Crunch Outlast Bears, 5-3, In Regular Season Finale

Photo: The Hershey Bears

The Hershey Bears fell to the Syracuse Crunch, 5-3, Sunday night at Giant Center in Hershey. The loss drops the Bears record to 34-32-6-4 (78 points) on the season. With the loss, the Bears finish 5th in the Division.

After another scoreless period in the first, the Bears finally notched a tally on home ice when Brett Leason found the back of the net early in the second period. The Crunch would answer late in the middle frame for a 1-1 tie at the second intermission.

The Crunch would add a pair of goals early in the final frame before Garrett Pilon notched his 17th of the season to close the gap to 3-2. The Crunch would reinstate their two-goal lead less than a minute later, but Jake Massie would again cut the gap to 4-3 with his second goal of the season. The Crunch would seal it with an empty net goal late for the 5-3 final.


The Bears started Pheonix Copley (18-11-5-2, 2.33 GAA, .915 sv %) in net while the Crunch countered with Hugo Alnefelt (9-6-4-0, 3.05 GAA, .882 sv%). The starting forward lines and defensive pairs for the Bears:

Injuries: Shane Gersich (lower body injury), Ethan Frank (lower body injury), Brian Pinho (shoulder surgery), Matt Moulson (back surgery), Macoy Erkamps, (illness), Cody Franson, Julian Napravnik (lower body injury) and Riley Sutter (upper-body injury).

Scratches:  Lucas Johansen, Kale Kessy, Christopher Brown, Hunter Shepard and Clay Stevenson.

Amateur Tryout Agreements: The Bears signed Benton Maass, Dru Krebs and Garin Bjorklund to amateur tryout agreements.


The Bears and Crunch skated to a scoreless draw in the first period.

Hershey led in shots 10-6. Both teams were 0 for 1 on the power play in the first period.


The Bears finally notched a goal on Giant Center ice. The first goal since April 10th. Brett Leason (6) would do the honors at 4:57 of the second period. Mike Sgarbossa (9) and Garrett Pilon (25) had the helpers.

The Crunch would answer late in the second period with a goal from Simon Ryfors (10) at 13:55 of the second period. Gage Goncalves (15) and Riley Nash (8) had the assists.

The period would end with the game tied 1-1. Syracuse led in shots 13-12 in the second period with the Bears leading 22-19 after two periods. Syracuse was 0 for 2 and Hershey 1 for 3 on the power play after two periods.


The Crunch took a 2-1 lead early in the third period on a power play blast by Charles Hudon (30) at 1:52.

The Crunch would quickly make it 3-1 on a nasty snipe by Remi Elie (15) at 5:10 of the final frame. Simon Ryfors (23) and Alex Green (20) had the helpers.

Alex Alexeyev would take a cheap hit midway through the period, giving the Bears a major power play.

Alexeyev would return to game later in the period.

Garrett Pilon (17) would close the gap to 3-2 on a beautiful play at 8:41. Mike Sgarbossa (10) had the lone assist.

But the Crunch would answer with a goal from Gemel Smith (5) at 9:05 of the third period, making it 4-2.

The Bears would cut the gap to 4-3 on a goal from Jake Massie (2) at 15:54. Mike Sgarbossa (11) and Tobias Geisser (10) had the helpers.

The Crunch would add an empty net goal to make it 5-3, the final.


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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3 Responses to Crunch Outlast Bears, 5-3, In Regular Season Finale

  1. Anonymous says:

    At least that one had a little better feel with regards to Bears defense. Let’s see what a week of time off does.

  2. novafyre says:

    I don’t believe either team is going to go far in the Calder Cup playoffs.

  3. novafyre says:

    I just watched the game on and listened to their Awards. Couldn’t hear them very well so I went to their website and found this:
    plus/minus award: Lucas Johansen
    most improved player: Mason Morelli
    most 3star nominations: Mike Vecchione; Mike Vecchione was also the points leader
    unsung hero: Alex Alexeyev
    rookie award: Aliaksei Protas
    best defenseman: Lucas Johansen
    MVP: Joe Snively and Pheonix Copley; Note that Joe has been out for weeks due to wrist surgery and when he recovers, he will probably be in DC not Hershey based on him wearing a Caps non-contact jersey this week.

    Note that McMichael, Jonsson-Fjallby and Fehervary aren’t award winners. They have “graduated” to the Caps. That’s working out for Fever, but is it working out for McM? Has he helped the Caps? He hasn’t helped the Bears. Same for Axel.

    So that’s four top players that the Bears lost to graduation this year. Through in injuries and it is a very different Bears team going into the Calder Cup playoffs than what we expected at the start of the year.

    Corrections Jon?

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