The Hershey Bears downed the Hartford Wolf Pack 4-1 on Saturday night at the XL Center in Hartford, Connecticut. The win improves the Bears record to 37-18-3-3 (80 points) on the season, and maintains the Bears two-point lead over the Providence Bruins for first place in the Atlantic Division.
After a scoreless first frame, the Bears would get goals from Matt Moulson, Phil Maillet and Brian Pinho for a 3-0 lead at the second intermission. The Wolf Pack would score their first goal in six periods of play this weekend on Vitek Vanecek midway through the final frame to make it 3-1. The Bears would add an empty net goal from Tyler Lewington to make it 4-1, and that was the final.
Vitek Vanecek (18-10-1-2, 2.30 GAA, .915 sv%) started between the pipes for the visiting Bears. J.F. Berube (13-15-4-3, 2.54 GAA, .904 sv%) got the start in goal for the Wolf Pack. The starting forward lines and defensive pairs for the Bears:
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Scratches: Tommy Hughes, Kale Kessy, Lucas Johansen, Connor Hobbs (shoulder surgery, out indefinitely) and Brett Leason (illness, did not make the trip) were the injury scratches. Joe Snively, Steve Whitney and Colby Williams were the healthy scratches.
The Bears and Wolf Pack skated to a scoreless draw in the first frame. It was the third scoreless period in the first four played in the two-game set.
Hartford led in shots 9-6 for the first 20 minutes. Both teams were 0 for 1 on the power play in the first period.
The Bears finally cracked the seal on the scoring with a tap-in goal from Matt Moulson (21) just 52 seconds into the middle frame. The tap-in was setup by an initial blast from the right point by Brian Pinho (16). Bobby Nardella (26) had the secondary assist.
The Bears would quickly make it 2-0 with a power play goal from Phil Maillet (16) at 3:48 of the middle frame. Daniel Sprong (20) and Bobby Nardella (26) had the helpers.
The Bears would make it 2-0 with a goal from Brian Pinho (20) at 9:05 of the middle frame. Bobby Nardella (27) and Erik Burgdoerfer (7) had the helpers. It was Nardella’s third assist of the game.
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The Wolf Pack pulled J.F. Berube from goal and replaced him with Adam Huska following the Pinho goal.
The second period would end with the Bears leading 3-0. The Bears led in shots on goal 18-9 for the middle frame, and 24-18 after two periods. Hershey was 1 for 2 and Hartford 0 for 1 on the power play after two periods.
The Wolf Pack would finally put one past Vanecek late in the final frame. Nick Jones would pot the tally at 12:03 of the final frame, making it 3-1. It was the Wolf Packs only goal in six periods of play by Vanecek.
The Bears would add an empty net goal from Tyler Lewington to make it 4-1, and that would be the final.
The Bears are back in action on Sunday when they visit the Bruins in Providence. Puck drop is set for just after 3:00 PM.
- AHL box score
- Attendance: 4,814
- Stars of the game: 1) Bobby Nardella, 2) Brian Pinho and 3) Vitek Vanecek
- Brian Pinho had three assists.
- Bears led in shots 33-27.
- Matt Moulson led the Bears in shots with 6.
- Hershey was 1 for 4 and Hartford 0 for 2 on the power play.
- Vitek Vanecek stopped 26 of 27 in the game and 56 of 57 for the weekend.
SCENES FROM HARTFORD