The Cavalry Has Arrived in Hershey, but Injury to Copley Has Bears Fans Holding Their Breath


With the additions of Phoenix Copley and Tom Gilbert in Hershey recently, Bears fans could only dream of a start like this heading into the crucial final weeks of the season. Dreams, meet Reality, meet Reality Check. 

Tom Gilbert scored the opening goal for the Bears as they jumped all over the Syracuse Crunch in their first of a three-in-three weekend en route to a 5-1 victory. Syracuse starting goalie, Mike McKenna, appeared to have kicked the net off as Gilbert scored. After the officials conferred, Gilbert’s goal stood, and Hershey had a quick 1-0 lead.

But in the midst of the victory comes concern as Copley, who did what Copley does, stopping 26 of 27 shots on his first outing back in Hershey colors, left the ice in the third after being injured on a shot in front of the net. According to the Hershey Bears, he was helped off the ice by teammates. Vitek Vanecek came in and stopped all five shots he faced. Copley was named the game’s first star.

The Bears, currently the fifth place team in the Atlantic Division and on the outside looking in for the playoffs, presumably can afford to lose perhaps five games the rest of the way, also got  power play goal from Riley Barber in the first period. Syracuse’s Tye McGinn scored after Gilbert to tie the game, but Barber sent Hershey to intermission with the 2-1 lead with his 8th of the season.

In the second, Christian Thomas scored a pair of goals and Christian Djoos added one for a 5-1 lead heading into the second intermission. Thomas ran his team-leading goal count to 21 with a long-ranger late in the second period. For his two-goal night, Thomas was named the game’s second star.

Hershey’s ECHL affiliate, the South Carolina Stingrays, are in Colorado tonight for a game. If the injury to Copley is considerable, Hershey has precious few hours to bring in a back-up. With the team on the road in Syracuse and no presser with Mann, it may be a little until word comes on the extent of the injury.

The Bears entered the weekend with a magic number of 48 and now have just 19 games left in the regular season. The sense of urgency was evident against the Crunch, who just so happen to be the first place team in the North Division.

Just how good are the divisions? For comparison, Hershey would be .002 behind the Crunch and in second in the North as opposed to fifth in the Atlantic. That’s just how good the Atlantic is this season.

Hershey’s power play was 2-for-4 (Barber and Thomas’ first goal), while the PK was 9-for-9. Hershey hosts Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Saturday and Springfield on Sunday.

UPDATE: 10:00 PM

UPDATE 4:35 3/4/17


By Julie Beidler

Barber congrats Petey

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2 Responses to The Cavalry Has Arrived in Hershey, but Injury to Copley Has Bears Fans Holding Their Breath

  1. Pingback: Copley Injury Update | NoVa Caps

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