Zach Fucale Returns To Form, Brian Pinho Scores Two Goals In Bears 4-0 Blitz Of Comets

Photo: @UticaComets

The Hershey Bears downed the Utica Comets, 4-0 Friday night at the Adirondack Bank Center in Utica, New York. Goaltender Zach Fucale stopped all 34 shots he faced and was the number one star of the game. The victory improves the Bears record to 26-18-3-3 (58 points) on the season.

The Bears opened the scoring with a power play goal from Aliaksei Protas early in the first frame. Lucas Johansen would make two beautiful passes in the middle frame to setup goals by Mike Vecchione and Brian Pinho to give the Bears a 3-0 lead after two periods. Brian Pinho added an empty net goal to make it 4-0, the final.


STARTERS

The visiting Bears started goaltender Zach Fucale (7-8-0-4, 3.00 GAA, .876 sv%) in net while the Comets countered with Akira Schmid (13-2-2-2, 2.13 GAA, .929 sv%) in goal. The starting forward lines and defensive pairs for the Bears:

Injuries: Garrett Pilon (upper-body injury), Mike Sgarbossa (upper-body injury), Matt Moulson (back surgery), Kody Clark (lower-body injury) and Bobby Nardella (lower-body injury).

Scratches:  Brett Leason (not on the trip, at WWE Smackdown), Macoy Erkamps, Drake Rymsha, Riley Sutter.


FIRST PERIOD

The Bears opened the scoring with a power play goal from Aliaksei Protas (3) at 5:25 of the first frame. Cody Franson (20) and Axel Jonsson-Fjallby (20) had the helpers.

That would be all of the scoring in the first period. Utica led in shots 14-10 in the first 20 minutes. Hershey was 1 for 2 and Utica 0 for 2 on the power play in the first period.


SECOND PERIOD

The Bears would make it 2-0 with a breakaway score from Mike Vecchione early in the middle frame. The play was setup by a nice stretch-pass from Lucas Johansen at 2:53. Johansen (16) and Alex Alexeyev (11) had the helpers.

The Bears would make it 3-0 late in the middle frame with a goal from Brian Pinho (7) at 14:39. The goal was setup by another nice pass from Lucas Johansen. Johansen (17) and Mason Morelli (13) with the assists.

The period would end with the Bears leading 3-0. Utica led in shots 7-6 in the middle frame. Hershey was 1 for 2 and Utica 0 for 2 on the power play after two periods.


THIRD PERIOD

The Comets pulled their netminder with 6:30 remaining in regulation and the score still 3-0. The Bears would capitalize. Brian Pinho would notch the empty netter to make it 4-0.

That would be the final.

The Bears are back in action on Sunday when they host the same Utica Comets at Giant Center. Puck drop is set for just after 5:00 PM.


SHAVINGS

  • AHL box score
  • Attendance: 3,917
  • Stars of the game: 1) Zach Fucale, 2) Brian Pinho and 3) Mike Vecchione
  • Utica led in shots 34-25.
  • Dylan McIlrath led all Bears in shots with 4.
  • Hershey was 1 for 2 and Utica 0 for 4 on the power play.

SCENES FROM UTICA

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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5 Responses to Zach Fucale Returns To Form, Brian Pinho Scores Two Goals In Bears 4-0 Blitz Of Comets

  1. Anonymous says:

    Good to see Fucale turn in a good game after a few duds. Hope he can string a few together. Let him go again Sunday.

  2. Marky says:

    Johansson has really come on this year. If he stays healthy, he could make the Caps in the near future. Glad to see his pro career finally turning around.

    • Jon Sorensen says:

      He really has, Marky. I’ve watched everyone of his games throughout his career, and yes, he was injured a lot, but he did play 130+ AHL games coming into the season. He did not look good in those games, seemed like the game was too fast for him. Something clicked this season. He started well, but I also be;I’ve the taste of the NHL this season inspired him even more. Fingers crossed for this kid.

  3. Anonymous says:

    So Leason missed the Bears game to go to wrastlin’? Makes sense.

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