolfpack 8 points behind Hershey but, 3 games in hand,

The Bears have 2 more games before Christmas as we travel up to Springfield on Friday the 22nd for the rematch against the Thunderbirds and then Providence comes back for their rematch on the 23rd at Giant Center as its Ham shoot night.

Happy Holiday Hockey and may the Hockey Gods bless us one and all!

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Bears Recap for 12/13

I’m back for another Bear recap, apologizes for the late recap and not getting a weekend recap, it’s been Christmas Crunch time here in the studio.

Last Weekend the Bears had a Loser Sandwich of three games in three games.

Friday L vs Syracuse 4-1

Saturday W vs Cleveland 6-0! And Clay Stevenson’s 4th shutout of the Season, he needs one more to tie the Bears shutout rookie record.  The All-Time AHL shutout record is held by Former Pittsburgh Penguins Goalie Matt Murray with 12.

Sunday L vs Charlotte 3-1 The Bears their Ugly Xmas sweater jerseys and went 0-3 on Specialty jerseys night this season.

The Bears would continue their 5-game homestead against a very familiar foe in the Providence Bruins, a team Hershey has had a lot of trouble with for the better part of a decade.

Hershey was able to beat the P-Bruins back in October twice up in RI, however that was a very different Bruins team.  They were still finding their identity and just lying in the weeds ready to go on a 6-game streak around the holidays.  They do this EVERY. SINGLE. SEASON!

The Bears were looking to make some history on Wednesday night by tying the shortest time it took to win 20 games, matched only by the 2008-9 team.

Your goalies tonight are Hunter Shepard and Brandon Bussi

Hershey would strike first as Ivan MIroshinchencko would snipe a shot over the glove of Bussi to open the scoring only 59 seconds into the game.  Miro used a Bruins as a screen and shot it through the defender’s legs past Bussi for a beauty of a goal.

It was his 7th goal of the season with assists to Ethan Frank, the action would slow down after the first goal as Providence began to play their game. A hard checking, shot blocking, low scoring type of game.

Even after the first period the shots were 6-6 and felt like a Bruins type of game, the second period would continue this style of play as the emotions started to heat up.  After any whistle a Bruin and Bear would push and shove, Dylan McIlrath made a few friends defending his teammates, former Bear Jason Megna was being a pest and each team kept trading hit after hit.

This would lead to penalty trouble for the Bears as they would start a march to the sin bin in the 2nd with a weak slash call, several roughing calls and a tripping minor late in the second.

The Bruins would tie the game on a net mouth scramble as a bouncing puck found a Bruin in front of Hunter and buried it, Joey Abate would get his second of the season.

Hershey’s penalty trouble would continue Mike Sgarbossa would go off for a Hooking call as the Bears fans would start the “Refs you suck” chants.  It would not help as Providence would take the lead on a PPG as Markulv would be left wide open as the goal ty killers would follow 2 Bruins below the goal line for some reason and leave 2 other Bruins along in front of Hunter.

Entering the third I had a familiar feeling about this game, Providence was going to do what they always to and hold Hershey at bay and grind out a 2-1 victory.  It’s like big brother picking on his little brother by holding out his hand and keeping his little bro at bay while the kid keeps swinging away. 

The Bears up their show total from 10-to 16 to get back into this game, a power play for Hershey midway through the third would give the Bers the opening to tie the game.

Ethan Frank would feed Mike Sgarbossa on the near boards, who saucer passed it over to Pierrick Dube with a quick wrister that got past Bussi and tied the game! It was Dube’s team leading 13th goal and Sgarbossa would pick up his 20th assist of the season.

Both teams would trade chances late in the third, but the goalie stood firm and we were heading to overtime.

Providence was able to win the faceoff and control most of the play in the extra session.  Providence’s strategy in OT was a slow approach, lots of skating around, cross skating high in the zone to confuse assignments and wait to the right spot to open up.  Hershey would take advantage of a steal behind the net and Sgarbossa would feed Vincent Iorio up the ice for a 2 on 1 break with Ethen Frank.

Vincent held his shot as a Bruins defender would slide to take away the pass to Ethen Frank, however Vinny would snipe the puck over Bussi shoulder and win the game for the chocolate and white! Vinny celebrated by shushing the Bruins as they skated off and would give Hershey their 20th win of the season. 

This is Hershey’s 3rd win over the P-Bruins and guarantees a spilt at minimum of the season series, this was another come from behind win and this team keeps rolling even after a bad weekend.

The Bears have a pair of games this weekend: Saturday vs the Laval Rocket farm club of the Montreal Canadians and playing just as bad.  Sunday will see the Springfield Thunderbird first visit to Hershey this year and the possible return of 2 former Bears in Nathan Walker and possibly Jakub Vrana.

Be sure to check out The Girt and Bear It Podcast, the first and only Hershey Bears podcast wherever you get your podcasts.

 

And I will see you at Giant Center this weekend GO BEARS!

That’s my opinion!

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Bears Recap for 12/5

Hi everyone, I am back for another round of Bear recap as we hit the month of December, there is a lot of Bears hockey and a lot of hockey in general.  Let’s get to it!

It’s Wednesday so you know what that means, another game against the Wilkes Barre Scranton Baby Pens, the 3rd straight Wednesday night game against the black and gold.  Scheduling can be weird sometimes; your goalies are Hunter Shepard for Hershey and Joel Blomqvist for WBS.

The Bears started the game in penalty trouble as Aaron Ness went off for tripping and Hershey face one of the best Home Power Play in WBS at 29.7%. This is a really good number as you want your PP to be in the low to mid 20s. And WBS showed why they are the best as Same Houde deflected a Xavier Ouellet shot past Hunter to make it 1-0.

The Baby Pens would strike again as Sam Houde got another deflection in the net, almost in the same spot on the ice and it was 2-0.  I thought to myself at this point, it’s not our night.

Hershey would get on the board as Vincent Iorio scored just as a Power play expired to put Hershey on the board for his 2nd of the season.  It was 2-1 only briefly as WBS would get another Powerplay and Valtteri Puustinen would find a wide-open Rem Pitlick who buries the puck, and it is now 3-1 Pens.

At this point, it’s the end of the first period and I thought, it was a nice run, a 6-game winning streak, sitting atop the AHL, its okay of the streak ends here. 

Well, Hershey got their offensive mojo working as Mike Sgarbossa ripped a powerplay goal home after a nice feed from Chase Priske to make it 3-2.  This would be Chae’s 10th assist on the season.

The score would not stay that way for long as Alex Limoges found a wide-open Joe Snively streaking behind the defense, who summoned the powers of God and Anime to roof a backshot over Blumqvist and tie the game! 

A few minutes later Garret and the third line went to work as he dug a puck out if the corner and slid the puck over to Pierrick Dube who shoots and scores! Hershey now has the lead 4-3, It is Dube’s 8th of the season, and it is turning into a great find for Hershey.

Late in the second, Ivan Miroshnichenko would find Riley Sutter open in front of Blumqvist almost the same play they did against Iows to make it 5-3, for Riley third straight goal in three straight games!

In the 3rd period, WBS would change goalies as Joel was out and Marcus Hellberg was in to try and spark the Baby Pens.  WBS would cut into Hershey’s lead at Joona Koppanen would (Stop me if you heard this before) deflect a point shot past Hunter. It was 5-4 with 13:45 to play, but the Bears responded as Riley Sutter found Miro to the side of the net and threw a puck on Hellberg and it somehow got past him.  

It was Miro’s fifth of the campaign and one that Marcus would want back.  WBS would pull their goalie with 4 minutes to go and it paid off as Jonathan Gruden would rip a shot from the circles that wasn’t’ deflected, to make it interesting 6-5. 

However, Hershey would get a empty netter from Joe Snively and that sealed it for Hershey 7-5 the final!

IT was Hershey third straight win against WBS, making them 5-2 against the Baby Pens, Hershey will not play WBS until December 27th.

On Friday as Hershey would hit the road, they would travel south of the Mason-Dixon line to take on the Charlotte Checkers, it’s the Bears first meeting with the Florida Panther’s farm club since the Calder Cup Playoffs.

Your Goalies Clay Stevenson for Hershey and Spencer Knight for the Checkers

Charlotte would come out flying taking the game’s first 5 shots on Clay who stood firm against the early onslaught.  Hershey would strike first as Riley Sutter blasted a shot over the shoulder of Knight after a faceoff win from Matt Strome.  IT was Riley’s fourth straight goal in 4 games as his hot play continues.

Hershey would not stop there as Ivan MIroshinchenko would find a rebound from a Vincent Iorio shot that also hit a Checkers on the way to Spencer Knight to give Hershey a 2-0 lead. 

In the Second, Charlotte would get on the board as Patrick Khodorenko (that’s a mouthful) would get one past Clay to make it 2-1.

The Bears would answer back as Pierrick Dube would rip a laser shot past Knight to give Hershey a 2-goal cushion, 3-1.  IT was Dube’s 10th of the season and really turning into a asset for the Bears.

Dube would add another after Jimmy Huntington would come out of the corner with a puck and find a wide-open Dube for his 11th of the season and a 4-1 lead. That assist would give Huntington 100 points for his pro career.

Charlotte would get one back in the 3rd to make it 4-2, but the game never felt in doubt as Hershey sealed the game for their 8th straight win and 17th overall, making it the best start ever for a Bears hockey club.

Saturday would see the rematch between these two as Clay went again for Hershey as Hunter Shepard was recalled backing up the Capitals in Vegas.

Charlotte would start the scoring this time as Uvis Balinskis would get his 1st AHL goal after being sent down by the Panthers, as he picked the top corner on Clay with a NHL caliber shot.

Charlotte would take the lead into the locker room while outshooting Hershey 9-5, Hershey would find the tying goal as Joe Snively made a perfect cross ice pass to Aaron Ness who scored! It was Ness’s first goal of the season and Snively 12th assist.

Hershey would take the lead on a Ethan Frank laser shot over the shoulder of (checks notes) Ludovic Weaber (odd name) to make it 2-1 Hershey, Franks shot was setup from Mike Sgarboissa would has 18 assists on the season, which is good for 3rd overall in the AHL.

Ethan Would get another as Vincent Iorio would find a streaking Ethen down the right side of the ice and would sneak a shot past Ludovic which he would probably want back.  It was Ethan’s 2nd of the game and 10th of the season.

In the 3rd, the Bears would tack on another goal as Jimmy Hunting made a brilliant slap pass to Joe Snively who buried the puck past Weaber to make it 4-1.

However, the Checkers would respond with a Lucas Carlsson point shot that found its way through traffic to make it 4-2, it was Lucas’s 8th of the season, not bad for a offensive defensemen.

Late in the period, the Checkers would pull their goalie to try and make the game more stressful for Bears fans in PA, but Ethen Frank would get a empty net goal and make it a Hat trick for him.  His 11th goal of the season would seal the deal for the Bers who would sweep their 3 straight weekend and make it 9 in a row for the defending Calder Cup Champions.

Hershey sits atop the Atlantic division at 18-4-0-0 and first overall in the AHL but remember its only December.  The Bears have one more road game on Friday as they travel up I-81 to take on the Syracuse Crunch, after that its back home for a pair games, Saturday vs the Monsters and Sunday vs the Checkers, which kicks off a lengthy homestead for the Chocolate and White.

That’s my opinion and GO BEARS!

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Bears Recap for 11/28/2023

Hello everyone, I am back from Thanksgiving week for some Hershey Bears hockey recap, apologizes for last week as I was having some real-life issues to deal with.  Those are done and over with, so lets move onto the hockey!

Back on Wednesday November 22nd the Hershey Bears restarted a annual tradition of playing a home game on Thanksgiving eve and it makes sense to have a hockey game.  Mostly everyone is off at least during the day, all your friends are home from college so let’s do that hockey!

Its Wednesday night and you know that that means…. Its Hershey Bears vs the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Baby Penguins for the 2nd of three straight Wednesday night matchups between these two teams. It’s also the 5th of 12 meetings between the two, with the Bears record of 2-3 against the Baby Pens.

Once again it was Hunter Shepard vs Joel Blumqvist, and the two teams started quick, but the Bears were quicker as Dylan McIlrath fired a blue line shot with eyes that got past Joel to give the Bears an early 1-0 lead.

Many were surprised to see Dylan’s shot got through a few Pens and into the net, the shot seemed to bounce of a WBS Defender and found the back of the net.  However, Wilkes would answer back with a Rem Pitlick wrister that beat Hunter on the low glove side to tie the game.

The goal was Rem’s fourth of the season and Johnathan Gruden’s 4th assist and no, NOT THAT JOHN GRUDEN! After the first period, Hershey and WBS were tied on shots at 10 and me and my crew just said, that was a period of hockey.

In the 2nd period, the Hershey fourth line, the grind line or the Crackle line as I am trying to call it, got to work wearing down the Baby Pens.  This fourth line consisting of Miro, Riley and Strome, would play the body, forecheck greatly and cause havoc for anyone on the ice.

They had no problem going into the corners and digging pucks out, battling for every 50-50 puck battle to generate offense and they did just that. As Ivan MIroshinchenko battled for a loose puck behind the net and as he got the puck loose, he didi a between the legs pass from the boards to a wide-open Riley Sutter who despoited the puck and gave Hershey the lead.

It would be Riley 2nd of the year and Miro-s fifth assist with Hardy Haman Aktell getting his first assist of the season.  Miro sat down last Saturday in Bridgeport for reasons of watching the game from the stands, to help improve his game, this was done to Hendrix Lappierre last season during the Calder Cup run and it paid off again.

That goal would be enough for Hershey as they took the Thanksgiving eve game with a final score of 2-1 and sent the 8,000 plus home happy to await the incoming holiday.  The win evened up the season series to 3-3.

 

After Turkey Day and the following International Cold Turkey Leftovers Day (Black Friday) Hershey would welcome a different team to Chocolate Town.  The Iowa Wild would make their first ever trip to Giant Center for a weekend set, I was excited back in July when schedules were announced to see Hershey play a team West of Ohio.  Iowa would be the Farthest West regular Season team the Bears have played in over a decade.

Iowa came into town with a 6-7-1 record on the season, thanks mostly to their goalie Jesper Wallstedt a 6’3 213-pound tender, who was drafted by Minnesota 20th overall in 2021.

I was so excited to see Iowa Wild, I have always loved the Minnesota Wild’s jerseys and to see the bright green at Giant Center was a welcome sight after a month of Black/Gold, Orange/Black, and Blue/Orange.

In the first period on Saturday, the Wild came out flying, playing a loose and fast brand of hockey, not as fast and skilled as Coachella valley was last June, but it was western Conference hockey.  This caught the Bears off guard as they looked like they could not keep up with the Wild and was playing sloppy with passes not connection and the speed not matching the boys in green.

Hershey did not register their 2nd shot on goal until 9 minutes to go in the first, but the score remained 0-0 after one, coach was not happy about the opening period for the Bears.  Coach would later say, he felt the boys still had some turkey left in them.

IN the second Hershey would find their legs and start generating more offense and during up their physical play, the Bears started checking Wild into boards and forcing them off of pucks.  Dyaln McIlrath delivered a big open ice hit on a Wild player that really woke up the Giant Center.

Later in the second, Alex Limoges would bury a low wrister that pinged off the post and beat Jesper and gave Hershey a 1-0 lead, the Giant Center erupted as the Bears scored.  Alex got his fourth of the season, Chase Priske his seventh assist and Jow Snivley would get his 1oth.

Unfortunately, Hershey committed a hockey sin and allowed a last-minute goal as Gavn Hain would collect a rebound and throw it by Hunter to tie the game.  It was his first AHL goal as 2 former Providence Bruins, Vinny Letteri and Jake Lucchini would assist on the play.

In the third, the physical play would continue as both teams starting throwing big hits after big hits, both were at a stale mate as Iowa’s inconsistent offense started to show after a hot start, and Iowa Defense was neutralizing Hershey top line.

Later in the third, the game seemed to have overtime written all over it, but Pierrick Dube would steal a breakout pass on a forecheck, working the puck around the zone to his teammates.  Logan Day would find Dube on a brilliant feed who put a big blast on net that beat Jesper and gave the Beas the lead with 324 to go.

It was Pierrick Dube’s 7th of the season. Logan’s sixth assist and Chase’s eighth of the season and second of the game.

Iowa would pull their goalie shortly after and try to tie the game, but the Hershey D stood strong and closed out the game to give Hershey the win 2-1 yet again. IT was ugly, grind it out type of win but it was one that Coach Nelson was proud of, even if the first was a slow start.

On a Sunday afternoon game, where coffee and energy drinks were needed, the rematch between the two clubs would commence.   Iowa knowing, they had a long plan ride ahead of them were looking to salvage anything out of this weekend.

Hershey would start Clay Stevenson in net as Iowa would start Zane McIntyre another former Providence Bruin making the total number of former P-Bruins on this team to 3.

Hershey had no slow start in this game as they came out swinging against Iowa, picking up where they left off the previous night with heavy forechecking and physical gameplay.

This would get Iowa into penalty trouble as Steven Fogarty (Former P-Bruins #4) would go the penalty box for slashing, if any weakness in the Bears; game would be their Power Play as it has slipped in the lowa teens.

Hershey would finally break that cold streak as Ethen Frank ripped a LASER past Zane to open the scoring for Hershey and lead 1-0.

It was Ethen’s eighth of the season, Chase’s ninth assist fo the season and Mike Sgarbossa’s 15th assists, keeping Mike in the Top 5 assists leaders in the early season.

Hershey would not stop on the PP scoring as a few minutes later, Hershey got another PP and just as a friend of mine said” Wouldn’t it be great if we got another?”


Alex Limoges would collect a rebound and beat Zane again to give Hershey a 2-0 lead and their second PPG.

Limoges has 5 goals on the season, Sgarbossa got his 16th assist and Ethen Frank got another point with a secondary helper.

After that. Hershey took over the game with strong defensive play with winning puck battles and physical play once again, while Hershey would not have as many big hits as the previous night.

 

You could tell why this Iowa team struggled with this team; they looked like a complete different team in front of Zane McIntyre how has a record of 0-5-3 on the season.

Iowa would get one back on a Power Play of their own in the second as Jake Lucchini would bury a rebound on a rush to cut Hershey’s lead in half.  Nic Petan would his 13th assist, and the captain Dakota Mermis would get his first AHL point.

However, it was not enough for the Boys in green and white as Hershey was able to lockout the game defensively and not only sweep another weekend, but also win with the 3rd consecutive night a score of   2-1!

It was a good weekend for the boys adding to their Atlantic division lead with a record of 15-4-0-0 which is good for the top spot in all of the AHL.

Hershey will now hit the road for a while, with another Wednesday night game in WBS, followed by a weekend trip to Charlotte to battle the Checkers.  On December 8th Hershey will travel to take on the Syracuse Crunch up I-81 and then finally back home on the 9th to take on the Cleveland Monsters.

Don’t forget to check out the Grit and Bear It Podcast on all podcast platforms for more coverage of the Hershey bears and that’s my opinion.

GO BEARS!

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Bears Recap for 11/14/2023

The Hershey Bears returned to action this week after having a literal bye week, last playing on Saturday November 4th, the boys would play again until the 11th.  On that Veterans Day the Bears took a trip to the Electro drome or commonly known as the PPL Center.

On the corner of 7th and Hamilton Street, sits the Bears’ eastern rivals in the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, the affiliate of the Philadelphia Flyers.  If you walk into said building, you will instantly be bombarded with signage that lets you know that they are the Flyers’ affiliates.  Their fanbase embodies the spirit of Philly vs The World!

As Hershey went into this Saturday night tilt is was the first of six visits to the PPL Center this season, after a bye week and numerous callups by the Capitals.  Which saw Hunter Shepeard, Dylan McIllrath and Mike Sgarbossa get called up in a single week, only one of them came back to Hershey and it was Mike Sgarbossa. 

The Bears went with Clay Stevenson between the pipes with Mitchell Gibson backing up, and with the highest attendance for a Phantoms game since the pandemic we were underway.

The first half of the first period was a feeling out process between the two clubs, trading chances and laying off the rush, hoping not to make an early mistake.  Neither team took a penalty until the 12-minute mark of the first period and for these two teams, that is tame.

In the middle of the period, Mike Sgarbossa threw a shot at Phantoms goalie, Parker Gahagen, which seemed to fool him a bit, as he left a loose puck in the blue paint.  He swung around to get the puck, only to knock the loose puck off a Bear and into the net.  Hershey had its first goal at the PPL Center, and the Phantoms faithful wanted a goaltender interference call or challenge.

Alas, such things are not possible in the AHL, and the Bears were on the board, Mike Vecchione would get credit for the goal, his fifth of the season and Mike Sgarbossa would get his 10th assist of the season.

Hershey would take the lead into the second period, the pace would pick up in the middle frame as each squad played a bit looser, almost turning into fire wagon hockey. 

Early in the second Dmitry Osipov making his Bears debut would make a statement in leveling Elliot Desnoyers after a center ice dump in.  Elliot stayed down after the hit as it was a clean shoulder ot body hit but Elliot had his head down and was helped up by his teammates and escorted to the locker room.  Ronnie Atturd stepped in to defend his teammates and had a scrap with Dmitry and both went off for fighting. 

Later in the second, Pierrick Dube would lead a charge into the Phantoms zone and use his speed to wrap around the net and slide the puck underneath parker to give Hershey a 2-0 lead.  This would be Dube’s fifth of the season, who is turning into a sbsoulte steal for the Bears and as he has nine points on the young season.  Logan Day and Aaron Ness would get helpers on the play.

After that tally, it would be all the Bears needed as the defense took over and stalled any offense the Phantoms would attempt.  Zone entries were broken up, dump ins were collected by Bears and sticks were getting in shooting lanes.  Hershey would also commit to physical play; they weren’t afraid to go into the corners and dug the puck out or staple Phantoms into the boards.

No goals came in the third and the Bears left the PPL Center with a 2-0 win and Clay Stevenson’s second shutout of the season, the other was also against the Phantoms on October 28th.

The two teams had a rematch on Sunday afternoon as it was Hockey Fights Cancer night for the Hershey Bears, an emotional night for all fans and players as the organization has been affected by all types of cancer. 

Me being up in press row again, I made sure to wear purple along with the rest of the media crew, as I looked out into the Giant Center crowed, I saw a mix of Hershey bears lavender and pink jerseys scattered through out the lower bowl, always warms the heart to see such a sight. 

The Bears wore special HFC warmup jerseys, these were auctioned off post-game with the highest being Pierrick Dube at $3,100.

IN a last-minute decision Mike Vecchione was scratched for tonight’s game, he was added to the list of Bears players missing for the week.

Hershey came out flying to start the game, playing the body and getting shots on Nolan Meier, as Clay Stevenson would get the start for the 2nd consecutive game.  Hershey outshot the Phantoms 10-2 halfway through the first and figured it would be a matter of time before they broke through.

Unfortunately, it was the Phantoms that struck first as Garrett Wilson did the same wraparound trick that Dube did the previous night and slid the puck five hole on Clay to put the Phantoms ahead.  Hershey would outshoot the boys in orange 14-7 by the end of the first, but still trail on the big board.

However, in a touching moment, during a media timeout the Bears ran a video about Garrett Roe and how he lost his mother to cancer and why he wears number 65.  His mother’s birthday is June 5th, so he wears 65 in her honor. The fans stood and gave an ovation to Roe who was lined up for a faceoff and saluted the crowd.  Roe held back his emotions and tears as he was touched by the actions of the fans and organization and the refs gave him a minute to collect himself before resuming play.  A wonderful moment that will live in Bears nation minds. 

In the second, Hershey would even things up as Ivan Miroshnichenko would cut into the slot and rip a shot past Meir to tie the game.  Ivan Miroshnichenko is a cancer survivor himself, a year after battling Hodgkin’s lymphoma, he gets a goal on HFC night, the hockey gods have blessed this game.

The Phantoms would strike back as Rhett Gardner would rip a shot low blocker side on Clay to give the Phantoms the lead back, 2-1.  It was Rhett’s third of the season with Garrett Wilson and Helge Grans getting assists.

Later in the second, Riley Sutter, to get his team going delivered a big hit on Ronnie Atturd into the boards, the two exchanged shoves and looked like they were going to fight.  Garrett Wilson, remembering the previous night, stepped in for teammate and challenged Sutter.  Riley backed off the fight since he wanted to scrap with Ronnie, not Wilson.  Both got 5 minutes for fighting with Wilson getting 2 extra for instigating and 10 minutes for a misconduct for entering as a third man in a fight. 

This would also give Garrett Wilson the Gordie Howe hat trick, a goal and assist and a fight. 

Heading into the third period, Hershey tried to get back into the game, but the Phantoms played the same type of game Hershey did the night prior.  They won board battles for pucks, played physically and Hershey’s offense never got in a groove as point passes were broken up.  Bears shots were blocked or passed up for an extra pass, dump and chase attempts were broken up, it was frustrating and at times boring to watch.

The Phantoms would get another goal as another wrap around attempt was made by Cooper Marody who instead of shooting, passed it to a wide-open Jon-Randall Avon for a easy goal.  This was Avon’s third of the season and second against the Bears.

Lehigh would tack on another as they would get a power play goal from Coope Marody, his fourth of the season and that was enough to somewhat spoil the HFC night in Hershey.

Phantoms won 4-1, snapping Hershey 5 game home winning streak, and 3 game winning streaks against the Phantoms AND a 3-game winning streak on HFC nights. 

Alas, this night was not about winning or losing, it was about supporting the battles against cancer and honoring those in the fight against this horrible disease.  While the loss stings, especially against a rival, the Bears were due for a let down game and this was it.

Head Coach Todd Nelson was not pleased with the effort in Sunday’s game says, “If I listed all the things, I was unhappy about tonight’s game, we would be here all night.”

This week, the boys are back at it on a Wednesday Night, as they go back to WBS to take on the baby Pens at Mohegan Sun Arena, then the boys are back home on Friday November 17th for a home and home set against the Bridgeport, ugh, Islanders, Friday at Giant Center, Saturday night at Total Mortgage Arena in Bridgeport.

The following week sees the boys come home for 3 games over Thanksgiving week as WBs comes to town for Thanksgiving eve, then the much anticipated 2 game set against the Iowa Wild on Black Friday and the following Saturday.

 

That’s my opinion, Go Bears!

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Hershey Bears Recap – 11/7

 

With the Month of October behind us, the Bears turn their sights to a rather busy month of November, which sees the hockey club have 12 games in the month.  Seven of those games will be at home and the rest on the road only leaving the state of Pennsylvania once, Bridgeport, CT on Saturday November 18th.

 

This past Friday the boys traveled up I-81 to take on their rivals, the Wilkes barre/Scarton Baby Penguins, affiliate of the Pittsburgh Penguins and they are more than happy to tell you that.  Last time the boys traveled to Northeast PA, the Bears ran out of the Mohegan Sun Arena with a 5-1 final.

 

Hershey was looking to avenge that loss with Hunter Shepard starting this time instead of Clay Stephenson and Joel Blumqvist in net for the home squad.

 

Hershey would get a powerplay early as Austin Rueschhoff went off for interference, the WBS faithful (all 30 of them) were not happy with the call, thankfully the organ cue to insult the refs did not play, yet.

 

Mike Vecchione would make them pay as he received a feed from underneath the goal line in his usual bumper spot and give Hershey the lead 1-0.  Mike Sgarbossa and Chase Priske would get assists on the play, and it is Hershey’s first lead up in WBS.

 

Hershey would take the lead into the locker room with the shots even at 7-7

 

In the second period, the Bears play would become a bit out of sync, Hershey would get several Power play chances in the period but could not get set up in the zone.

 

Almost every time the puck was played to the point, no one would be there to catch it or the puck would hop over someone’s stick and leave the zone.  It was very frustrating to watch and was noted on the broadcast that ice conditions were not the best, as the ice seemed chippy.

 

As time wined down in the period, you could feel the ice shift in WBS favor as they made a late minute surge to tie the game, and they were successful.  Alex Nylander would bury a shot from the slot, similar to Mike Vecchione’s and the game was tied.

 

The goal sends Hershey to the locker room along with that cursed goal horn blasting so loud, it spiked Zack’s radio broadcast.  Nylander’s goal was his second of the season with both goals coming against Hershey…and at home, this is annoying.

 

 Itis is also what we like to call a Hockey Sin, giving up a goal within the first or last minute of the period, it completely shifts the momentum of the game towards the scoring team.

 

Into the third period, the intensity was ramped up and both teams battled for the lead, Hershey had a early power play as Taylor Fedun (The Captain) went off for tripping.  Alas the same problems that plagued the Bears PP prevented them from getting the lead.  Hershey would go down a man twice in the second half of the period, but the Penalty kill would come up strong.

In the closing minute the Baby Pens made a serious push to try and steal a win, with less than 10 seconds left, Ivan Miroschinko attempted to clear the zone on a backhand attempt.  The puck was knocked down by Dmitri Samorukov, then to Harkins and back to the point.  With 4 seconds left, Marc Johnstone threw a puck on Hunter Shepard with somehow found its way past everyone and into the net with 0.5 seconds remaining.

 

The Bears argued that time had run out with the green lights coming on behind Hunter instead of Red, signaling the end of the period.  However, the referees confirmed it was a good goal with .5 seconds left and WBS took the game 2-1.

 

Coach Todd Nelson was not happy with the performance, not with giving up a super late goal, he felt the Bears lack intensity, losing puck battles and missing passes.   I, myself, was furious at this loss, not that we lost, but how we lost on a last second shot, that should never have happened to begin with.  If the game went to overtime and they Bears lost 2-1, I would have shrugged my shoulder said

“meh, we got a point” instead like Gene Wilder once said, “You get nothing, you lose, GOOD DAY SIR!”

 

On Saturday the boys were back at it for a Saturday matchup against Bridgeport, ugh, Islanders, Coach challenged his players to respond with a better effort.  Even saying, “if they do not play hard tonight, they will practice hard on Monday.’  That sounds like a leave-the-puck-bag behind type of practice which means, nothing but sprints!

 

Hershey sent out Clay Stevenson on the tail end of a back-to-back and the Islanders started Jeremey Skarek.

 

The first period saw the Bears come out a bit flat, once again missing passes and feeling a bit off, Hershey would get 2 powerplays early in the first but would not capitalize on them.  Islanders would strike first on a goal front scramble as Paul Ladue knocked down a clearing attempt and feed the puck down low, as the puck bounced around the crease among skates and sticks, Samuel Asselin would knock the puck in to make it 1-0.

 

Fans argued for a goaltender interference and in the NHL any coach would have challenged that call, but in the AHL you can only challenge for good goals.  So, the score remained 1-0, Hershey would get another Power play chance as Eetu Liukas went off for tripping, as the powerplay was expiring, Logan Day unleashed a blast that beat Skarek low glove side to tie the game.  It was not a power play goal, but it was Logan Day’s second of the season with Joe Snively and Henrik Rybinski getting assists.

 

Hershey would go into the second period down 10-4 on shots, despite having 3 powerplays in the period.  No scoring would happen in the middle frame, in fact not much of anything happened, Hershey was still getting outplayed by an Islanders team while fresher, because they did not play on Friday night.

 

Into the third period we go, and Hershey got two more power play chances making it their 6th on the night, after a collapsing net scramble play, the puck found its way back to Chase Priske who winded up and fired towards Skarek, who barely saw the puck go by him and gave Hershey the lead. It was Chase’s second of the season with assist to Mike Sgrbossa and Alex Limoges.

 

Just as I was typing my Goal tweet, Joe Snivley stripped the puck away from an Islanders and fed a streaking Alex Limoges who deked Skarek to open the five hole and slide the puck underneath him to make it 3-1.

 

Two quick goals for Hershey in the span of 25 seconds turned the game in their favor and it was enough to seal the victory in front of over 8,000 on a Saturday night.

 

The win got Hershey back in the win column and move them to 8-3-0-0 on the young season and 1st place in the Atlantic Division and at the times of this article, 1st overall in the American Hockey League.

 

The Bears are on a long break this week with no mid-week games nor a Friday night game as well.  They will travel up I-78 to Allentown to take on the Lehigh Valley Phantoms for the first time this year in the PPL Center on 7th and Hamilton.

 

Hershey will return home the next day for a Sunday afternoon tilt against said Phantoms in a quick home-and-home series.  Sunday is Hershey’s Hockey Fights Cancer night or HFC for short, as the boys will wear special lavender warmup jersey to be sold post-game.

 

After that schedule picks up in the 2nd half of November as we travel back up to WBs on a Wednesday night the 15th and then a home and home set against the Bridgeport Islanders on the 17th and 18th.

 

That’s my opinion and I will see you at Giant Center

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Bears Recap for 10/31

 

Over the past weekend, the Hershey Bears returned home for a twin set of games after finishing up a four-game road swing.  Hershey went 3-1 on the road, with the lone loss being to WBS on a clunker of a game that the Bears were due for.

 

On Saturday, Hershey welcomed their I-78 rivals to town, the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, affiliates of the Philadelphia Flyers.  This team came out playing dirty, a very grit and grind-type of a team that will knock you into the boards, clog up the neutral zone, and generally make things miserable for you.

 

Hershey would set the tone and respond this way with a fight between Jimmy Huntington and Parker Gahagen; both would sit for five minutes to cool off.

 

Hershey would get on the board first with a Power Play strike as Joe Snively found Pierrick Dube on the faceoff circle to rip a powerful shot past Cal Peterson.  Dube has been excellent at developing his shot and has found a good home on the 3rd line and the 2nd Power play unit.

 

Hershey would take a 1-0 lead into the 2nd period, where the physical play would pick up as the Phantoms would start checking the Bears more and shooting less.

 

Hershey would make them pay as the Phantoms would be much more considered with knocking down Mike Sgarbossa and Aaron Ness; Mike broke free from the pile and led a three-on-two rush down the ice.  Mike Sgarbossa would find Mike Vecchione on a crossing feed and double Hershey's lead to 2-0.

The Bears didn't get caught up in the physical play and used the distraction to push the puck up the ice and make the Phantoms pay on the scoreboard.

 

Late in the second, we would see a Penalty box march, as Nic Aubel Kubel would go off for high-sticking and get a double minor (4:00) for drawing blood.  On the ensuing faceoff, Aaron NEs would slash Phantoms players stick on the faceoff and go off for a five-on-three Powerplay.

 

Alas, that powerplay would be negated to a four-on-three as Cooper Marody dragged down a Bear, and he would go off.  Then the 2nd period ended, and the Phantoms would start the 3rd period on a 4-on-3 Powerplay, but nothing came of it, and eventually we would go from 4x3 to 4x4, then 5x4, finally 5x5 back at full strength. 

 

Later in the third, Ivan Miroshnichenko, I call him Miro for short, would lead a rush attracting three Phantoms on a partial breakaway.  Cal Peterson would stop the initial shot, but Pierrick Dube would clean up the rebound and make it 3-0.  Miro displayed his speed on the play, and Pierrick Dube has a knack for being in the right place at the right time.

 

Logan Day would go off for roughing, as the physical play would continue to frustrate the Bears at times, but the Phantoms couldn't make them pay.  Hershey's Penalty Kill remained perfect on the night, going 8-for-8.

With just under five minutes to go, the Phantoms pulled their goalie to gain an extra attacker to try and cut into the Hershey lead.  But it was for not as LOgan Day would golf-shot a puck into the open net to make it 4-0.

 

That would be all for the Phantoms as the Bears took the Saturday night game with a final of 4-0. 

 

 

On Sunday, the Wilkes Barre Scranton Baby Penguins would return to Hershey after their Wednesday night tilt, which saw WBS come out on top 5-1.

 

Hershey would get Hunter Shepard back from a brief stint in DC that saw him get his 1st NHL to win against the New Jersey Devils.  The baby Penguins would send out former Toronto Maple Leaf and Orlando Solar Bear goaltender Garrett Sparks.

 

Hershey would waste no time getting on the board as Ethan Frank ripped a top corner shot as he was left all alone in front.  Chase Priske was able to keep a puck just inside the blue line and feed Mike Sgarbossa down low, then to Ethan for the opening tally.

 

Not even minutes later, WBS would go down a man, and Hershey would make them pay as Hunter Shepard flung a puck up the ice, tapped ahead by Alex Limoges, fed to Mike Sgarbiossa, and finished by Ethan Frank.  It was liquid, fast hockey at its finest, and put the Bears ahead 2-0.

 

Later in the period, Alex set up Jimmy Hunting low in the zone with Joe Snively, both all alone in front of Garrett Sparks.  Both would play a quick back and forth, as Joe slammed the puck into the back of the net to make it 3-0.

 

The game felt like laughter after the first, with Hershey leading in shots 12-9, but it showed in the most crucial part, the scoreboard.

 

In the second, Hershey would take three consecutive penalties, and eventually, WBS would make them pay as Sam Poulin would poke home a rebound in front of Shepard.

 

WBs cut into the lead to make it 3-1; however, it would not last as Hersey would get a power play late in the second.  Pierrick Dube would throw a puck in front, and it got lost in skates and sticks; Joe Snively would find the rolling puck out of the chaos and put in an easy goal.  Hershey got a PPG and was up 4-1 after two periods. 

 

In the early Garrett Sparks would get pulled for Joel Blomqvist, as Sparky did not have a good night, but it could be a move to showcase him to Kyle Dubas, who was in attendance at Hershey. 

 

Alas, it would not do them any good as Jimmy Hungton would find a bouncing puck to put it past Joel to make it 5-1.  Dube was trying for a hat trick, but the shot got blocked; Alex Limoges tried his luck, but Blomqvist stopped the shot; Jimmy got the third shot away, which found pay dirt. 

 

The Baby Pens began to throw their weight around and stir up trouble, knowing the game was out of reach and they would play again on Friday. 

The PEns Captain challenged Ivan Miroshinchenko to a fight, and the young Russian wasted no time throwing fists at the black and gold captain.  The fight was short, but Miro showed he was not some fast winger who avoided physical play; as the kids would say, he has that dog in him!

 

Later in the third, a Bears rookie would find his first goal as Bogdan Trineyev would get a partial breakaway and beat Joel's low glove side to make it 6-1.

 

Hershey would ride out the third.  However, the victory came with a price, as Mike Sgarboosa was knocked down during play away from the puck.  HE crawled onto the ice, and his teammates helped him off the ice. 

We Bears fans thought it looked terrible, as he was slew-footed to the ice, and thought this was the yearly Mike Sgarbossa injury,

Thankfully, he returned to practice on Tuesday and appears to be skating just fine.

 

Hershey would take both games this weekend and climb atop the Atlantic division as Hartford fell to second.  The Bears will be back in action on Wed as the Phantoms return to Hershey; Friday sees the boys go back up for another road game in WBS and return Saturday for a matchup against the Bridgeport, ugh, Islanders.

 

See you all at Giant Center and Go Bears.

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Bears vs Wilkes Barre/Scranton Penguins Recap on 10/25

 

Hi everyone, I was back from my retreat to Colorado last weekend; thanks to all for letting me go out and disconnect for a few days. With all that in mind, let's return to some Hershey Bears Hockey.

 

Last weekend results

10/20 at Providence W 3-0

10/21 at Providence W 5-2 (SO)

10/22 at Bridgeport W 3-2 (OT)

 

Last weekend, the Bears got 3 for 3 in an I-95 road swing against the Providence Bruins, the farm club of the Boston Bruins, and Bridgeport Islanders, an affiliate of the New York Islanders.

 

However, there is no rest for the Calder Cup Champions as they traveled up I-81 to take on their legit rivals, The WBS Baby Penguins. 

 

On this night, Hershey was down a few players; Hunter Shepard got his overdue NHL call-up to replace Charlie Lindgren, who has had the dreaded Upper body injury. Also, Aaron Ness is out with an undisclosed injury, but it's hockey everyone gets injured at some point. Clay Stevenson would step in for Hunter tonight, who got a win back on Sunday, 10/15, against the Cleveland Monsters.

 

The Bears and Penguins played to a relatively light crowd on a Wednesday night in Northeast Pennsylvania, though it is still high School Football season, so the focus is on something other than hockey up there.

 

The Bears came in with a four-game winning streak, hoping to make it five, heading back to Giant Center on Saturday. However, the Pens would get an early power play that saw Nic Kubel lead a two-on-one breakaway that Joel Blomqvist stopped, led to a 2x1 break the other way led by Alex Nylander, who buried a glove-side snipe that went crossbar PING and into the net.

 

Alex Nylander has a knack for burning the Bears, as he was the one who ended the Bears' 21/22 season, scoring an OTGWG in Game 3 of the Play-In series.

 

WBS would go into the locked room with a 1-0 after the first period with the shots 8-6 in favor of WBS

 

In the second period, Hershey would get the tying goal as Dylan McIlrath checked a Penguin to the ice, opening a lane up for Joe Snively to walk into the slot and bury a corner wrist shot to tie the game!

 

It would be Joe's first goal of the season with assists to Garrett Roe and Dlyan Mcillrath, though, as an extra assist for the monster hit he gave to open the ice up for Joe.

 

Alas, WBS would answer as a blueline shot would bounce off two penguins and get past Clay to restore the lead to the PEnguins. Sam Hourde would get credit for the goal as the puck last bounced off him.

 

In the third period, the Penguins would get a powerplay as Avery Hayes fired a long shot on Clay Stevenson; he thought he had the puck in his chest. However, the puck slipped out of his grip and landed on the ice for Sam Hourde, who would slam home the loose puck for a goal.

 

This type of rebound was the same way Clay gave up a goal against the Monsters when a long shot bounced off his chest, and he was slow to get the rebound after it hit the ice.

 

Sadly, things would get worse for the Bears as Vincent Iorio went to play a puck out of the Defense zone but fanned on the pass, leaving the puck in the Bears zone.

Marc Johnstone grabbed the puck as Vinny skated back to defend his mistake but slipped and fell onto the ice; Marc walked in and scored to make it 4-1.   It was a truly embarrassing moment for the young defenseman; it is not the first time I have seen him make mistakes in the D zone.

 

Wilkes-Barre would add to their lead on a scratch pass to find Vinnie Hinostroza behind the defense and bury the puck to make it 5-1.

 

The game was over as WBS rode out the rest of the game and took the first game of the 12-game season series.

 

Three Stars of the Game

 

1st: No

2nd: One

3rd: Cares

 

Yes, I am bitter about this loss; why are you asking? Even though I was expecting this, the end of a four-game road stand, riding high after a three-game sweep, all the elements were in place for a letdown game. And that happened tonight; the season is still early, so there is no reason to panic. Plus, we are still Calder Cup Champions!

 

The Bears will be back at Giant Center on Saturday in the rematch against these same Penguins; then the Lehigh Valley Phantoms come in for their first game against the Bears on Sunday as it is Trick or Treat Night at Giant Center. That will wrap up the October portion of the Bears season as the boys will be back in action on November 1st against, you guessed it, WBS Penguins.

 

GO BEARS, that's my opinion.

GAME RECAP 10/14 & 10/15

 

After three months of clickbait articles and Calder Cup photos, the Hershey  Bears returned to Giant Center this past Saturday for their season opener.

 

It was cool, rainy, and gray in Hershey that Saturday, but that didn't stop over 10,800 fans from showing up.  The Giant Center filled the rafters with people wanting to buy Calder Cup merchandise, food, and, most importantly, BEER!

 

Yours truly was excited to return to section 217 and be with my hockey family again.  I noticed a few changes to Giant Center banners; the organization updated the old chocolate-laced Calder Cup banners after the old ones that hung there were from the old Hersheypark Arena.

The new banners were white and dark Chocolate colored with the championship year, but also the logo of the Bears team from that season.  It is an excellent historical touch to see the changes in logs over the 86 years this team has been around.

 

Zack Fisch, Bears play-by-play voice, Mced the Banner ceremony with two surprise appearances from the last Calder Cup winning team from 2010 in Alexander Giroux and Karl Alzner.  Seeing Giroux (no relation to Claude Giroux), who scored the OT winner in Texas, pass the torching to Mike Vecchione, who scored the OT WSinner in Game 7 this past June, was a nice touch.

 

However, I was disappointed to see a regular banner raising after the Vegas Golden Knights raised their banner from a giant slot machine.  I expected this banner to come out of a massive Hershey's bar!

 

After the festivities, it was time to play hockey as the Bears took on the Belleville Senators.  The Bears came out flying, feeding off the ceremony's emotion.  They started the game with the first eight shots on goal, including a breakaway from Ivan Miroshnichenko.

 

But the Senators' top goalie prospect,  Mads Sogaard, was up to the task, surviving the first 10 minutes as the game settled in.  The B-Sens would get on the board first after a Cole Reinhardt shot got by Clay Stevenson to make it 1-0 for the visitors. 

 

We headed into the second period, and the Bears would get into penalty trouble, getting three straight trips to the sin bin.  Dylan Mcilrath would go off for tripping, Jimmy Huntington then from tripping, and then Mike Sgarbossa for slashing, and the third was enough to yield a goal from Nikolas Matinpalo, making it 2-0.

 

Fans started to get antsy, hoping for any offense to happen as the third began, but the Senators were more than okay to sit on this 2-0 lead.  After 14 shots in the first, the Bears only had 8 in the second and were limited to five shots through most of the third.  Soon, the feeling of empathy sent in as fans realized that the Bears COULD get shut out.   Hershey pulled the goalie with 4 minutes to go; I saw this tema erase many 2 goal deficits during the playoffs.  They could do it here.  But not this night, as Angus Crookshank got the empty net goal, and the Giant Center emptied into the night.  Bellville stole the show on Saturday night and shut down the Hershey Bears 3-0.

However, I was not upset by this loss, and this night was about banner raising and getting back to hockey; the game itself was secondary.  We have 71 more of these and hopefully more in the springtime; this team will be fine.  Let's enjoy the nice banner hanging over the south goal and get good later.

 

Check out the Podcast here: https://traffic.megaphone.fm/HOC5769047709.mp3?updated=1697423544

 

Hershey was back at it on a Sunday afternoon as they took on the Clevland Monsters.  The Monsters came into Hershey after being in Allentown for the Phantoms home opener the previous night. 

Hershey was looking to get back on track after an opening night loss by making a few adjustments by signing Henrik Rybinski at the 3rd line. 

 

Hershey again got off to a fast start with the game's first five shots, determined to get the ever-elusive first goal of the season.  It came in the most fortunate of bounces as Hardy Human Aktell fired a long point shot that bounced off a Monster, over the goalie Pavel Cajan and into the net for the first goal of the season.  Miroshnichenko and Perrick Dube would get assists on the play, and the Bears got their first and were roaring for more.

 

Tyler Angle would go off for hooking, and the Bears' power play would go to work as Alex Limoges would find Ethan Frank on a beautiful cross-ice pass for a one-timer goal from the fastest Bear on ice.

 

Ethan got his first goal, Alex and Mike Sgarbossa got helpers, 2-0 Hershey, and all was well in Chocolate Town.  Until Brendan Gaunce smacked home a loose rebound in front of Clay a few minutes later to put Cleveland on the board. 

 The Monster Captain would get his first, and the Monsters booster club that traveled made their voices heard at GC.  Still, the Bears answered quickly with a 2x1 breakaway a minute later as Ethan Frank would find Mike Vecchione who chipped the puck past Cajan.  It was the answering goal the Bears needed to reestablish dominance in this game and take a 2-goal lead in the intermission. 

 

In the Second, it was the Monsters' turn to come out swinging; they had the first six shots in the second, and one found the net as Marcus Bjork ripped a low wrister and cut the lead to   3-2. 

The BEar would have penalty trouble again as they took back-to-back penalties, but they could kill them.  Cleveland took a penalty late in the 2nd, and thanks to some pretty passing, Hendrix Lapierre found Pierrick Dube in front of the net and blasted the puck through the five-hole of Cajan for a Power Play Goal.

 

Hershey clamped down defensively in the third, limiting the Monsters to six shots.  The Bears played the same style of defense that won them the Calder Cup, getting bodies in shooting lanes and breaking up entry passes in their zone.  Hershey got an insurance goal as Mike Sgarbossa led a 2x1 rush and whistled a shot past Cajan to make it 5-2, which sealed the Monster's fate.

 

Hershey took the second game of the weekend to split the season's first two games.  Sunday's game was the perfect bounce-back game for the boys in Chocolate, getting the all-important first goal of the season and finding its offense from its stars.  The confidence from the boys radiated from the team after Hardy's goal, and the small stones started an avalanche!

 

Now, the Bears face the first road test of the season as they travel to Rhode Island to take on the Providence Bruins this Friday and Saturday.  Then, they travel to Western Connecticut to take on the Bridgeport, ugh, Islanders at 3:05 p.m.

 

Thank you for following me on my X account and follow 717 Sports for local sports coverage.

Bears recap for 12-26

 

Happy Post Holiday, hope all of you enjoy this 2023 holiday season, but the hockey train rolls on and the Hershey Bears still continue their pursuit of the 13th Calder Cup.

On Friday the Bears traveled to Western Massachusetts to take on the Springfield Thunderbirds in a rematch of their 1-0 tilt on the 18th.  The Bears had some callups to work through as Hendrix Lapierre, Ivan Miroshnichenko and Mike Sgarbossa all got sent to DC earlier in the week before the holiday roster freeze on the 23rd.

Although Mike Sgarbossa was sent back to Hersey on Friday the 22nd, he was not able to join the team in time for said game.  Hershey would send Hunter Shepard in net as Springfield sent out Blues goalie prospect Zherenko a 7th round pick in 2022. 

The Bears came out fast and furious putting the games first 5 shots on Zherenkko and skating circles around the T-Birds, passes were clean and connecting and space opened for the boys.  Pierrick Dube would get the game’s first goal as he fired a top corner laser past Z to make it 1-0.

It’s his team leading 15th of the season and enough to put him in the top 5 in scoring the AHL.

Hershey would not stop there as recently sent down Lucas Johanson would fire a blue line shot that Jimmy Huntington would deflect into the net for a Power Play Goal to make it 2-0 Hershey!

That was Jimmy6th goal of the season and Lucas’s first point ack with the Bears this season.

After the first Hershey was up on shots 15-8, but that did not consider the fact that Hershey dominated in all play, puck possession, faceoffs and overall gameplay.  If Hershey can play like that all the time, like Hunter said, no one in the AHL can stand in our way!

In the beginning of the second we would have a (in the words of Steve Dangle) “If you are a Goaltender, Tend the Goal” moment as Zherenko went to play a puck off some lively boards.  Joe Snively went in to retrieve the puck and Zherenko sent the puck to no one, and Ethen Frank picked the puck up and fired it into the net to make it 3-0!

IT was Ethen 13 of the campaign and Snively’s 15th assist, and after that, it seemed like the Bears had this game, they generated more high-risk chances on Zherenko, so much so that the game should have been 6-0. 

However, Springfield clawed back as Joesph Duszek and former Bear Jakub Vrana would get 2 goals to make it 3-2 late in the 2nd.  Hershey would head into the locker room up by just one, but it felt like Hershey should have been leading by more.

But, early in the third, the T-Birds tied it on a Zach Dean knuckler that fooled Hunter and made it 3-3, Springfield had come back from 3 down and being out played for most of the 2 periods. Both teams would go to overtime, and this would be the period Springfield would dominate as they held the puck for most of, if not almost all of the OT.

Hunter made some key saves including a poke check on a streaking Vrana, Hunter made only 3 saves on 3 shots but it felt like 20 in just 5 minutes and the two teams went into a shootout.

Springfield went first as Ryan Suzuki failed to score as did Alex Limoges for the Bears, Jakub Vrana would out deke and wait out Hunter but rang the crossbar to keep the shootout at 0.

Pierrick Dube would rifle a shot past Zherenko to make it 1-0, as Adam Gauette came over the boards for the T-Birds, he would shoot the puck wide, and Hershey would get the extra point in the SO and win!

 

Hershey would return home on Saturday to face the Providence Bruins just before the holidays as Mike Sgarbossa reentered the lineup and Clay Stevenson would be in net for Hershey.

However, in net for Providence was not Brandon Bussi, but Micheal DiPiertro, that’s right, its Rick’s DiPietro son, the infamous Islanders goalie!

Hershey would come out flying again as they have most of the season, putting 9 shots on Michael matching the 2-period total of the previous matchup.  Halfway through the first Vincent Iorio would whistle a blue line shot that beat Micheal and give Hershey the lead.

It was his 4th of the season and second against the P-Bruins, fitting that Vinny gets the last goal against the Bruins and the first one of this game.

However, in the second the Bruins would answer as Vincent Arseneau would lift a puck over Clay to tie the game, this was the Providence team I was used to, always having an answer for us.

The Bears would answer with a goal from a unlikely source as Captain Dylan McIllrath would net 2 goals in under 3 minutes to give Hershey a 3-1 lead, Dylan did not a goal in the whole 22/23 regular season, not has 3 for this year.

Providence would tack on another as Anthony Richard would find a loose puck to make it 3-2, in the third period, Hershey would get one back as Pierrick Dube would throw a puck that would bounce around and find the back of the net!

It was Dube’s 16th goal of the season, matching his total from last year and tying him for the AHL lead, But Dube would get into penalty trouble.  Dube would go off for boarding and while arguing the call got another two minutes for mouthing to the officials.  This gave Providence a 4 minute Power Play with 6 minutes to go, as we watched Hershey kill the penalty, we waited for DiPietro to get pulled to make it a 6x4, but for some reason Coach Ryan Mougenel did not until 90 seconds left in the game and after the penalty was killed off.

Riley Walsh would find a rebound and blast it into the back of the net to make it 4-3 with 44.8 seconds left to make things interesting, but Hershey held on and took both games of the weekend!

Hershey win gave them 24 wins at the 30-game mark good for 48 points that leads the AHL and the division by 13 points now.  While it is early, this is an incredible start for the Bears!

Hershey has a few days off until Wednesday as WBS comes back to Hershey for the first time in a month for another Wednesday night tilt.  The Bears will hit the road this weekend, traveling to Rochester New York to face the Americans for the first time since the Eastern Conference Finals.  Then it’s off to Allentown to take on the Phantoms on Saturday.

That’s my opinion GO BEARS!

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Bears Recap for 12/19

The Bears were back at it in a weekend home set, finishing up a five-game homestead, seeing Hershey take on The Laval Rocket, farm club of the Montreal Canadians.  On Sunday, the Springfield Thunderbirds would come in with 2 former Bears returning to Giant Center.

 

Saturday was Hunter Shepard Bobblehead night at Giant Center as fans stormed door opening to get one of 5,000 bobbleheads, spoiler alert, I did get one.  Over 9,000 Bears packed Giant Center to see the Bears take on a Canadian team, which means double anthem night!

Hershey would have some injury issues as Mike Vecchione was still out and Joe Snively unavailable due to a callup from the Capitals.

 

Hershey came out of the puck drop flying, as Hendrix Lapierre would lead a 2x1 breakaway with Garret Roe, Roe passed to Lappy, then Lappy back to Roe who batted the puck past Strass Mann to score his first goal as a Bear.  Many fans, I included, wanted Roe to get a goal as he seems to be one of the veterans that wants to help these kids come along.

Roe got his first, with assists to Lapierre and Logan Day, Hershey would not stop there as Roe would get another one as Aaron Ness threw a puck in front of Mann leading to a big net scramble.  The puck bounced around, both Roe and Miro poked at the puck, and it finally went in as the Bears went up 2-0 and Mann whined for Interference.

Hershey had 9 shots on goal less than 10 minutes into the game and two of them went into the net, as the game settled down a bit, the scoring chances for Hershey would not.  The Bears lead in shots 12-5 as Hershey got a late powerplay, Hershey got set up and Lapierre would find a wide-open Ivan Miroshnichenko to put the Bears up 3-0.  Miro had all day to put the net in net, he could have checked the weather, scrolled X and then shot the puck and still scored!

 

On the Second period, Strauss Mann still stayed in net and Hershey continued to toy with their prey, Hershey had chance after chance on the Rocket who looked like a tired team. Chase Priske would throw a shot from the blue line to the net and Riley Sutter was there to catch the rebound and make it 4-0. 

Laval would get one on the board as William Trudeau would shoot from the FOX43 ad on the Giant Center board and it somehow got past Hunter to put Laval on the board.  While the shutout was ruined, Hershey was still up on 24-11 after two.

The Third period saw Laval get a early power play and for a brief two minutes, we thought if Laval got a goal here, things would get interesting.  Sadly, for Laval they did not, and Alex Limoges would get 2 goals to put this game even more out of reach at 6-1.

Hershey would get one last powerplay at the 18:29 mark of the 3rd and Coach Todd Nelson put out the 2nd Powerplay unit to try and get Roe his third.  Hershey gave every opportunity to the veteran to get his first career hat trick and Limoges would find Row ide open for a back door shot to give him the 3-goal night and sent Giant Center into a celebration for the veteran!

Hats were thrown, hugs were shared, I nearly lost my voice and the Bears would win, in their most dominant game all season 7-1 the final!

On Sunday, the Springfield Thunderbirds would come to town, the farm club of the St. Louis Blues, would also bring 2 former Bears in as well, Nathan walker and Jakub Vrana.

Both these T-Birds played on the Bears in the Calder Cup Finals run of 2015/16 and the Stanley Cup Capitals team in 2018, made their returns to Hershey, this was Vrana’s first trip back since being traded to Detroit in 2021.

The goalie match up tonight was a rematch of the 2023 Eastern Conference Finals as Hunter Shepard took on Malcom Subban.

This game had a playoff feel to it, the game was hard hitting, low shot totals and both teams giving it their all just to make scoring chances. Hershey would start the fireworks as Dylan McIllrath and Sam Bitten would clash in a blue lien tilt in front of the Bears bench.  The Giant Center erupted in cheering as the two traded fists, Dylan wore down Sam Bitten as he got one last punch on the cheekbone of Bitten as he went down.  One of the best fights in Hershey in the better part of a decade.

The action was tense as both goalies had ice water in their veins, stopping in tight chances, power play opportunities and random puck bounces.  However, Pierrick Dube would skate into the half circle and unleash a power shot at Subban which he blocked with his arm, but it was not enough to stop the puck from bouncing past him and into the goal.  Dube would get his 14th goal and give the Bears the lead, in a goal that felt more like an April Playoff Goal than a Sunday afternoon December goal.

Springfield would try to find the tying goal but would not as Hershey held off the Thunderbirds and swept the weekend! 

I have a feeling we may see this team again in May, this Thunderbirds team is fast and big and like a playoff team.

Hershey would stay atop the Atlantic division with 44 points and that is good enough for leading the AHL with the Hartford wolfpack 8 points behind Hershey but, 3 games in hand,

The Bears have 2 more games before Christmas as we travel up to Springfield on Friday the 22nd for the rematch against the Thunderbirds and then Providence comes back for their rematch on the 23rd at Giant Center as its Ham shoot night.

Happy Holiday Hockey and may the Hockey Gods bless us one and all!

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Bears Recap for 12/13

I’m back for another Bear recap, apologizes for the late recap and not getting a weekend recap, it’s been Christmas Crunch time here in the studio.

Last Weekend the Bears had a Loser Sandwich of three games in three games.

Friday L vs Syracuse 4-1

Saturday W vs Cleveland 6-0! And Clay Stevenson’s 4th shutout of the Season, he needs one more to tie the Bears shutout rookie record.  The All-Time AHL shutout record is held by Former Pittsburgh Penguins Goalie Matt Murray with 12.

Sunday L vs Charlotte 3-1 The Bears their Ugly Xmas sweater jerseys and went 0-3 on Specialty jerseys night this season.

The Bears would continue their 5-game homestead against a very familiar foe in the Providence Bruins, a team Hershey has had a lot of trouble with for the better part of a decade.

Hershey was able to beat the P-Bruins back in October twice up in RI, however that was a very different Bruins team.  They were still finding their identity and just lying in the weeds ready to go on a 6-game streak around the holidays.  They do this EVERY. SINGLE. SEASON!

The Bears were looking to make some history on Wednesday night by tying the shortest time it took to win 20 games, matched only by the 2008-9 team.

Your goalies tonight are Hunter Shepard and Brandon Bussi

Hershey would strike first as Ivan MIroshinchencko would snipe a shot over the glove of Bussi to open the scoring only 59 seconds into the game.  Miro used a Bruins as a screen and shot it through the defender’s legs past Bussi for a beauty of a goal.

It was his 7th goal of the season with assists to Ethan Frank, the action would slow down after the first goal as Providence began to play their game. A hard checking, shot blocking, low scoring type of game.

Even after the first period the shots were 6-6 and felt like a Bruins type of game, the second period would continue this style of play as the emotions started to heat up.  After any whistle a Bruin and Bear would push and shove, Dylan McIlrath made a few friends defending his teammates, former Bear Jason Megna was being a pest and each team kept trading hit after hit.

This would lead to penalty trouble for the Bears as they would start a march to the sin bin in the 2nd with a weak slash call, several roughing calls and a tripping minor late in the second.

The Bruins would tie the game on a net mouth scramble as a bouncing puck found a Bruin in front of Hunter and buried it, Joey Abate would get his second of the season.

Hershey’s penalty trouble would continue Mike Sgarbossa would go off for a Hooking call as the Bears fans would start the “Refs you suck” chants.  It would not help as Providence would take the lead on a PPG as Markulv would be left wide open as the goal ty killers would follow 2 Bruins below the goal line for some reason and leave 2 other Bruins along in front of Hunter.

Entering the third I had a familiar feeling about this game, Providence was going to do what they always to and hold Hershey at bay and grind out a 2-1 victory.  It’s like big brother picking on his little brother by holding out his hand and keeping his little bro at bay while the kid keeps swinging away. 

The Bears up their show total from 10-to 16 to get back into this game, a power play for Hershey midway through the third would give the Bers the opening to tie the game.

Ethan Frank would feed Mike Sgarbossa on the near boards, who saucer passed it over to Pierrick Dube with a quick wrister that got past Bussi and tied the game! It was Dube’s team leading 13th goal and Sgarbossa would pick up his 20th assist of the season.

Both teams would trade chances late in the third, but the goalie stood firm and we were heading to overtime.

Providence was able to win the faceoff and control most of the play in the extra session.  Providence’s strategy in OT was a slow approach, lots of skating around, cross skating high in the zone to confuse assignments and wait to the right spot to open up.  Hershey would take advantage of a steal behind the net and Sgarbossa would feed Vincent Iorio up the ice for a 2 on 1 break with Ethen Frank.

Vincent held his shot as a Bruins defender would slide to take away the pass to Ethen Frank, however Vinny would snipe the puck over Bussi shoulder and win the game for the chocolate and white! Vinny celebrated by shushing the Bruins as they skated off and would give Hershey their 20th win of the season. 

This is Hershey’s 3rd win over the P-Bruins and guarantees a spilt at minimum of the season series, this was another come from behind win and this team keeps rolling even after a bad weekend.

The Bears have a pair of games this weekend: Saturday vs the Laval Rocket farm club of the Montreal Canadians and playing just as bad.  Sunday will see the Springfield Thunderbird first visit to Hershey this year and the possible return of 2 former Bears in Nathan Walker and possibly Jakub Vrana.

Be sure to check out The Girt and Bear It Podcast, the first and only Hershey Bears podcast wherever you get your podcasts.

 

And I will see you at Giant Center this weekend GO BEARS!

That’s my opinion!

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Bears Recap for 12/5

Hi everyone, I am back for another round of Bear recap as we hit the month of December, there is a lot of Bears hockey and a lot of hockey in general.  Let’s get to it!

It’s Wednesday so you know what that means, another game against the Wilkes Barre Scranton Baby Pens, the 3rd straight Wednesday night game against the black and gold.  Scheduling can be weird sometimes; your goalies are Hunter Shepard for Hershey and Joel Blomqvist for WBS.

The Bears started the game in penalty trouble as Aaron Ness went off for tripping and Hershey face one of the best Home Power Play in WBS at 29.7%. This is a really good number as you want your PP to be in the low to mid 20s. And WBS showed why they are the best as Same Houde deflected a Xavier Ouellet shot past Hunter to make it 1-0.

The Baby Pens would strike again as Sam Houde got another deflection in the net, almost in the same spot on the ice and it was 2-0.  I thought to myself at this point, it’s not our night.

Hershey would get on the board as Vincent Iorio scored just as a Power play expired to put Hershey on the board for his 2nd of the season.  It was 2-1 only briefly as WBS would get another Powerplay and Valtteri Puustinen would find a wide-open Rem Pitlick who buries the puck, and it is now 3-1 Pens.

At this point, it’s the end of the first period and I thought, it was a nice run, a 6-game winning streak, sitting atop the AHL, its okay of the streak ends here. 

Well, Hershey got their offensive mojo working as Mike Sgarbossa ripped a powerplay goal home after a nice feed from Chase Priske to make it 3-2.  This would be Chae’s 10th assist on the season.

The score would not stay that way for long as Alex Limoges found a wide-open Joe Snively streaking behind the defense, who summoned the powers of God and Anime to roof a backshot over Blumqvist and tie the game! 

A few minutes later Garret and the third line went to work as he dug a puck out if the corner and slid the puck over to Pierrick Dube who shoots and scores! Hershey now has the lead 4-3, It is Dube’s 8th of the season, and it is turning into a great find for Hershey.

Late in the second, Ivan Miroshnichenko would find Riley Sutter open in front of Blumqvist almost the same play they did against Iows to make it 5-3, for Riley third straight goal in three straight games!

In the 3rd period, WBS would change goalies as Joel was out and Marcus Hellberg was in to try and spark the Baby Pens.  WBS would cut into Hershey’s lead at Joona Koppanen would (Stop me if you heard this before) deflect a point shot past Hunter. It was 5-4 with 13:45 to play, but the Bears responded as Riley Sutter found Miro to the side of the net and threw a puck on Hellberg and it somehow got past him.  

It was Miro’s fifth of the campaign and one that Marcus would want back.  WBS would pull their goalie with 4 minutes to go and it paid off as Jonathan Gruden would rip a shot from the circles that wasn’t’ deflected, to make it interesting 6-5. 

However, Hershey would get a empty netter from Joe Snively and that sealed it for Hershey 7-5 the final!

IT was Hershey third straight win against WBS, making them 5-2 against the Baby Pens, Hershey will not play WBS until December 27th.

On Friday as Hershey would hit the road, they would travel south of the Mason-Dixon line to take on the Charlotte Checkers, it’s the Bears first meeting with the Florida Panther’s farm club since the Calder Cup Playoffs.

Your Goalies Clay Stevenson for Hershey and Spencer Knight for the Checkers

Charlotte would come out flying taking the game’s first 5 shots on Clay who stood firm against the early onslaught.  Hershey would strike first as Riley Sutter blasted a shot over the shoulder of Knight after a faceoff win from Matt Strome.  IT was Riley’s fourth straight goal in 4 games as his hot play continues.

Hershey would not stop there as Ivan MIroshinchenko would find a rebound from a Vincent Iorio shot that also hit a Checkers on the way to Spencer Knight to give Hershey a 2-0 lead. 

In the Second, Charlotte would get on the board as Patrick Khodorenko (that’s a mouthful) would get one past Clay to make it 2-1.

The Bears would answer back as Pierrick Dube would rip a laser shot past Knight to give Hershey a 2-goal cushion, 3-1.  IT was Dube’s 10th of the season and really turning into a asset for the Bears.

Dube would add another after Jimmy Huntington would come out of the corner with a puck and find a wide-open Dube for his 11th of the season and a 4-1 lead. That assist would give Huntington 100 points for his pro career.

Charlotte would get one back in the 3rd to make it 4-2, but the game never felt in doubt as Hershey sealed the game for their 8th straight win and 17th overall, making it the best start ever for a Bears hockey club.

Saturday would see the rematch between these two as Clay went again for Hershey as Hunter Shepard was recalled backing up the Capitals in Vegas.

Charlotte would start the scoring this time as Uvis Balinskis would get his 1st AHL goal after being sent down by the Panthers, as he picked the top corner on Clay with a NHL caliber shot.

Charlotte would take the lead into the locker room while outshooting Hershey 9-5, Hershey would find the tying goal as Joe Snively made a perfect cross ice pass to Aaron Ness who scored! It was Ness’s first goal of the season and Snively 12th assist.

Hershey would take the lead on a Ethan Frank laser shot over the shoulder of (checks notes) Ludovic Weaber (odd name) to make it 2-1 Hershey, Franks shot was setup from Mike Sgarboissa would has 18 assists on the season, which is good for 3rd overall in the AHL.

Ethan Would get another as Vincent Iorio would find a streaking Ethen down the right side of the ice and would sneak a shot past Ludovic which he would probably want back.  It was Ethan’s 2nd of the game and 10th of the season.

In the 3rd, the Bears would tack on another goal as Jimmy Hunting made a brilliant slap pass to Joe Snively who buried the puck past Weaber to make it 4-1.

However, the Checkers would respond with a Lucas Carlsson point shot that found its way through traffic to make it 4-2, it was Lucas’s 8th of the season, not bad for a offensive defensemen.

Late in the period, the Checkers would pull their goalie to try and make the game more stressful for Bears fans in PA, but Ethen Frank would get a empty net goal and make it a Hat trick for him.  His 11th goal of the season would seal the deal for the Bers who would sweep their 3 straight weekend and make it 9 in a row for the defending Calder Cup Champions.

Hershey sits atop the Atlantic division at 18-4-0-0 and first overall in the AHL but remember its only December.  The Bears have one more road game on Friday as they travel up I-81 to take on the Syracuse Crunch, after that its back home for a pair games, Saturday vs the Monsters and Sunday vs the Checkers, which kicks off a lengthy homestead for the Chocolate and White.

That’s my opinion and GO BEARS!

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Bears Recap for 11/28/2023

Hello everyone, I am back from Thanksgiving week for some Hershey Bears hockey recap, apologizes for last week as I was having some real-life issues to deal with.  Those are done and over with, so lets move onto the hockey!

Back on Wednesday November 22nd the Hershey Bears restarted a annual tradition of playing a home game on Thanksgiving eve and it makes sense to have a hockey game.  Mostly everyone is off at least during the day, all your friends are home from college so let’s do that hockey!

Its Wednesday night and you know that that means…. Its Hershey Bears vs the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Baby Penguins for the 2nd of three straight Wednesday night matchups between these two teams. It’s also the 5th of 12 meetings between the two, with the Bears record of 2-3 against the Baby Pens.

Once again it was Hunter Shepard vs Joel Blumqvist, and the two teams started quick, but the Bears were quicker as Dylan McIlrath fired a blue line shot with eyes that got past Joel to give the Bears an early 1-0 lead.

Many were surprised to see Dylan’s shot got through a few Pens and into the net, the shot seemed to bounce of a WBS Defender and found the back of the net.  However, Wilkes would answer back with a Rem Pitlick wrister that beat Hunter on the low glove side to tie the game.

The goal was Rem’s fourth of the season and Johnathan Gruden’s 4th assist and no, NOT THAT JOHN GRUDEN! After the first period, Hershey and WBS were tied on shots at 10 and me and my crew just said, that was a period of hockey.

In the 2nd period, the Hershey fourth line, the grind line or the Crackle line as I am trying to call it, got to work wearing down the Baby Pens.  This fourth line consisting of Miro, Riley and Strome, would play the body, forecheck greatly and cause havoc for anyone on the ice.

They had no problem going into the corners and digging pucks out, battling for every 50-50 puck battle to generate offense and they did just that. As Ivan MIroshinchenko battled for a loose puck behind the net and as he got the puck loose, he didi a between the legs pass from the boards to a wide-open Riley Sutter who despoited the puck and gave Hershey the lead.

It would be Riley 2nd of the year and Miro-s fifth assist with Hardy Haman Aktell getting his first assist of the season.  Miro sat down last Saturday in Bridgeport for reasons of watching the game from the stands, to help improve his game, this was done to Hendrix Lappierre last season during the Calder Cup run and it paid off again.

That goal would be enough for Hershey as they took the Thanksgiving eve game with a final score of 2-1 and sent the 8,000 plus home happy to await the incoming holiday.  The win evened up the season series to 3-3.

 

After Turkey Day and the following International Cold Turkey Leftovers Day (Black Friday) Hershey would welcome a different team to Chocolate Town.  The Iowa Wild would make their first ever trip to Giant Center for a weekend set, I was excited back in July when schedules were announced to see Hershey play a team West of Ohio.  Iowa would be the Farthest West regular Season team the Bears have played in over a decade.

Iowa came into town with a 6-7-1 record on the season, thanks mostly to their goalie Jesper Wallstedt a 6’3 213-pound tender, who was drafted by Minnesota 20th overall in 2021.

I was so excited to see Iowa Wild, I have always loved the Minnesota Wild’s jerseys and to see the bright green at Giant Center was a welcome sight after a month of Black/Gold, Orange/Black, and Blue/Orange.

In the first period on Saturday, the Wild came out flying, playing a loose and fast brand of hockey, not as fast and skilled as Coachella valley was last June, but it was western Conference hockey.  This caught the Bears off guard as they looked like they could not keep up with the Wild and was playing sloppy with passes not connection and the speed not matching the boys in green.

Hershey did not register their 2nd shot on goal until 9 minutes to go in the first, but the score remained 0-0 after one, coach was not happy about the opening period for the Bears.  Coach would later say, he felt the boys still had some turkey left in them.

IN the second Hershey would find their legs and start generating more offense and during up their physical play, the Bears started checking Wild into boards and forcing them off of pucks.  Dyaln McIlrath delivered a big open ice hit on a Wild player that really woke up the Giant Center.

Later in the second, Alex Limoges would bury a low wrister that pinged off the post and beat Jesper and gave Hershey a 1-0 lead, the Giant Center erupted as the Bears scored.  Alex got his fourth of the season, Chase Priske his seventh assist and Jow Snivley would get his 1oth.

Unfortunately, Hershey committed a hockey sin and allowed a last-minute goal as Gavn Hain would collect a rebound and throw it by Hunter to tie the game.  It was his first AHL goal as 2 former Providence Bruins, Vinny Letteri and Jake Lucchini would assist on the play.

In the third, the physical play would continue as both teams starting throwing big hits after big hits, both were at a stale mate as Iowa’s inconsistent offense started to show after a hot start, and Iowa Defense was neutralizing Hershey top line.

Later in the third, the game seemed to have overtime written all over it, but Pierrick Dube would steal a breakout pass on a forecheck, working the puck around the zone to his teammates.  Logan Day would find Dube on a brilliant feed who put a big blast on net that beat Jesper and gave the Beas the lead with 324 to go.

It was Pierrick Dube’s 7th of the season. Logan’s sixth assist and Chase’s eighth of the season and second of the game.

Iowa would pull their goalie shortly after and try to tie the game, but the Hershey D stood strong and closed out the game to give Hershey the win 2-1 yet again. IT was ugly, grind it out type of win but it was one that Coach Nelson was proud of, even if the first was a slow start.

On a Sunday afternoon game, where coffee and energy drinks were needed, the rematch between the two clubs would commence.   Iowa knowing, they had a long plan ride ahead of them were looking to salvage anything out of this weekend.

Hershey would start Clay Stevenson in net as Iowa would start Zane McIntyre another former Providence Bruin making the total number of former P-Bruins on this team to 3.

Hershey had no slow start in this game as they came out swinging against Iowa, picking up where they left off the previous night with heavy forechecking and physical gameplay.

This would get Iowa into penalty trouble as Steven Fogarty (Former P-Bruins #4) would go the penalty box for slashing, if any weakness in the Bears; game would be their Power Play as it has slipped in the lowa teens.

Hershey would finally break that cold streak as Ethen Frank ripped a LASER past Zane to open the scoring for Hershey and lead 1-0.

It was Ethen’s eighth of the season, Chase’s ninth assist fo the season and Mike Sgarbossa’s 15th assists, keeping Mike in the Top 5 assists leaders in the early season.

Hershey would not stop on the PP scoring as a few minutes later, Hershey got another PP and just as a friend of mine said” Wouldn’t it be great if we got another?”


Alex Limoges would collect a rebound and beat Zane again to give Hershey a 2-0 lead and their second PPG.

Limoges has 5 goals on the season, Sgarbossa got his 16th assist and Ethen Frank got another point with a secondary helper.

After that. Hershey took over the game with strong defensive play with winning puck battles and physical play once again, while Hershey would not have as many big hits as the previous night.

 

You could tell why this Iowa team struggled with this team; they looked like a complete different team in front of Zane McIntyre how has a record of 0-5-3 on the season.

Iowa would get one back on a Power Play of their own in the second as Jake Lucchini would bury a rebound on a rush to cut Hershey’s lead in half.  Nic Petan would his 13th assist, and the captain Dakota Mermis would get his first AHL point.

However, it was not enough for the Boys in green and white as Hershey was able to lockout the game defensively and not only sweep another weekend, but also win with the 3rd consecutive night a score of   2-1!

It was a good weekend for the boys adding to their Atlantic division lead with a record of 15-4-0-0 which is good for the top spot in all of the AHL.

Hershey will now hit the road for a while, with another Wednesday night game in WBS, followed by a weekend trip to Charlotte to battle the Checkers.  On December 8th Hershey will travel to take on the Syracuse Crunch up I-81 and then finally back home on the 9th to take on the Cleveland Monsters.

Don’t forget to check out the Grit and Bear It Podcast on all podcast platforms for more coverage of the Hershey bears and that’s my opinion.

GO BEARS!

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Bears Recap for 11/14/2023

The Hershey Bears returned to action this week after having a literal bye week, last playing on Saturday November 4th, the boys would play again until the 11th.  On that Veterans Day the Bears took a trip to the Electro drome or commonly known as the PPL Center.

On the corner of 7th and Hamilton Street, sits the Bears’ eastern rivals in the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, the affiliate of the Philadelphia Flyers.  If you walk into said building, you will instantly be bombarded with signage that lets you know that they are the Flyers’ affiliates.  Their fanbase embodies the spirit of Philly vs The World!

As Hershey went into this Saturday night tilt is was the first of six visits to the PPL Center this season, after a bye week and numerous callups by the Capitals.  Which saw Hunter Shepeard, Dylan McIllrath and Mike Sgarbossa get called up in a single week, only one of them came back to Hershey and it was Mike Sgarbossa. 

The Bears went with Clay Stevenson between the pipes with Mitchell Gibson backing up, and with the highest attendance for a Phantoms game since the pandemic we were underway.

The first half of the first period was a feeling out process between the two clubs, trading chances and laying off the rush, hoping not to make an early mistake.  Neither team took a penalty until the 12-minute mark of the first period and for these two teams, that is tame.

In the middle of the period, Mike Sgarbossa threw a shot at Phantoms goalie, Parker Gahagen, which seemed to fool him a bit, as he left a loose puck in the blue paint.  He swung around to get the puck, only to knock the loose puck off a Bear and into the net.  Hershey had its first goal at the PPL Center, and the Phantoms faithful wanted a goaltender interference call or challenge.

Alas, such things are not possible in the AHL, and the Bears were on the board, Mike Vecchione would get credit for the goal, his fifth of the season and Mike Sgarbossa would get his 10th assist of the season.

Hershey would take the lead into the second period, the pace would pick up in the middle frame as each squad played a bit looser, almost turning into fire wagon hockey. 

Early in the second Dmitry Osipov making his Bears debut would make a statement in leveling Elliot Desnoyers after a center ice dump in.  Elliot stayed down after the hit as it was a clean shoulder ot body hit but Elliot had his head down and was helped up by his teammates and escorted to the locker room.  Ronnie Atturd stepped in to defend his teammates and had a scrap with Dmitry and both went off for fighting. 

Later in the second, Pierrick Dube would lead a charge into the Phantoms zone and use his speed to wrap around the net and slide the puck underneath parker to give Hershey a 2-0 lead.  This would be Dube’s fifth of the season, who is turning into a sbsoulte steal for the Bears and as he has nine points on the young season.  Logan Day and Aaron Ness would get helpers on the play.

After that tally, it would be all the Bears needed as the defense took over and stalled any offense the Phantoms would attempt.  Zone entries were broken up, dump ins were collected by Bears and sticks were getting in shooting lanes.  Hershey would also commit to physical play; they weren’t afraid to go into the corners and dug the puck out or staple Phantoms into the boards.

No goals came in the third and the Bears left the PPL Center with a 2-0 win and Clay Stevenson’s second shutout of the season, the other was also against the Phantoms on October 28th.

The two teams had a rematch on Sunday afternoon as it was Hockey Fights Cancer night for the Hershey Bears, an emotional night for all fans and players as the organization has been affected by all types of cancer. 

Me being up in press row again, I made sure to wear purple along with the rest of the media crew, as I looked out into the Giant Center crowed, I saw a mix of Hershey bears lavender and pink jerseys scattered through out the lower bowl, always warms the heart to see such a sight. 

The Bears wore special HFC warmup jerseys, these were auctioned off post-game with the highest being Pierrick Dube at $3,100.

IN a last-minute decision Mike Vecchione was scratched for tonight’s game, he was added to the list of Bears players missing for the week.

Hershey came out flying to start the game, playing the body and getting shots on Nolan Meier, as Clay Stevenson would get the start for the 2nd consecutive game.  Hershey outshot the Phantoms 10-2 halfway through the first and figured it would be a matter of time before they broke through.

Unfortunately, it was the Phantoms that struck first as Garrett Wilson did the same wraparound trick that Dube did the previous night and slid the puck five hole on Clay to put the Phantoms ahead.  Hershey would outshoot the boys in orange 14-7 by the end of the first, but still trail on the big board.

However, in a touching moment, during a media timeout the Bears ran a video about Garrett Roe and how he lost his mother to cancer and why he wears number 65.  His mother’s birthday is June 5th, so he wears 65 in her honor. The fans stood and gave an ovation to Roe who was lined up for a faceoff and saluted the crowd.  Roe held back his emotions and tears as he was touched by the actions of the fans and organization and the refs gave him a minute to collect himself before resuming play.  A wonderful moment that will live in Bears nation minds. 

In the second, Hershey would even things up as Ivan Miroshnichenko would cut into the slot and rip a shot past Meir to tie the game.  Ivan Miroshnichenko is a cancer survivor himself, a year after battling Hodgkin’s lymphoma, he gets a goal on HFC night, the hockey gods have blessed this game.

The Phantoms would strike back as Rhett Gardner would rip a shot low blocker side on Clay to give the Phantoms the lead back, 2-1.  It was Rhett’s third of the season with Garrett Wilson and Helge Grans getting assists.

Later in the second, Riley Sutter, to get his team going delivered a big hit on Ronnie Atturd into the boards, the two exchanged shoves and looked like they were going to fight.  Garrett Wilson, remembering the previous night, stepped in for teammate and challenged Sutter.  Riley backed off the fight since he wanted to scrap with Ronnie, not Wilson.  Both got 5 minutes for fighting with Wilson getting 2 extra for instigating and 10 minutes for a misconduct for entering as a third man in a fight. 

This would also give Garrett Wilson the Gordie Howe hat trick, a goal and assist and a fight. 

Heading into the third period, Hershey tried to get back into the game, but the Phantoms played the same type of game Hershey did the night prior.  They won board battles for pucks, played physically and Hershey’s offense never got in a groove as point passes were broken up.  Bears shots were blocked or passed up for an extra pass, dump and chase attempts were broken up, it was frustrating and at times boring to watch.

The Phantoms would get another goal as another wrap around attempt was made by Cooper Marody who instead of shooting, passed it to a wide-open Jon-Randall Avon for a easy goal.  This was Avon’s third of the season and second against the Bears.

Lehigh would tack on another as they would get a power play goal from Coope Marody, his fourth of the season and that was enough to somewhat spoil the HFC night in Hershey.

Phantoms won 4-1, snapping Hershey 5 game home winning streak, and 3 game winning streaks against the Phantoms AND a 3-game winning streak on HFC nights. 

Alas, this night was not about winning or losing, it was about supporting the battles against cancer and honoring those in the fight against this horrible disease.  While the loss stings, especially against a rival, the Bears were due for a let down game and this was it.

Head Coach Todd Nelson was not pleased with the effort in Sunday’s game says, “If I listed all the things, I was unhappy about tonight’s game, we would be here all night.”

This week, the boys are back at it on a Wednesday Night, as they go back to WBS to take on the baby Pens at Mohegan Sun Arena, then the boys are back home on Friday November 17th for a home and home set against the Bridgeport, ugh, Islanders, Friday at Giant Center, Saturday night at Total Mortgage Arena in Bridgeport.

The following week sees the boys come home for 3 games over Thanksgiving week as WBs comes to town for Thanksgiving eve, then the much anticipated 2 game set against the Iowa Wild on Black Friday and the following Saturday.

 

That’s my opinion, Go Bears!

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Hershey Bears Recap – 11/7

 

With the Month of October behind us, the Bears turn their sights to a rather busy month of November, which sees the hockey club have 12 games in the month.  Seven of those games will be at home and the rest on the road only leaving the state of Pennsylvania once, Bridgeport, CT on Saturday November 18th.

 

This past Friday the boys traveled up I-81 to take on their rivals, the Wilkes barre/Scarton Baby Penguins, affiliate of the Pittsburgh Penguins and they are more than happy to tell you that.  Last time the boys traveled to Northeast PA, the Bears ran out of the Mohegan Sun Arena with a 5-1 final.

 

Hershey was looking to avenge that loss with Hunter Shepard starting this time instead of Clay Stephenson and Joel Blumqvist in net for the home squad.

 

Hershey would get a powerplay early as Austin Rueschhoff went off for interference, the WBS faithful (all 30 of them) were not happy with the call, thankfully the organ cue to insult the refs did not play, yet.

 

Mike Vecchione would make them pay as he received a feed from underneath the goal line in his usual bumper spot and give Hershey the lead 1-0.  Mike Sgarbossa and Chase Priske would get assists on the play, and it is Hershey’s first lead up in WBS.

 

Hershey would take the lead into the locker room with the shots even at 7-7

 

In the second period, the Bears play would become a bit out of sync, Hershey would get several Power play chances in the period but could not get set up in the zone.

 

Almost every time the puck was played to the point, no one would be there to catch it or the puck would hop over someone’s stick and leave the zone.  It was very frustrating to watch and was noted on the broadcast that ice conditions were not the best, as the ice seemed chippy.

 

As time wined down in the period, you could feel the ice shift in WBS favor as they made a late minute surge to tie the game, and they were successful.  Alex Nylander would bury a shot from the slot, similar to Mike Vecchione’s and the game was tied.

 

The goal sends Hershey to the locker room along with that cursed goal horn blasting so loud, it spiked Zack’s radio broadcast.  Nylander’s goal was his second of the season with both goals coming against Hershey…and at home, this is annoying.

 

 Itis is also what we like to call a Hockey Sin, giving up a goal within the first or last minute of the period, it completely shifts the momentum of the game towards the scoring team.

 

Into the third period, the intensity was ramped up and both teams battled for the lead, Hershey had a early power play as Taylor Fedun (The Captain) went off for tripping.  Alas the same problems that plagued the Bears PP prevented them from getting the lead.  Hershey would go down a man twice in the second half of the period, but the Penalty kill would come up strong.

In the closing minute the Baby Pens made a serious push to try and steal a win, with less than 10 seconds left, Ivan Miroschinko attempted to clear the zone on a backhand attempt.  The puck was knocked down by Dmitri Samorukov, then to Harkins and back to the point.  With 4 seconds left, Marc Johnstone threw a puck on Hunter Shepard with somehow found its way past everyone and into the net with 0.5 seconds remaining.

 

The Bears argued that time had run out with the green lights coming on behind Hunter instead of Red, signaling the end of the period.  However, the referees confirmed it was a good goal with .5 seconds left and WBS took the game 2-1.

 

Coach Todd Nelson was not happy with the performance, not with giving up a super late goal, he felt the Bears lack intensity, losing puck battles and missing passes.   I, myself, was furious at this loss, not that we lost, but how we lost on a last second shot, that should never have happened to begin with.  If the game went to overtime and they Bears lost 2-1, I would have shrugged my shoulder said

“meh, we got a point” instead like Gene Wilder once said, “You get nothing, you lose, GOOD DAY SIR!”

 

On Saturday the boys were back at it for a Saturday matchup against Bridgeport, ugh, Islanders, Coach challenged his players to respond with a better effort.  Even saying, “if they do not play hard tonight, they will practice hard on Monday.’  That sounds like a leave-the-puck-bag behind type of practice which means, nothing but sprints!

 

Hershey sent out Clay Stevenson on the tail end of a back-to-back and the Islanders started Jeremey Skarek.

 

The first period saw the Bears come out a bit flat, once again missing passes and feeling a bit off, Hershey would get 2 powerplays early in the first but would not capitalize on them.  Islanders would strike first on a goal front scramble as Paul Ladue knocked down a clearing attempt and feed the puck down low, as the puck bounced around the crease among skates and sticks, Samuel Asselin would knock the puck in to make it 1-0.

 

Fans argued for a goaltender interference and in the NHL any coach would have challenged that call, but in the AHL you can only challenge for good goals.  So, the score remained 1-0, Hershey would get another Power play chance as Eetu Liukas went off for tripping, as the powerplay was expiring, Logan Day unleashed a blast that beat Skarek low glove side to tie the game.  It was not a power play goal, but it was Logan Day’s second of the season with Joe Snively and Henrik Rybinski getting assists.

 

Hershey would go into the second period down 10-4 on shots, despite having 3 powerplays in the period.  No scoring would happen in the middle frame, in fact not much of anything happened, Hershey was still getting outplayed by an Islanders team while fresher, because they did not play on Friday night.

 

Into the third period we go, and Hershey got two more power play chances making it their 6th on the night, after a collapsing net scramble play, the puck found its way back to Chase Priske who winded up and fired towards Skarek, who barely saw the puck go by him and gave Hershey the lead. It was Chase’s second of the season with assist to Mike Sgrbossa and Alex Limoges.

 

Just as I was typing my Goal tweet, Joe Snivley stripped the puck away from an Islanders and fed a streaking Alex Limoges who deked Skarek to open the five hole and slide the puck underneath him to make it 3-1.

 

Two quick goals for Hershey in the span of 25 seconds turned the game in their favor and it was enough to seal the victory in front of over 8,000 on a Saturday night.

 

The win got Hershey back in the win column and move them to 8-3-0-0 on the young season and 1st place in the Atlantic Division and at the times of this article, 1st overall in the American Hockey League.

 

The Bears are on a long break this week with no mid-week games nor a Friday night game as well.  They will travel up I-78 to Allentown to take on the Lehigh Valley Phantoms for the first time this year in the PPL Center on 7th and Hamilton.

 

Hershey will return home the next day for a Sunday afternoon tilt against said Phantoms in a quick home-and-home series.  Sunday is Hershey’s Hockey Fights Cancer night or HFC for short, as the boys will wear special lavender warmup jersey to be sold post-game.

 

After that schedule picks up in the 2nd half of November as we travel back up to WBs on a Wednesday night the 15th and then a home and home set against the Bridgeport Islanders on the 17th and 18th.

 

That’s my opinion and I will see you at Giant Center

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Bears Recap for 10/31

 

Over the past weekend, the Hershey Bears returned home for a twin set of games after finishing up a four-game road swing.  Hershey went 3-1 on the road, with the lone loss being to WBS on a clunker of a game that the Bears were due for.

 

On Saturday, Hershey welcomed their I-78 rivals to town, the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, affiliates of the Philadelphia Flyers.  This team came out playing dirty, a very grit and grind-type of a team that will knock you into the boards, clog up the neutral zone, and generally make things miserable for you.

 

Hershey would set the tone and respond this way with a fight between Jimmy Huntington and Parker Gahagen; both would sit for five minutes to cool off.

 

Hershey would get on the board first with a Power Play strike as Joe Snively found Pierrick Dube on the faceoff circle to rip a powerful shot past Cal Peterson.  Dube has been excellent at developing his shot and has found a good home on the 3rd line and the 2nd Power play unit.

 

Hershey would take a 1-0 lead into the 2nd period, where the physical play would pick up as the Phantoms would start checking the Bears more and shooting less.

 

Hershey would make them pay as the Phantoms would be much more considered with knocking down Mike Sgarbossa and Aaron Ness; Mike broke free from the pile and led a three-on-two rush down the ice.  Mike Sgarbossa would find Mike Vecchione on a crossing feed and double Hershey's lead to 2-0.

The Bears didn't get caught up in the physical play and used the distraction to push the puck up the ice and make the Phantoms pay on the scoreboard.

 

Late in the second, we would see a Penalty box march, as Nic Aubel Kubel would go off for high-sticking and get a double minor (4:00) for drawing blood.  On the ensuing faceoff, Aaron NEs would slash Phantoms players stick on the faceoff and go off for a five-on-three Powerplay.

 

Alas, that powerplay would be negated to a four-on-three as Cooper Marody dragged down a Bear, and he would go off.  Then the 2nd period ended, and the Phantoms would start the 3rd period on a 4-on-3 Powerplay, but nothing came of it, and eventually we would go from 4x3 to 4x4, then 5x4, finally 5x5 back at full strength. 

 

Later in the third, Ivan Miroshnichenko, I call him Miro for short, would lead a rush attracting three Phantoms on a partial breakaway.  Cal Peterson would stop the initial shot, but Pierrick Dube would clean up the rebound and make it 3-0.  Miro displayed his speed on the play, and Pierrick Dube has a knack for being in the right place at the right time.

 

Logan Day would go off for roughing, as the physical play would continue to frustrate the Bears at times, but the Phantoms couldn't make them pay.  Hershey's Penalty Kill remained perfect on the night, going 8-for-8.

With just under five minutes to go, the Phantoms pulled their goalie to gain an extra attacker to try and cut into the Hershey lead.  But it was for not as LOgan Day would golf-shot a puck into the open net to make it 4-0.

 

That would be all for the Phantoms as the Bears took the Saturday night game with a final of 4-0. 

 

 

On Sunday, the Wilkes Barre Scranton Baby Penguins would return to Hershey after their Wednesday night tilt, which saw WBS come out on top 5-1.

 

Hershey would get Hunter Shepard back from a brief stint in DC that saw him get his 1st NHL to win against the New Jersey Devils.  The baby Penguins would send out former Toronto Maple Leaf and Orlando Solar Bear goaltender Garrett Sparks.

 

Hershey would waste no time getting on the board as Ethan Frank ripped a top corner shot as he was left all alone in front.  Chase Priske was able to keep a puck just inside the blue line and feed Mike Sgarbossa down low, then to Ethan for the opening tally.

 

Not even minutes later, WBS would go down a man, and Hershey would make them pay as Hunter Shepard flung a puck up the ice, tapped ahead by Alex Limoges, fed to Mike Sgarbiossa, and finished by Ethan Frank.  It was liquid, fast hockey at its finest, and put the Bears ahead 2-0.

 

Later in the period, Alex set up Jimmy Hunting low in the zone with Joe Snively, both all alone in front of Garrett Sparks.  Both would play a quick back and forth, as Joe slammed the puck into the back of the net to make it 3-0.

 

The game felt like laughter after the first, with Hershey leading in shots 12-9, but it showed in the most crucial part, the scoreboard.

 

In the second, Hershey would take three consecutive penalties, and eventually, WBS would make them pay as Sam Poulin would poke home a rebound in front of Shepard.

 

WBs cut into the lead to make it 3-1; however, it would not last as Hersey would get a power play late in the second.  Pierrick Dube would throw a puck in front, and it got lost in skates and sticks; Joe Snively would find the rolling puck out of the chaos and put in an easy goal.  Hershey got a PPG and was up 4-1 after two periods. 

 

In the early Garrett Sparks would get pulled for Joel Blomqvist, as Sparky did not have a good night, but it could be a move to showcase him to Kyle Dubas, who was in attendance at Hershey. 

 

Alas, it would not do them any good as Jimmy Hungton would find a bouncing puck to put it past Joel to make it 5-1.  Dube was trying for a hat trick, but the shot got blocked; Alex Limoges tried his luck, but Blomqvist stopped the shot; Jimmy got the third shot away, which found pay dirt. 

 

The Baby Pens began to throw their weight around and stir up trouble, knowing the game was out of reach and they would play again on Friday. 

The PEns Captain challenged Ivan Miroshinchenko to a fight, and the young Russian wasted no time throwing fists at the black and gold captain.  The fight was short, but Miro showed he was not some fast winger who avoided physical play; as the kids would say, he has that dog in him!

 

Later in the third, a Bears rookie would find his first goal as Bogdan Trineyev would get a partial breakaway and beat Joel's low glove side to make it 6-1.

 

Hershey would ride out the third.  However, the victory came with a price, as Mike Sgarboosa was knocked down during play away from the puck.  HE crawled onto the ice, and his teammates helped him off the ice. 

We Bears fans thought it looked terrible, as he was slew-footed to the ice, and thought this was the yearly Mike Sgarbossa injury,

Thankfully, he returned to practice on Tuesday and appears to be skating just fine.

 

Hershey would take both games this weekend and climb atop the Atlantic division as Hartford fell to second.  The Bears will be back in action on Wed as the Phantoms return to Hershey; Friday sees the boys go back up for another road game in WBS and return Saturday for a matchup against the Bridgeport, ugh, Islanders.

 

See you all at Giant Center and Go Bears.

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Bears vs Wilkes Barre/Scranton Penguins Recap on 10/25

 

Hi everyone, I was back from my retreat to Colorado last weekend; thanks to all for letting me go out and disconnect for a few days. With all that in mind, let's return to some Hershey Bears Hockey.

 

Last weekend results

10/20 at Providence W 3-0

10/21 at Providence W 5-2 (SO)

10/22 at Bridgeport W 3-2 (OT)

 

Last weekend, the Bears got 3 for 3 in an I-95 road swing against the Providence Bruins, the farm club of the Boston Bruins, and Bridgeport Islanders, an affiliate of the New York Islanders.

 

However, there is no rest for the Calder Cup Champions as they traveled up I-81 to take on their legit rivals, The WBS Baby Penguins. 

 

On this night, Hershey was down a few players; Hunter Shepard got his overdue NHL call-up to replace Charlie Lindgren, who has had the dreaded Upper body injury. Also, Aaron Ness is out with an undisclosed injury, but it's hockey everyone gets injured at some point. Clay Stevenson would step in for Hunter tonight, who got a win back on Sunday, 10/15, against the Cleveland Monsters.

 

The Bears and Penguins played to a relatively light crowd on a Wednesday night in Northeast Pennsylvania, though it is still high School Football season, so the focus is on something other than hockey up there.

 

The Bears came in with a four-game winning streak, hoping to make it five, heading back to Giant Center on Saturday. However, the Pens would get an early power play that saw Nic Kubel lead a two-on-one breakaway that Joel Blomqvist stopped, led to a 2x1 break the other way led by Alex Nylander, who buried a glove-side snipe that went crossbar PING and into the net.

 

Alex Nylander has a knack for burning the Bears, as he was the one who ended the Bears' 21/22 season, scoring an OTGWG in Game 3 of the Play-In series.

 

WBS would go into the locked room with a 1-0 after the first period with the shots 8-6 in favor of WBS

 

In the second period, Hershey would get the tying goal as Dylan McIlrath checked a Penguin to the ice, opening a lane up for Joe Snively to walk into the slot and bury a corner wrist shot to tie the game!

 

It would be Joe's first goal of the season with assists to Garrett Roe and Dlyan Mcillrath, though, as an extra assist for the monster hit he gave to open the ice up for Joe.

 

Alas, WBS would answer as a blueline shot would bounce off two penguins and get past Clay to restore the lead to the PEnguins. Sam Hourde would get credit for the goal as the puck last bounced off him.

 

In the third period, the Penguins would get a powerplay as Avery Hayes fired a long shot on Clay Stevenson; he thought he had the puck in his chest. However, the puck slipped out of his grip and landed on the ice for Sam Hourde, who would slam home the loose puck for a goal.

 

This type of rebound was the same way Clay gave up a goal against the Monsters when a long shot bounced off his chest, and he was slow to get the rebound after it hit the ice.

 

Sadly, things would get worse for the Bears as Vincent Iorio went to play a puck out of the Defense zone but fanned on the pass, leaving the puck in the Bears zone.

Marc Johnstone grabbed the puck as Vinny skated back to defend his mistake but slipped and fell onto the ice; Marc walked in and scored to make it 4-1.   It was a truly embarrassing moment for the young defenseman; it is not the first time I have seen him make mistakes in the D zone.

 

Wilkes-Barre would add to their lead on a scratch pass to find Vinnie Hinostroza behind the defense and bury the puck to make it 5-1.

 

The game was over as WBS rode out the rest of the game and took the first game of the 12-game season series.

 

Three Stars of the Game

 

1st: No

2nd: One

3rd: Cares

 

Yes, I am bitter about this loss; why are you asking? Even though I was expecting this, the end of a four-game road stand, riding high after a three-game sweep, all the elements were in place for a letdown game. And that happened tonight; the season is still early, so there is no reason to panic. Plus, we are still Calder Cup Champions!

 

The Bears will be back at Giant Center on Saturday in the rematch against these same Penguins; then the Lehigh Valley Phantoms come in for their first game against the Bears on Sunday as it is Trick or Treat Night at Giant Center. That will wrap up the October portion of the Bears season as the boys will be back in action on November 1st against, you guessed it, WBS Penguins.

 

GO BEARS, that's my opinion.

GAME RECAP 10/14 & 10/15

 

After three months of clickbait articles and Calder Cup photos, the Hershey  Bears returned to Giant Center this past Saturday for their season opener.

 

It was cool, rainy, and gray in Hershey that Saturday, but that didn't stop over 10,800 fans from showing up.  The Giant Center filled the rafters with people wanting to buy Calder Cup merchandise, food, and, most importantly, BEER!

 

Yours truly was excited to return to section 217 and be with my hockey family again.  I noticed a few changes to Giant Center banners; the organization updated the old chocolate-laced Calder Cup banners after the old ones that hung there were from the old Hersheypark Arena.

The new banners were white and dark Chocolate colored with the championship year, but also the logo of the Bears team from that season.  It is an excellent historical touch to see the changes in logs over the 86 years this team has been around.

 

Zack Fisch, Bears play-by-play voice, Mced the Banner ceremony with two surprise appearances from the last Calder Cup winning team from 2010 in Alexander Giroux and Karl Alzner.  Seeing Giroux (no relation to Claude Giroux), who scored the OT winner in Texas, pass the torching to Mike Vecchione, who scored the OT WSinner in Game 7 this past June, was a nice touch.

 

However, I was disappointed to see a regular banner raising after the Vegas Golden Knights raised their banner from a giant slot machine.  I expected this banner to come out of a massive Hershey's bar!

 

After the festivities, it was time to play hockey as the Bears took on the Belleville Senators.  The Bears came out flying, feeding off the ceremony's emotion.  They started the game with the first eight shots on goal, including a breakaway from Ivan Miroshnichenko.

 

But the Senators' top goalie prospect,  Mads Sogaard, was up to the task, surviving the first 10 minutes as the game settled in.  The B-Sens would get on the board first after a Cole Reinhardt shot got by Clay Stevenson to make it 1-0 for the visitors. 

 

We headed into the second period, and the Bears would get into penalty trouble, getting three straight trips to the sin bin.  Dylan Mcilrath would go off for tripping, Jimmy Huntington then from tripping, and then Mike Sgarbossa for slashing, and the third was enough to yield a goal from Nikolas Matinpalo, making it 2-0.

 

Fans started to get antsy, hoping for any offense to happen as the third began, but the Senators were more than okay to sit on this 2-0 lead.  After 14 shots in the first, the Bears only had 8 in the second and were limited to five shots through most of the third.  Soon, the feeling of empathy sent in as fans realized that the Bears COULD get shut out.   Hershey pulled the goalie with 4 minutes to go; I saw this tema erase many 2 goal deficits during the playoffs.  They could do it here.  But not this night, as Angus Crookshank got the empty net goal, and the Giant Center emptied into the night.  Bellville stole the show on Saturday night and shut down the Hershey Bears 3-0.

However, I was not upset by this loss, and this night was about banner raising and getting back to hockey; the game itself was secondary.  We have 71 more of these and hopefully more in the springtime; this team will be fine.  Let's enjoy the nice banner hanging over the south goal and get good later.

 

Check out the Podcast here: https://traffic.megaphone.fm/HOC5769047709.mp3?updated=1697423544

 

Hershey was back at it on a Sunday afternoon as they took on the Clevland Monsters.  The Monsters came into Hershey after being in Allentown for the Phantoms home opener the previous night. 

Hershey was looking to get back on track after an opening night loss by making a few adjustments by signing Henrik Rybinski at the 3rd line. 

 

Hershey again got off to a fast start with the game's first five shots, determined to get the ever-elusive first goal of the season.  It came in the most fortunate of bounces as Hardy Human Aktell fired a long point shot that bounced off a Monster, over the goalie Pavel Cajan and into the net for the first goal of the season.  Miroshnichenko and Perrick Dube would get assists on the play, and the Bears got their first and were roaring for more.

 

Tyler Angle would go off for hooking, and the Bears' power play would go to work as Alex Limoges would find Ethan Frank on a beautiful cross-ice pass for a one-timer goal from the fastest Bear on ice.

 

Ethan got his first goal, Alex and Mike Sgarbossa got helpers, 2-0 Hershey, and all was well in Chocolate Town.  Until Brendan Gaunce smacked home a loose rebound in front of Clay a few minutes later to put Cleveland on the board. 

 The Monster Captain would get his first, and the Monsters booster club that traveled made their voices heard at GC.  Still, the Bears answered quickly with a 2x1 breakaway a minute later as Ethan Frank would find Mike Vecchione who chipped the puck past Cajan.  It was the answering goal the Bears needed to reestablish dominance in this game and take a 2-goal lead in the intermission. 

 

In the Second, it was the Monsters' turn to come out swinging; they had the first six shots in the second, and one found the net as Marcus Bjork ripped a low wrister and cut the lead to   3-2. 

The BEar would have penalty trouble again as they took back-to-back penalties, but they could kill them.  Cleveland took a penalty late in the 2nd, and thanks to some pretty passing, Hendrix Lapierre found Pierrick Dube in front of the net and blasted the puck through the five-hole of Cajan for a Power Play Goal.

 

Hershey clamped down defensively in the third, limiting the Monsters to six shots.  The Bears played the same style of defense that won them the Calder Cup, getting bodies in shooting lanes and breaking up entry passes in their zone.  Hershey got an insurance goal as Mike Sgarbossa led a 2x1 rush and whistled a shot past Cajan to make it 5-2, which sealed the Monster's fate.

 

Hershey took the second game of the weekend to split the season's first two games.  Sunday's game was the perfect bounce-back game for the boys in Chocolate, getting the all-important first goal of the season and finding its offense from its stars.  The confidence from the boys radiated from the team after Hardy's goal, and the small stones started an avalanche!

 

Now, the Bears face the first road test of the season as they travel to Rhode Island to take on the Providence Bruins this Friday and Saturday.  Then, they travel to Western Connecticut to take on the Bridgeport, ugh, Islanders at 3:05 p.m.

 

Thank you for following me on my X account and follow 717 Sports for local sports coverage.

PRE SEASON RECAP

 

After 100 days of Calder Cup celebrating, Hershey Bears hockey is back, and as the kids say, I am here for it; the last time the Bears played hockey in Hershey was June 17, 2023, Game 5 of the Calder Cup Finals.  

On Friday, the Bears had their 2nd preseason game against their rivals up I-81, The Wilkes Barre Baby Penguins, an affiliate of the Pittsburgh Penguins. The two teams squared off on Wednesday morning, October 3, in a School Day preseason tilt that saw WBS come out on top, 3-0. But no need to worry, Bear Nation; most of those playing on Wednesday are destined for South Carolina or, worse, released in the hockey ether. 

On Friday, I returned to Giant Center to Press Row; considering that my podcast, The Grit and Bear It Podcast, had yielded a seat up there, I was very excited to get back there.

Clay Stevenson led and tripped on the way out to lead the boys into Friday's preseason action; attendance wasn't that good because it was preseason. 

Some quick notes

Garrett Roe and Mike Vecchione (Mr. Game 7) wore the Alternate A

No Captain's C as Dylan McIlrath is still up in DC, finishing out the preseason for the Caps

 

Also, on a separate note, Garrett Row wore number 67, the second-highest number I have seen in a Bears jersey since Dan Gilbert in 2018 wore 77. 

Wilkes Barre's starting lineup had guys who will be in Wheeling, West Virginia, by the end of next week, and that is NOT compliant; Johnathon Gruden, Ty Glover, Sam Poulin Valteri Puustien, and Taylor Fedun were all scratches this game, and it showed.

Starting for Hershey were Vecchoine, Dube, Huntington, Day, Ness, and Clay Stevenson in the net.

The game could have been faster and more active to start, with missed passes, dumping and chasing, and passes just a bit off. Guys were determined to make the roster, giving extra checks and using finesse moves.

Speaking of the Bears, they dumped the puck into the corner. Huntington worked the puck out of the corner to feed a streaking Mike Vecchione who gave a light pass to Patrick Dube who found the back of the net to score! It's 1-0 Hershey in the first! 

However, the Bears got into penalty trouble as during a Bears Power play, Vecchoine slashed Addamo and got a five-minute Power Play and a game misconduct. Addamo did return, and hopefully, this won't lead to any extra discipline. I have never seen a 5-minute penalty called in the preseason, and it seemed odd to call it here.

Thankfully, WBS couldn't cash in at the end of the first as the powerplay carried over into the second, and again, they came up empty. Afterward, WBS took back-to-back Delay of Game penalties. Still, Hershey couldn't cash in either as the game began to slow down into preseason action.

However, in the second, we got a fight! Tyson Empey and some WBS player whose name escapes me in a very spirited fight that saw both men fight for a few minutes before falling onto the ice. The small crowd at Giant Center stood cheering Tyson for his fight. I would bring him in on that fight alone. But does the name Kale Kessy mean anything?

After two periods, the Bears were outshooting WBS 22-5, which is not a typo.

In the third, Hershey continued to frustrate the Wheeling Baby Pens, and Clay Stevenson was playing very well and pretty. I was not going to say it up in the press row. WBS turned up the shots with 5 minutes to go and turned this into a decent push to try and tie the game. 

However, the wall of Clay hardened up, and the Bears won their only home preseason game, 1-0, behind a 12-save shutout for Clay.

Three stars

3rd: #30 WBS

2nd: 31 Clay Stevenson

1st:  18 Patrick Dube

Players that stood out for me

Matt Strome and Jon McDonald had solid games, playing great defensive hockey. Strome should get some solid 4th line minutes, and John got upgraded to an Ahl deal.

Garrett Row had a solid game, too, but I don't know if there is a roster spot for him.

Alex Suzdalev put on a passing and puck-handling clinic and will be a fun player to watch in Hershey this year! Hershey will have one more preseason game against the Lehigh Valley Phantoms at PPL Center on Sunday at 1:05 p.m.  

Then it is on to Saturday Night, October 14, and raising a banner to kick off the 23-24 season; Hershey Hockey is back!

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