Aliaksei Protas, Garrett Pilon Score In Bears 5-3 Loss To Checkers

Photo: Jacob Kupferman/Charlotte Checkers

The Hershey Bears fell to the Charlotte Checkers 5-3 Friday night at the Bojangles Coliseum in Charlotte, North Carolina. The loss gives the Bears a 2-1-0 record to start the 2021-22 season.


The Bears opened the scoring with a goal from Aliaksei Protas early in the first frame, but the Checkers would answer less than two minutes later with a goal from Alexander True. The Checkers would stretch their lead to 2-1 with a goal from Max McCormick for a 2-1 lead at the first intermission.

The Bears would tie the game 2-2 midway through the middle frame with a 5-on-3 power play goal by Mike Sgarbossa, his second goal of the season. The Bears would then take the lead with a power play goal from Garrett Pilon late in the second period, but once again the Checkers would answer to tie the game 3-3 before the second intermission.

The Checkers got a late goal from Max McCormick at 15:14 to make it 4-3. Alexander True  and Connor Carrick had the assists. They would add an empty net goal for the 5-3 final.


Pheonix Copley (1-0-0, 2.00 GAA, .867 sv%) got the start between the pipes for the visiting Bears. Christopher Gibson (0-1-0, 5.06 GAA, .853 sv%) got the start in goal for the Checkers. The starting forward lines and defensive pairs for the Bears:

Scratches: Kale Kessy, Riley Sutter (injured), Mason Morelli and Eddie Wittchow.

Reassigned: Hunter Shepard (G), Jake Massie (D) and Ryan Dmowski (F) were reassigned to South Carolina (ECHL) on Tuesday (10/19).


The Bears struck first with a nice 2-on-1 rush. Axel Jonsson-Fjallby would find Aliaksei Protas (1) with a cross-ice feed for the game’s first score at 5:28 of the opening period. Axel Jonsson-Fjallby (2) and Brian Pinho (2) had the helpers.

But the Checkers would answer less than two minutes later. Alexander True (3) would tie the game at 6:42 of the first frame. Max McCormick (2) and Logan hutsko (4) had the assists.

The Checkers would stretch their lead to 2-1 with a goal from Max McCormick (2) at 14:29 of the first frame. Serron Noel (1) and Alexander True (2) had the assists.

The period would end with the Checkers leading 2-1. Hershey led in shots 14-10. Charlotte was 0 for 2 on the power play while the Bears did not have a man advantage in the first frame.


The Bears tied the game midway through the second period with a 5-on-3 power play goal, finished by Mike Sgarbossa (2) at 9:02 of the middle frame. Garrett Pilon (3) and Mike Vecchione (2) had the assists.

The Bears would take the lead with a power play goal from Garrett Pilon (2), his second power play goal of the season, at 13:47. Mike Vecchione (3) and Matt Moulson (1) had the helpers.

But the Checkers would once again answer quickly, tying the game 3-3. Aleksi Heponiemi (2) would pot the tying tally, with Maxim Mamin (2), Lucas Carlsson (2) providing the assists.

The middle stanza would conclude with the game tied 3-3. The Bears led in shots 13-7 in the second period and 27-17 after two periods. Hershey was 2 for 3 and Charlotte 0 for 3 on the power play after two periods.


The Checkers would grab a 4-3 lead late in the final frame with a goal from Max McCormick (3) at 15:14, his second goal of the game.

The Checkers would add an empty net goal for the 5-3 final. The Bears outshot the Checkers 9-3 in the final frame.


  • AHL box score
  • Attendance: 5,317
  • Bears led in shots 36-20.
  • Joe Snively led the Bears in shots with 5.
  • Bears were 2 for 4 and the Checkers 0 for 4 on the power play.
  • 150th career AHL game for Brian Pinho and Garrett Pilon.
  • Including the 2019 Calder Cup Playoffs, the Bears had lost four straight games at the Bojangles’ Coliseum, entering tonight’s tilt.
  • Hershey’s last victory in North Carolina came over three years ago on Oct. 20, 2018. The Bears upended the Checkers 2-0, thanks to a 25-save clean sheet from Vitek Vanecek and goals from Liam O’Brien and Steve Whitney.
  • Tonight marked the first home game for the Checkers since March 11, 2020, as the AHL season was cancelled following that game and Charlotte opted out of the shortened 2020-21 campaign.
  • During that gap the Checkers became the AHL affiliate of the Florida Panthers, and for this season they will also serve as the AHL affiliate for the Seattle Kraken – whose AHL team will begin play next season.


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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