Bears Beat Checkers 2-1; Liam O’Brien Ends Bears Scoring Drought

Photo: Caroline O’Connor/Hershey Bears/Great Save Productions.

The Hershey Bears beat the Charlotte Checkers 2-1 Saturday night at Giant Center. The win improves the Bears record to 8-6-2-2 (20 points) on the season. The Bears are now off until next Saturday when they visit the Sound Tigers in Bridgeport. Puck drop is 7:00 PM.

Pheonix Copley (3-4-3-1, 2.54 GAA, .904 sv%) got the start in goal for the Bears for the second straight night. Anton Forsberg (4-1-1-0, 3.22 GAA, .890 sv%) started between the pipes for the Checkers. The starting forward lines and defensive pairs for the Bears:

The Capitals recalled forward Travis Boyd and goaltender Vitek Vanecek from the Bears and assigned goaltender Ilya Samsonov and defenseman Tyler Lewington to Hershey on Saturday.

Scratches: Lucas Johansen (lower body injury, day-to-day), Bobby Nardella (upper body injury, week-to-week), Connor Hobbs (lower body injury, day-to-day). Brett Leason, Ilya Samsonov, Kale Kessy, Chris McCarthy and Tobias Geisser were the healthy scratches.

The Bears substantial early pressure with several nice chances. Jonsson-Fjsllby had two shots from point blank range but just couldn’t get it passed Forsberg. Hershey led 8-2 in shots on goal midway through the first frame.

The Bears would dominate the opening frame, from end to end, but were unable to make the score sheet, as the first period expired with the game scoreless. The Bears led in shots on goal 13-7. Both teams were 0 for 1 on the power play in the first 20 minutes. The Bears have gone 152:44 without scoring a goal – over seven periods.

The Bears would continue to dominate possession, leading 11-4 in shots on goal midway through the second period. Charlotte had the first for shots of the period, but the Bears would regain possession, outshooting the Checkers 12-4 with seven minutes left in the period. There were several nice scoring chances but none could find the back of the net.

Beck Malenstyn would turn in the hit of the game with this teeth rattler early in the second period.

The Bears would finally end the drought. Liam O’Brien would have the honors with a tally on the doorstep at 14:58 of the middle frame. Joe Snively (2) and Alex Alexeyev (7) had the assists.

The second period would end with the Bears leading 1-0. The Bears outshot the Checkers 18-7 for the middle period, and led 31-14 after two periods of play. Charlotte was 0 for 2 and the Bears 0 for 4 on the power play after two periods of play.

The Checkers would tie the game midway through the final frame with a power play goal from Max McCormick at 8:27 of the middle frame.

But the Bears would respond Mike Sgarbossa would regain the lead for Hershey with a power play goal at 13:23 of the final frame. Christian Djoos (10) and Garret Pilon (4) had the helpers.

The Bears would hang on for the 2-1 win.

Spencer Carbery’s postgame media session:


  • Attendance: 10,241
  • The AHL box score is here.
  • Bears outshot the Checkers 37-18.
  • Garret Pilon led the Bears in shots with 5.
  • Pheonix Copley stopped 16 of 17 shots for a .941 game save percentage.
  • Stars of the game: 1) Mike Sgarbossa, 2: Liam O’Brien, and 3) Anton Forsberg.
  • Checkers were 1 for 3 and the Bears 1 for 6 on the power play.
  • The Bears goal in the second period ended a scoreless drought of 167:44.


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Hockey. Fights. Cancer. 💪 #HBH 💜

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Excellent view for my first Bears game!! #hockeyseason

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About Jon Sorensen

Jon has been a Caps fan since day one, attending his first game at the Capital Centre in 1974. His interest in the Caps has grown over the decades and included time as a season ticket holder. He has been a journalist covering the team for 10+ years, primarily focusing on analysis, analytics and prospect development.
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