What a week it was in Hershey. After coming up short in Lehigh Valley Friday night, the Bears bounced back for victories in Binghamton Saturday and against Providence in an Atlantic Division playoff race clash that saw a frustrated Malcolm Subban attempt to challenge Hershey’s winning goalie, Pheonix Copley after the game (more on that later).
Ryan Bourque put the Bears on the board first in Lehigh Valley with minute to go in the first period, but the Phantoms responded with a pair of goals in the second period to take the lead. But Paul Carey got the equalizer just 4 seconds before the second intermission with a power play goal.
In the third, the Phantoms got the game winner with a little over two minutes to play in regulation, keeping the Bears outside of a playoff berth for another week.
The Bears took their frustrations out on Binghamton Saturday in a 7-1 victory. Kelly Zajac, Liam O’Brien, Ryan Bourque, Hubert Labrie, Paul Carey, Christian Thomas, and Chris Bourque all netted goals for the Bears. Christian Djoos also turned in a three-assist performance en route to first star honors.
Meanwhile, Vitek Vanecek allowed just one goal on 28 shots in the victory.
Zajac opened the scoring with his fourth of the season (he’s on recall from South Carolina). Assists went to Ryan Bourque and Djoos. Ten minutes later, Djoos racked up his second assist as O’Brien scored to make it 2-0. Nathan Walker, playing in just his second game back after an upper body injury, had the secondary assist.
Ryan Bourque (Thomas and Zajac) and Labire (Galiev and Boyd) rounded out the first period scoring. Binghamton did record a power play goal (O’Brien – slashing) in the second, but the game was never in question.
Hershey then added a pair of quick goals to open the third. First Carey connected on the PP just 45 seconds into the period with Riley Barber and Djoos earning assists. Then Thomas connected on a penalty shot less than a minute later.
Chris Bourque rounded out the scoring with Aaron Ness getting the assist.
The Bears returned to Giant Center for Autism Awareness Night Sunday. Wearing specialty jerseys that were auctioned off post-game, the Bears came from behind twice and were able to put the game away late in the third with Walker’s empty net goal.
Providence got the game’s first goal less than two minutes into the game, but Galiev got the equalizer a few minutes later. After Colby Williams cleared the puck, Galiev picked it up, raced down the left side, and fired a shot from the face-off circle that beat Subban.
Providence would pick up a second goal a few minutes later, but Galiev would connect on the PP late in the first from nearly the same spot as his first goal. Tom Gilbert played the puck along the blue line to Thomas who sent it along to Galiev for the score.
With the game tied for nearly 18 minutes and the Bears needing to secure a victory, the captain, Garrett Mitchell, was in the right place at the right time for the game-winner. Chandler Stephenson set up Chris Bourque who fired a shot that rebounded right to Mitchell for his 8th goal of the season.
Needing an insurance marker, Walker marked his return to Giant Center ice in style with an empty net goal after the Bears withstood a furious Providence attack. Zach Sill and Carey earned the assists.
After the game, Subban gave Carey a shove in front of the net. Copley eyed up Subban who then challenged Hershey’s goalie to a fight as the officiating crew worked to get all players off the ice. In the end, Copley stood in the middle of the ice, tossed down his glove and blocker, and was ready to improve his record to 2-0 on Giant Center ice. For Copley’s first fight, click here.
Hershey hosts Hartford Friday and Saturday before hitting the road to Bridgeport again on Sunday. Even though Hartford is statistically eliminated from the playoffs, every game for Hershey is huge with just 14 left to secure a playoff spot. Hershey’s magic number is 31, so the Bears are inching closer to controlling their own destiny, but a 6-for-6 week would certainly help.
On the week, Hershey’s PP went 3 for 13 while the PK was 8 for 9.
*NEW – NovaCaps Three Stars of the Week – Check back later this week for an article on
- Stan Galiev – 2G, 2A
- Christian Djoos – 4A
- Pheonix Copley/Vitek Vanecek – combined 2-1 record; 88 saves on 94 shots
|#||Name||Games played||Goals||Assists||+/-||Shots||Pen Min.|
Vitek Vanecek 1-0 – 27 saves on 28 shots
Pheonix Copley – 1-1 – 61 saves on 66 shots
THREE STARS of the GAME (opponent)
- Djoos (Bingo), Galiev (Providence)
- Copley (LV), Zajac (Bingo), Mitchell (Providence)
- R. Bourque (Bingo), Copley (Providence)
Dustin Gazley (lower body) – projected to return this weekend
Madison Bowey (lower body) – projected return this weekend
Domenic Monardo (upper body)
ADD – Adam Carlson – Added – Mar. 6
ADD – Paul Carey – Returned on loan from Washington – Mar. 7
DEL – Darren Dietz – Reassigned by Washington to Texas (AHL) – Mar. 8
ADD – Mattias Backman – Reassigned by Dallas (NHL) to Hershey – Mar. 8
ADD – Mason Mitchell – Signed ATO – Mar. 9
ADD – Hampus Gustafsson – Signed ATO – Mar. 9
ADD – Adam Carlson – Reassigned by Washington to South Carolina – Mar. 9
Hershey’s Magic Number now sits at 31 with 14 games remaining
By Julie Beidler
— Beids (@juliebeidler) March 12, 2017