The Hershey Bears beat the Belleville Senators 3-1 Friday night at the CAA Arena in Belleville, Ontario. The win improves the Bears record to 40-24-3-4 (87 points) on the season. The Bears magic number to clinch a playoff berth is now down to four points. The Bears close-out their three games in three nights north of the border with a tilt with the Laval Rocket on Saturday. Puck drop is set for 3:00 PM.
Vitek Vanecek (18-10-5-2, 2.70 GAA, .903 sv%) got the start between the pipes for the visiting Bears. Marcus Hogberg (19-8-6-2, 2.27 GAA, .919 sv%) got the start in goal for the Senators. The starting forward lines and defensive pairs for the Bears:
O’Brien– Sgarbossa – Whitney
Snively– Megna – Smith-Pelly
OBrien – Pilon – Malenstyn
Kammerer – Gustafsson – Pinho
Johansen – Lewington
Ness – Sproul
Williams – Hobbs
Scratches: Kris Bindulis (upper body), Tobias Geisser (upper body) and Riley Barber (upper body) were the injury scratches. Juuso Ikonen was the healthy scratch. Nathan Walker was recalled by the Capitals on Friday (today).
The Bears would open the scoring with a power play goal from Jayson Megna at 5:37 of the first period. Devante Smith-Pelly (6) and Garrett Pilon (23) with the helpers.
Shane Gersich would get rocked with a hit late in the first frame, and would be called for a retaliatory penalty, giving the Sens their second power play of the opening frame. Gersich did little to retaliate, but may have been called for taking the Sens player’s stick, which was actually executed by Connor Hobbs. The Sens would be unable to capitalize on the man advantage.
The Senators would tie the game with a goal with 17 seconds remaining in the first period. Vitaly Abramov would be credited with the tally for Belleville.
The first period would end with the game tied 1-1. The Senators outshot the Bears 8-5 for the first period. The Bears were 1 for 32 and the Sens 1 of 4 on the power play in the first period.
The Bears would retake the lead early in the middle frame with a blast from the point by Aaron Ness at 3:15 of the second period. Brian Pinho (8) and Max Kammerer (9) were credited with the helpers.
The Bears would make it 3-1 with a goal from Shane Gersich at 10:27 of the second period. Steve Whitney (6) and Mike Sgarbossa (32) had the assists. The goal was Gersich’s 7th of the season.
Garrett Pilon would take a lower body blow with about eight minutes left in the second period, and would have to leave the game and not return. No update on the Pilon injury was provided before the end of the game.
The second period would end with the Bears leading 3-1. Shots on goal were tied 7-7. The Bears were 1 for 2 and the Senators were 1 for 4 on the power play after 40 minutes of play.
The Bears and Senators would go scoreless in the final frame. The Bears were outshot 10-1 in the final frame.
- Stars of the game: 1) Vitek Vanecek, 2) Aaron Ness and 3) Jordan Murray.
- Vitek Vanecek stopped 24 of 25 shots faced for a .960 game save percentage.
- Belleville outshot Hershey 25-13 for the game.
- Bears were 1 for 3 and the Senators 1 for 6 on the power play.
- Attendance: 2,848
- The AHL box score is here.
SCENES FROM BELLEVILLE
Ugly cheap shot to Garret Pilon! NHL DPS would give that one a five-game suspension
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