2017 is proving terribly unkind to the Hershey Bears. Once again, the Bears failed to “win the week” earning just two of a possible six points with a win over Lehigh Valley Saturday. Sandwiched around that win were two head-scratching losses, on the road in Lehigh Valley Friday and at home Sunday against Binghamton.
On night in Allentown, the Bears were whistled for 14 penalties resulting in 12 power plays for the Phantoms. Lehigh Valley connected on four of them, giving them all the goals they would need in a 6-2 victory over the Bears. The loss was Hershey’s fifth in a row.
Defensemen Darren Dietz and Aaron Ness supplied Hershey’s only goals in the second and third periods respectively. By the time Dietz scored, the Phantoms had already put three power play goals on the board.
The rematch Saturday in Hershey proved to be another high-scoring affair, but this one came ended in Hershey’s favor as the Bears struck early and then hung on for a 6-4 victory.
Paul Carey scored his 11th goal of the season and Ness added his second of the weekend in the first period. But Lehigh Valley would tie the game on back-to-back goals from Trevor Sanheim.
Hershey responded with three straight goals from Colby Williams, Stan Galiev, and Jakub Vrana over the second and third periods. But once again, the Phantoms got back-to-back goals, this time from Grey Carey, that made it 5-4 Hershey with 3:29 left in the game.
With 10,362 fans holding their breath over the final minutes, Zach Sill scored an empty net goal with 35 seconds left to end the five-game losing streak. Vrana and Carey, who each scored a goal and two assists, were named first and second stars respectively.
Joe Cannata came up with the win by turning away 21 of 25 shots.
With the losing streak stopped, the Bears looked to start a different kind of streak – a winning streak – Sunday when the Binghamton Senators came to town on Star Wars Night.
But the force was not with the Bears as miscues led to three of Binghamton’s four goals; the Bears fell 4-2.
The Senators got on the board first thanks to a power play. They then scored on a 2-on-1 and on a 2-on-0 that gave them all the cushion they would need.
Hershey’s Vrana and Chris Bourque each scored, but it wasn’t enough as Binghamton got four of 21 shots past Vitek Vanecek.
Hershey’s power play was 5 of 13 on the week including a 2-for-3 performance Sunday. The penalty kill was 13 for 19.
Hershey hosts Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Wednesday night at Giant Center in a rare Wednesday night game. The puck drops at 7:00. The Penguins should be without Jake Guentzel and Chad Ruhwedel, both of whom were recalled by Pittsburgh Monday morning.
Hershey travels to Wilkes-Barre Saturday for a rematch and then returns to Giant Center to face Lehigh Valley Sunday at 5:00.
|#||Name||Games played||Goals||Assists||+/-||Shots||Pen Min.|
Joe Cannata 1-0 – 21 saves on 25 shots
Vitek Vanecek 0-2 – 32 saves on 38 shots
THREE STARS (opponent)
- Vrana (LV – Sat.)
- Carey (LV – Sat.)
- C. Bourque (Binghamton)
Dustin Gazley (lower body) – projected out until mid-February
Riley Barber (upper body) – projected out until mid-January
Madison Bowey (lower body) – out indefinitely – projected April return
DEL – Chandler Stephenson – Recalled by Washington – Jan. 14
ADD – Chandler Stephenson – Returned on loan by Washington – Jan. 15
DEL – Chandler Stephenson – Recalled by Washington – Jan. 16
By Julie Beidler