Photo: Milwaukee Admirals
For the first time since the 2006 Calder Cup Finals, the Milwaukee Admirals visited Chocolate Town, however, their stay didn’t end well (again) as Bears goaltender Vitek Vanecek stood strong in net and led the Chocolate and White to a decisive 3-0 victory.
Vanecek. as hinted above, started in goal for the Bears, and Head Coach Troy Mann’s starting lineup included blueliners Colby Williams and Jonas Siegenthaler, and forwarda Dustin Gazley, Riley Barber, and Jeremy Langlois.
Hershey Bears Lineup
The opening frame set the pace for a close game as the puck traveled up and down the ice with neither team gaining the advantage. Hershey began to pick up the pace gaining the 8-3 shot advantage halfway through the first period. Bears forward Liam O’Brien had a breakaway and a chance to notch the first goal of the game, but was denied by Juuse Saros of the Admirals.
Just past the halfway mark, Bears defenseman Aaron Ness fired one past Saros to commemorate his first game back with Hershey this season and his first goal overall of the season. Forward Chris Bourque and defenseman Tyler Lewington were credited with the assists on the goal. Hershey held the 1-0 lead at the end of the period in both the score and shots, as shots were 15-5 in favor of the Chocolate and White.
The second period opened with a delayed penalty on the Admirals for Slashing, giving the Bears the man-advantage. Rookie defenseman Lucas Johansen had an excellent chance to increase the Bears’ lead with a shot that found its way to the net, but hit the crossbar. Admirals forward Trevor Murphy had a breakaway chance which was initially denied by Vanecek, but Murphy was given chance to tie the game on a penalty shot, but was shut down again by Vanacek, keeping it a 1-0 game in favor of Hershey.
Bears defenseman Tommy Hughes was called for holding with 6:14 left in the middle frame, giving the Admirals their first power play of the evening. Bears forward John Albert had a breakaway opportunity while on the penalty kill, but shot it just high of the net. Johansen continued to garner some great looks on goal, but couldn’t seem to find a way in.
The Bears added to their lead with just under three minutes to play in the middle frame with a goal from Mathias Bau, his seventh of the season. Wayne Simpson and Zach Sill were credited with the assists. Bau has scored all seven of his goals in the past 11 games.
O’Brien and the Admirals Cody Bass each served two minutes for embellishment and slashing, respectively, with three seconds extending into the third period.
As the horn blew to signal the end of the middle frame, Vanecek was knocked down and appeared injured, however, he skated off the ice on his own strength. Hershey led 2-0 at the end of the second.
The third period began 4-on-3 for three seconds with Hershey still on a carry-over power play. Milwaukee’s Trevor Smith was called for roughing at the end of the second period and served his penalty in the opening two minutes of the third period, giving Hershey yet another man-advantage.
Vanecek came up big at multiple times throughout the third period, stopping a 2-on-1 and coming up with a huge glove save to keep the game at 2-0. Milwaukee had a prime opportunity to get on the scoresheet late in the period, as Colby Williams was called for a penalty, and the Admirals opted to pull Saros. However, Jonas Siegenthaler scored a shorthanded empty-net goal, his second goal of the season, at the 18:50 mark to put the Bears up 3-0.
The Bears held on as time expired giving Vanecek the shutout and earning their tenth win of the season and bringing their record to .500 (10-10-0-3). Vanacek finished the night having stopped 21 shots and earning his first shutout of the season.
By Allison Shuey