Force is With Vitek Vanecek as Hershey Bears Shutout Checkers on Star Wars Night

Photo: Tori Hartman

The Hershey Bears picked up a 3-0 shutout win over the Charlotte Checkers on Sunday evening at Giant Center as part of Star Wars Night to complete the weekend sweep. The win improves the Bears record to 17-16-1-3. 


Scratches: Jeremy Langlois, Anthony Peluso, Garrett Mitchell, Hampus Gustafsson and Hubert Labrie.

The Bears struck first on a strike by Riley Barber 1:25 into the contest on Hershey’s first shot of the game. It was Barber’s 11th goal of the season.

Shortly after the goal, the Bears went to the penalty kill as Liam O’Brien was called for tripping at 2:41. At 6:13, Nick Schilkey was sent to the box for slashing. Hershey three shots off but still came up empty. Hershey led in shots 6-4 just over midway through the first.

The Bears went right back to the PK when Wayne Simpson went to the sin bin for hooking at 10:44 but once again successfully killed the penalty.

Hershey struck again at 14:44. Nathan Walker came around the boards fighting for the puck and just beating Jake Cheilos to it. Walker dumped the puck to Tyler Graovac, who made a strong power move to the net and put it in to give the Bears a 2-0 lead. It was Graovac’s fifth goal of the season. Barber also had an assist on the goal in addition to Walker.

Hershey would lead 2-0 at the end of one and outshoot the Checkers 10-7 in the opening period.

The Checkers got more shots up in the second period, leading in shots 6-1 seven minutes into the middle frame. Hershey faced some shorthanded adversity beginning at 9:47. First Mason Mitchell was whistled for interference. Then six seconds into the penalty kill, Tyler Lewington played the puck and it sailed into the seats which resulted in a delay of game. The Bears were short two guys as Charlotte got a 5-on-3 power play opportunity. Thanks to some timely saves by Vitek Vanecek, the Bears killed it off.

The Bears would be awarded with a power play at 12:57 with Nicolas Roy getting called for slashing but couldn’t capitalize.

The score would remain 2-0 Bears. The Checkers outshot the Bears in the second period 13-3.

The Bears began the third frame on the power play after Roland McKeown was called for a delay of game 32 seconds in. Hershey got two shots on the power play but once again couldn’t score on the man advantage. The Bears led 2-1 in shots through the first five minutes.

Colby Williams would get called for slashing at 3:58, putting the visitors on the power play but Hershey successfully killed it off.

The Bears went right back to the power play determined to break through this time around when Trevor Carrick was whistled for high-sticking at 9:01. 31 second later, Mathias Bau fed Travis Boyd right in front of the net and Boyd put it through to give the Bears a 3-0 lead. Chris Bourque was also credited with an assist. It was Boyd’s eighth goal of the season.

The Checkers pulled their goalie Jeremy Smith with 4:10 to go for an extra attacker. The plan to get on the board backfired as Warren Foegele was called for holding at 17:34, putting the Bears on the power play. The Bears didn’t cash in but Vanecek held off Charlotte’s late attacks to pick up the 3-0 shutout win.  This was the first time the Checkers were blanked since Nov. 17 when they fell 4-0 to the Springfield Thunderbirds.

Hershey outshot the Checkers 11-9 in the third period while the Checkers outshot the Bears in total 29-24. Vanecek stopped all 26 shots he faced to improve his record to 6-4-1-1 on the season. The Bears will be back in action on Wednesday night at 7 p.m. as they host the Springfield Thunderbirds at Giant Center.

Troy Mann post game interview:

By Michael Marzzacco

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2 Responses to Force is With Vitek Vanecek as Hershey Bears Shutout Checkers on Star Wars Night

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