Photo: Binghamton Devils
On a day in which their NHL affiliate shutout the San Jose Sharks 2-0, the Hershey Bears were shutout themselves, losing 3-0 to the Binghamtom Devils on the road.
The game did not get off to a good start for Hershey netminder Vitek Vanecek and the rest of the Chocolate and White, as former Bear Tim Kennedy scored his third goal of the season at the 3:54 mark of the opening frame to give the Devils an early 1-0 lead. Mario Lucia recorded his 10th assist on the goal. Hershey did not play particularly well in the first period, putting the Devils on two power plays, and while receiving a man-advantage of their own, could not convert, and generated a meager THREE shots to Binghamton’s 15.
The second period proved to be a much better one for the Bears, especially when compared to their horrendous first. Despite a power play opportunity (their second of the game), the Bears were still unable to solve Binghamton netminder Mackenzie Blackwood. Vitek Vanecek also played better in the second, stopping all of the Devils’ shots to keep the Bears down by only one goal. Ultimately, neither team came away with a goal before the second intermission, and despite a better effort, the Bears still found themselves down 1-0 and 21-14 in shots.
The first half of the final 20 minutes was rather uneventful, with neither team able to put the puck in the net. The second half of the period would be a totally different story for the Chocolate and White. Recent Olympian Chris Bourque was called for slashing at the 16:55 mark, putting the Devils on their third man-advantage of the night. Unlike their previous two power plays, in which they failed to score, the Devils wasted no time putting the Bears in a much deeper hole, as center Bracken Kearns scored his 13th goal of the 2017-18 campaign to put the Devils up 2-0 with less than four minutes to play. Former Bear and Washington Capital Michael Latta and Jacob MacDonald were credited with assists on the goal. With Vanecek pulled, Binghamton’s Kevin Rooney scored his 11th goal of the season on an empty-net, solidifying the Devils’ victory. With less than a minute to play, the Bears got their third opportunity to get on the scoreboard via the power play, but failed to do so, ensuring a 3-0 defeat.
Despite a better effort in the final 40 minutes, the Bears were unable to recover from a dismal first period, and despite a solid effort from Vanecek, the Bears were simply in too deep. The shot totals reflected their poor performance, as they mustered only 18 shots on Blackwood. The Bears’ record now sits at 25-28-4-5 and prior to this game, sat in seventh of eight place in the Atlantic Division in a season in which the team has struggled mightily. The Bears are back in action against the Grand Rapids Griffins tomorrow night in Hershey.
By Michael Fleetwood