Photo: Belleville Senators
Despite the continued absence of star forward Chris Bourque due to the Olympics and the loss of right wing Riley Barber to a one-game suspension, the Hershey Bears have fared well in the last little while, success that continued tonight with a 3-0 shutout of the Belleville Senators.
The Bears didn’t need long ti get on the board, as defenseman Connor Hobbs scored his second goal of the season at the 4:03 mark to put the Bears ahead early. Dustin Gazley and Nathan Walker notched their 12th and seventh assists of the season, respectively on the goal. Hobbs’ goal was the first goal in Bears’ history in Belleville (the Senators relocated to Belleville from Binghamton in the offseason).
With 6:22 left in the opening frame, the Bears had an opportunity to increase their lead with a power play, but failed to convert. The Bears would manage to kill off a late period Belleville power play before the first period concluded. The Bears headed to the dressing room ahead 1-0 and tied with the Senators in shots, with each team putting seven shots on the opposing goalie.
The second period had a similar feel to the first, as Bears forward Wayne Simpson beat Belleville netminder Marcus Hogberg at the 8:21 mark for his 11th goal of the season to give the Bears a strong, 2-0 lead. Tyler Graovac and Mathias Bau each notched their ninth assist of the season on the goal.
The Bears would receive a late power play late in the period, but failed to convert. The period would end rather uneventful other than the Simpson goal. The Bears held a 2-0 lead on the scoreboard and up 18-16 in shots on net.
The Bear would get their third attempt to increase their lead via the power play just 1:35 into the final frame, but again, would fail to convert. The Bears themselves would go shorthanded for a second time, but would manage to kill the minor off. With Hogberg pulled, Bears defenseman Tyler Lewington would pot his second goal of the season on an empty-net goal to put the Bears ahead for good, 3-0.
The Bears would ultimately finish behind in the shot department, 28-24. The shutout was Hershey netminder Pheonix Copley’s first of the season.
By Michael Fleetwood