It was not a typical three-in-three week for the Hershey Bears, but with points in two of three games this week and a bit of help, the Bears find themselves inching closer to a playoff berth in the hotly contested Atlantic Division.
On a rare Wednesday night home game, Hershey defeated Binghamton 3-1 behind goals from Hubert Labrie, Tom Gilbert, and Riley Barber. Pheonix Copley, the game’s second star, was magnificent in net for Hershey, stopping 33 of 34 shots.
Hubert Gustafsson scored his first AHL point, an assist on Labrie’s goal in the first period. Barber, the game’s first star, had the primary assist on that goal.
Then in the second, the Christians (Djoos and Thomas) combined for the assists on Gilbert’s game-winner. Gilbert was named the game’s third star.
Later in the second, Barber tacked on the insurance marker with assists going to Jakub Vrana and Madison Bowey.
After an entire day of travel that started with a bus ride to Philadelphia International Airport, the Bears made their way to St. John’s on Thursday for their Saturday/Sunday contests with the Ice Caps. It is the final time the Bears will play in St. John’s as the franchise is moving to Laval at the end of the season.
Saturday night proved to be heartbreaking for Hershey. Up early, the Bears found themselves playing for a tie until St. John’s got the game winner just 15 seconds before the end of regulation.
Sunday, Hershey responded, earning a 2-1 victory.
In Saturday’s game, former Bear Julien Brouillette put St.John’s up early in the first with his 3rd goal of the season. But just a few minutes later, current Hershey d-man, Tyler Lewington, got his third of the season to tie the game at 1-1. Vrana earned the only assist.
Travis Boyd and Chris Bourque then tacked on goals before the end of the first period and it looked like Hershey was going to continue their 6-game winning streak, but St. John’s bounced back and stole the game with just 15 seconds remaining for the 4-3 victory.
Mattias Backman, a new defender for Hershey, recorded his first AHL point as a Bear with an assist on Boyd’s goal.
Copley allowed 4 goals on 31 shots in the losing effort for the Bears, but returned to the net Sunday stopping 35 of 36 shots in route to his team’s 2-1 victory.
Barber and Vrana teamed up on both of Hershey’s goals with Barber netting his 11th in the first period off of assists from Boyd and Vrana.
Then in the third, Vrana tallied his 15th of the season with Barber earning the lone assist. It wasn’t until Liam O’Brien was sent to the penalty box late in the third for boarding that St. John’s got on the board. It was one of only 2 goals the PK allowed this week, going 10-for-12. The PP was a dismal 0-for-10.
Jonas Siegenthaler, who Mann said initially would remain in Hershey, made his season debut in Sunday’s game wearing #34. Hampus Gustafsson did not make the trip – Mann cited immigration issues in his press conference Wednesday night.
Hershey returned home Monday and will also have Tuesday off before returning to the ice to practice Wednesday ahead of Friday night’s game in Hartford. They host Bridgeport Saturday night and Lehigh Valley Sunday in two key Atlantic Division contents with huge playoff implications.
*NEW – NovaCaps Three Stars of the Week – Check back later this week for an article on
- Riley Barber 2G, 2A, +4
- Jakub Vrana 1G, 3A, +2
- Pheonix Copley 2-1, .941 Save %
|#||Name||Games played||Goals||Assists||+/-||Shots||Pen Min.|
Vitek Vanecek 0-0
Pheonix Copley – 2-1 – 95 saves on 101 shots
THREE STARS of the GAME (opponent)
- Barber (Bingo), Vrana (St. John’s – Sun)
- Copley (Bingo), Copley (St. John’s – Sun)
- Gilbert (Bingo)
Domenic Monardo (upper body)
Aaron Ness (lower body)
ADD – Jonas Siegenthaler – Reassigned by Washington from Zurich (Swiss-A) – Mar. 20
DEL – Paul Carey – Recalled from loan by Washington – Mar. 24
ADD – Paul Carey – Returned on loan from Washington – Mar. 25
Hershey’s Magic Number now sits at 14 with 8 games remaining
Springfield and Hartford have both been eliminated.
By Julie Beidler
— Beids (@juliebeidler) March 22, 2017