This is not an April Fools’ Day joke – and the way the Bears have been playing so far this weekend is not funny. With the playoffs within their grasp and their fate entirely under their control, Hershey dropped back-to-back games so far this weekend, with the biggest of them all Saturday night, a 4-2 loss to the now 4th place Bridgeport Sound Tigers.
Hershey’s Travis Boyd provided one of the few bright spots for Hershey on the evening with a power play goal late in the second period that made it 3-1, but the Sound Tigers returned the favor by tacking on their 4th before the end of the second period.
The Bears protested that fourth goal after Kellen Jones knocked Boyd into Pheonix Copley, but referee Dave Lewis did not review the play even as Garrett Mitchell skated onto the ice to inquire. That goal led to Troy Mann pulling Copley and Vitek Vanecek making his first appearance since March 18 against Hartford.
Copley stopped 11 of 15 shots in 35:37. Vanecek came in and stopped all nine shots he faced over the rest of the second and third periods. Game highlights, including a spectacular early save by Copley can be found here.
Following an extended 5-on-3 in which the Bears were unable to solve Eamon McAdam, Ryan Bourque connected for his fourth goal of the season. Zach Sill and Garrett Mitchell assisted. Mitchell missed last night’s game in Hartford due to the birth of his second daughter. Ryan Bourque was the game’s third star.
Hershey’s penalty kill came up big on the night, shutting down all four of Bridgeport’s power plays. Hershey’s power play was 1 for 6 and failed to connect on a 5-on-3 and a 6-on-4 late in the game with Vanecek pulled for an extra attacker.
With the loss, the Bears now find themselves in the 5th spot in the Atlantic Division. They host Lehigh Valley tomorrow night and travel to Lehigh Valley Wednesday night.
By Julie Beidler
— Beids (@juliebeidler) April 1, 2017