Three-in-threes are never easy, especially when two of them are against division rivals. The Bears, who dropped a heartbreaker in Lehigh Valley Friday night that would have put them into a playoff spot, hosted the Providence Bruins Sunday after blasting the Binghamton Senators Saturday night.
It was a bit of a rocky start for the Bears as Alex Grant scored his 13th of the season just 1:46 into the game, but Stan Galiev, who was named the team’s Player of the Month for February, continued to delight the Giant Center crowd, scoring a pair of goals in the first period as the Bears came away victorious, 4-2.
Hershey’s Colby Williams sent the puck along to Galiev, who picked it up and sped in on the left side, unleashing a shot from “Ovechkin’s Office” to tie the game.
After another Providence goal, Galiev tallied his second goal of the evening late in the second while Hershey was on the PP. Tom Gilbert sent the puck along the blue line to Christian Thomas. Thomas found Galiev in a nearly identical spot for the Russian’s second goal of the evening, and his 21st of the season.
In the second, the captain, Garrett Mitchell, was in the right place at the right time. Chandler Stephenson skated down the left side, passed the puck to Chris Bourque. Providence goalie, Malcolm Subban was unable to find it as it bounced right to Mitchell.
In the third period, it took until the final minute of the game for Hershey to get the insurance goal, but in his home return, Nathan Walker, who had been out with an upper body injury. Walker played in all three games this weekend. Teammate Dustin Gazley, who has missed most of the season with a lower body injury, has not yet returned. Madison Bowey (lower body injury) is said to be getting close to returning as well.
In his post-game presser, Troy Mann said that both are expected to be available next weekend.
Despite the two early goals, Pheonix Copley came up huge in net for the Bears stopping 28 of 30 shots. Subban, who stopped 11 of 14, actually tried to get into a post-game fight with Copley, was pointed towards his tunnel by the officials.
Galiev was the game’s first star, Mitchell was the second, and Copley was the third. Hershey’s PP went 1 for 5 and the PK was 3 for 3.
The Bears wore special Autism Awareness jerseys. In collaboration with the Vista School and the Autism Society of Greater Harrisburg, the first Autism Acceptance themed jerseys were auctioned off after the game.
Hershey hosts Hartford Friday and Saturday night before heading out to Bridgeport Sunday for the final time this season in an all-important Atlantic Division contest. Hershey is now in a three-way tie points wise for 3rd in the Atlantic Division, but the Sound Tigers and Providence both have a game-in-hand.
By Julie Beidler
— Beids (@juliebeidler) March 12, 2017