Are the Bears Awaking from Early January Slumber?

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Finally, some good news to report for the Bears this week. In three road games, the Bears secured 5 of a possible 6 points with victories over Hartford and Springfield, and a shootout loss to Providence. 

The Bears started their road trip off with a 5-4 victory over the Hartford Wolf Pack Wednesday night at the XL Center. Garrett Mitchell, Darren Dietz, Stan Galiev, Chris Bourque, and Paul Carey all scored goals while Vitek Vanecek stopped 30 of 34 shots in the victory.

Mitchell got the first goal of the night 5:21 into the game with the assist going to Christian Djoos.

Photo: Tori Hartman

Hartford tied the game early in the second with a power play goal. The power play was the result of a holding penalty on Hubert Labrie towards the end of the first period.

With the game tied, Dietz recorded his fifth goal of the season near the midway point of the second. Carey and Nolan Zajac, who was signed to a PTO by the Bears and was released after Saturday’s game, assisted.

But the lead didn’t last too long as Hartford tied the game less than two minutes later. Back-to-back goals by Galiev (assisted by Nathan Walker and Zach Sill) and Chris Bourque (assisted by Travis Boyd and Djoos) put Hershey up 4-2, but Hartford stormed back with a goal late in the second and early in the third to tie the game once again. Both Hartford goals came while the Wolf Pack was on the power play (Liam O’Brien – holding and Zajac – tripping)

Carey’s 13th goal of the season would be the game winner at 16:59 with assists going to Colby Williams and Steve Weinstein. Highlights of Wednesday’s game below are courtesy of the Hartford Wolf Pack.

Riding the the wave of Wednesday’s victory, the Bears jumped out to a 2-0 lead on the Providence Bruins, but eventually fell in the shootout.

Jakub Vrana notched his 12th of the season with assists from Boyd and Williams just 3:03 into Friday’s game at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center.

Djoos then earned his third point of the week with a goal at 6:57. Chris Bourque had the lone assist on the power play goal.

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Providence would cut the lead to one less than two minutes later and eventually tied the game just 32 seconds before the end of the second period while on the power play after Brad Malone was whistled for holding.

Neither team was able to score through the third period or overtime. Peter Cehlarik scored for Providence in round 1 as did Djoos for Hershey. Alex Grant scored for Providence in round two while Vrana did not. Jordan Szwarz then scored the game winner in round 3. Vitek Vanecek stopped 37 of 39 shots in 65:00 before the shootout. Highlights below courtesy of Ice HighLights.

With three of four points already under their belts, the Bears traveled to MassMutual center in Springfield to take on the Thunderbirds before the All-Star break and emerged with a 4-2 victory.

Parker Milner, recently recalled from South Carolina, got his first AHL victory in Hershey colors (it was his 7th career AHL victory), stopping 30 of 32 shots, while Vrana, Zach Sanford, O’Brien, and Chris Bourque all scored for Hershey in the victory.

Vrana opened the scoring 14:22 into the game with his 13th goal of the season. Dietz and Boyd each recorded assists. But Springfield scored late in the first and early in the second to take a 2-1 lead. The first of the two came while Hershey was short-handed after Zajac was whistled for delay of game.

Then, with Walker in the penalty box for slashing, Sanford displayed some sweet moves with a between the skates/toe-drag combination for the unassisted, shortie to tie the game. See below for game recap including videos of Sanford’s goal.

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The third period belonged to Hershey with O’Brien and C. Bourque each getting on the board late in the game. Steve Weinstein and Dietz assisted on O’Brien’s game-winner at 16:32. Chris Bourque scored an empty-netter for his 18th goal of the season, which was assisted by Carey.

Hershey returns to action Friday in Binghamton and returns to Giant Center to host St. John’s Saturday (7:00) and Sunday (2:00 – note time change due to Super Bowl).

# Name Games played Goals Assists +/- Shots Pen Min.
2 Tyler Lewington 0
4 Madison Bowey 0
5 Christian Djoos 3 1 2 +2 7 0
7 Darren Dietz 3 1 2 +3 8 2
10 Dustin Gazley 0
11 Zach Sill 3 0 1 0 3 0
12 Nathan Walker 3 0 1 +1 8 2
13 Jakub Vrana 3 2 0 +4 7 0
14 Ryan Bourque 0
15 Travis Boyd 3 0 3 +4 1 0
17 Chris Bourque 3 2 1 +1 11 2
18 Christian Thomas 2 1 0 -1 3 0
19 Riley Barber 0
20 Liam O’Brien 3 1 0 +2 3 2
21 Chandler Stephenson 2 0 0 0 1 0
22 Stanislav Galiev 3 1 0 +1 4 0
23 Zach Sanford 3 1 0 +2 11 4
24 Brad Malone 3 0 0 0 2 4
25 Colby Williams 3 0 2 +2 3 0
26 Domenic Monardo
27 Aaron Ness 1 0 0 -1 1 0
28 Paul Carey 3 1 2 +3 4 0
32 Hubert Labrie 3 0 0 +1 1 2
33 Joey Leach
34 Steve Weinstein 2 0 2 +4 0 0
36 Garrett Mitchell 2 1 0 +1 3 2
39 Nolan Zajac 3 0 1 +1 0 4

GOALIES
Joe Cannata
Vitek Vanecek 1-0-1 – 67 saves on 73 shots
Parker Milner 1-0 – 30 saves on 32 shots

THREE STARS (opponent)

  1. Carey (Hartford), O’Brien (Springfield)
  2. Sanford (Springfield)
  3. Djoos (Hartford)

INJURY REPORT
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
Tyler Lewington (lower body) – day-to-day

TRANSACTIONS
DEL – Chandler Stephenson – Recalled from loan by Washington – Jan. 24
ADD – Parker Milner – Recalled from loan to South Carolina by Hershey – Jan. 24
DEL – Joey Leach – Returned on loan to South Carolina – Jan. 24
ADD – Nolan Zajac – Signed to PTO – Jan. 25
ADD – Chandler Stephenson – Returned on loan from Washington – Jan. 26
DEL – Nolan Zajac – Released from PTO – Jan. 29
DEL – Parker Milner – Returned on loan to South Carolina – Jan. 29
DEL – Chandler Stephenson – Recalled from loan by Washington – Jan. 30
DEL – Christian Djoos – Recalled from loan by Washington – Jan. 30

DIVISION STANDINGS

Team GP W L OTL SOL Pts %
Wilkes/Barre 45 33 9 3 0 69 .767
Lehigh Valley 43 29 12 2 0 60 .698
Providence 45 25 12 5 3 58 .644
Bridgeport 42 25 15 1 1 52 .619
Hershey 44 21 13 7 3 52 .591
Springfield 43 16 19 6 2 40 .465
Hartford 45 16 24 3 2 37 .411

FYI – Roster Changes from last year to this year

  • Christian Thomas
  • Zach Sanford
  • Brad Malone
  • Vitek Vanecek
  • Joe Cannata
  • Carter Camper (F) – playing for LV (AHL)
  • Sean Collins (F) – playing in KHL
  • Mike Moore (D) – playing in DEL (Germany)
  • Ryan Stanton (D) – playing for Cleveland Monsters (AHL)
  • Connor Carrick (D) – traded to Toronto
  • Erik Burgdoerfer (D) – playing for Rochester Americans and Buffalo Sabers
  • Dan Ellis (G)
  • Justin Peters (G) – playing for Tucson Roadrunners and Arizona Coyotes

By Julie Beidler

About Julie Beidler

I teach 11th grade English. I currently serve as the Secretary for the Central PA Sports Hall of Fame and am a PIAA Track/Cross Country and Volleyball official. In my free time, I also freelance for The Lebanon Daily News and cover the Hershey Bears for https://novacapsfans.com/ providing pictures, videos, interviews and stories on the future Washington Capitals.
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