After a slow start to the 2018-19 season, the Hershey Bears were going strong coming into Saturday night, having won four straight. With the momentum in their favor, the Chocolate and White hoped to make it five consecutive victories against the Rochester Americans, whom they downed last night. However, the tide would turn heavily, as the Bears fell 4-1.
The Bears got the ball rolling just 3:35 into the opening frame, when Derek Hulak put his second of the season past Rochester goaltender Adam Wilcox, with assists from defenseman Connor Hobbs and forward Axel Jonsson-Fjallby. The momentum would last just over two minutes, however, as Bears forward Liam O’Brien would be called for an elbow at the 5:54 mark to put the Americans on the game’s first power play, one the Bears would successfully kill off. The game would see relatively little action until late in the period, when Rochester’s Zach Redmond scored unassisted at the 18:59 mark to tie the game at 1-1. Americans defenseman Brandon Hickey would be called for hooking just seconds later, putting Hershey on a late power play, which Rochester would successfully kill of. The opening frame would end with the score knotted at one, and the Americans in shots, 15-7.
The Bears would see yet another opportunity to take the lead early in the second when Rochester’s Kevin Porter was sent to the sin bin at the 4:48 mark to put Hershey on their second power play of the night. The Bears would fail to convert and would put the Americans on their second man-advantage less than five minutes later, when defenseman Jonas Sieganthaler put the puck out of play for a delay of game. Again the Bears would kill the man-advantage off, but would see the tie eliminated shortly thereafter, as Redmond put his second of the night and eighth of the season past Hershey netminder Ilya Samsonov to give the Americans a late, 2-1 lead in the middle frame. The Bears would get their second power play of the period and third of the night late in the period when Rochester’s William Borgen was called for holding at the 14:57 mark. Porter would strike shorthanded to give Rochester a commanding 3-1 lead on his third of the season, with an assist from C.J. Smith. The period would end with the Bears down 3-1, and in shots 26-17.
The Bears’ bad end to the second period would continue early in the third, as forward Jayson Megna took a boarding penalty just over five minutes into the frame; again the Bears would kill it off. Just over two minutes later, Rochester’s Dalton Smith netted his first of the campaign to give the Americans a dominating 4-1 lead at the 7:19 mark. Things would take a nasty turn late in the third, when O’Brien boarded an American, sending Andrew McWilliam to his teammate’s defense. O’Brien’s boarding call was served by teammated Jusse Ikonen, and in addition O’Brien received a five-minute major for fighting. Rochester’s Lawrence Pilut was called for slashing at the 14:21 mark to give the Bears a late period power play, which yielded no results. The game would end with neither team scoring on the man-advantaged, and the Bears being outshot, 34-27.
By Michael Fleetwood