Sonny Milano Scores First Goal As A Hershey Bear, But Bears Fall To Checkers, 3-2 In Overtime

Hendrix Lapierre/Hershey Bears: Photo: Charlotte Checkers

The Hershey Bears fell to the Charlotte Checkers, 3-2 (OT) Saturday night at Bojangles Coliseum in Charlotte. Sonny Milano scored his first goal as a Bear and Hunter Shepard stopped 31 of 34 in his first start of the season. The loss drops the Bears record to 2-1-1-0 on the season. 


Hunter Shepard got the start in goal for the Bears. Mack Guzda got the start between the pipes for the Checkers.

Sonny MilanoMike VecchioneGarrett Pilon
Julian Napravnik – Henrik Borgstrom Sam Anas
Mason MorelliHendrix LapierreEthan Frank
Shane GersichRiley SutterMatthew Strome

Lucas JohansenDylan McIlrath
Gabriel CarlssonVinny Iorio
Bobby NardellaLogan Day

Scratches: Jake Massie, Aaron Ness (lower body injury from blocking a shot yesterday), Kale Kessy, Mike Sgarbossa (paternity leave), Martin Has (injury in first preseason game) and Henrik Rybinski were the scratches.

Recalls/Reassignments: Beck Malenstyn was recalled by the Capitals earlier this week.


The Bears opened the scoring with a 2-on-1 breakaway goal finished by Ethan Frank at 6:08 of the first frame. Mason Morelli (4) set the play up and had the primary assist. Logan Day had the secondary assist, his first point for the Bears.

The Checkers would tie the game on a power play late in the first frame. Logan Hutsko (1) potted the tying tally at 16:18. Zac Dalpe (1) and Santtu Kinnunen (3) had the helpers.

The period ended in a 1-1 tie. The Checkers led in shots 14-9 in the first frame. Hershey was 0 for 2 and Charlotte 0 for 1 on the power play in the first period.


The Bears regained the lead with a power play marker from Sonny Milano (1), at 2:43 of the middle frame. It was his first goal for the Bears. Mike Vecchione (2) and Bobby Nardella (3) had the assists.

The Checkers tied the game midway through the middle frame on a turnover by Dylan McIlrath in the Bears zone. Logan Hutsko (2) finished for the game-tying tally at 9:08 in the second period. Zac Dalpe (2) and Calle Sjalin (1) had the helpers.

The period ended in a 2-2 tie. Charlotte led in shots 10-8 in the second period, and 24-17 after two periods. Hershey was 1 for 5 and Charlotte 0 for 1 on the power play after two periods.


The Bears and Checkers skated to a scoreless draw in the final frame. Hunter Shepard made two huge saves to keep the game even, late.

Hershey led in shots 10-8 in the final frame. Hershey was 1 for 6 on the power play. Charlotte was 0 for 2 on the power play.


The Checkers would win it in overtime.

The Bears are back in action on Friday when they visit the Wolf Pack in Hartford. Puck drop is set for 7PM.


  • AHL box score
  • Attendance: 6,508
  • Charlotte led in shots 34-29.
  • Hunter Shepard stopped 31 of 34 for a .911 game save percentage.
  • Bobby Nardella led all Bears in shots with 6.
  • 200th professional game for Lucas Johansen (199 in AHL, 1 in NHL)

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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12 Responses to Sonny Milano Scores First Goal As A Hershey Bear, But Bears Fall To Checkers, 3-2 In Overtime

  1. Anonymous says:

    This could be a long year.

  2. novafyre says:

    Sounds like a good first game for Hunter. Any idea how Bears are going to handle the goalie rotation? 50/50 or first and second?

  3. Anonymous says:

    Two tough losses in Charlotte.

  4. DWGie26 says:

    Missing a couple of key players in Scarbossa and Ness.

    I’d like to see Scarbossa center Lapierre and Anas on second line when he comes back from Paternity leave.

  5. Jeremy says:

    Charlotte is always a tough one for the Bears

  6. novafyre says:

    On a positive note, the South Carolina Stingrays, Caps’ ECHL affiliate, won their first game 5-2 and second 8-1.

  7. steven says:

    Just wondering if Sonny Milano might mot be what they call in baseball a 4A player. Someone better than playing in the minors but not just there for the big leagues? I know he is youngish, only 26, but just dont see him as anything other tan a flash in the pan NHL’er or a full time minor league guy.

    • Jon Sorensen says:

      Yep, spot on, Steven. Already heard that exact reference about him.

      • novafyre says:

        And it’s so hard to say “I want to be a #2.” I want to play in the second tier league, or the KHL, or a Euro league. I’m content not to be an NHLer.

        And that is a shame. Jim Kelly of the Buffalo Bills took his team to the Super Bowl four years in a row and lost all four times. He was later an announcer for the NFL in the UK and mentioned that he was often called a loser because he could never get higher than #2.

        The AHL (and the ECHL and the other pro leagues) need stars of their own, not just players that they are grooming for the NHL. They’re never going to make NHL money in those leagues, but they will gain fans, get awards, sell jerseys. It’s an honorable job.

        I think Kempny just made that decision.

    • DWGie26 says:

      That is probably exactly what he is. Same as AJF. Not a big loss. Leason is a bit different because he is only 21 or so an still time to mature. But signing Sonny was definitely to replace those two tweeners. He is definitely call-up material though.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Is Snively a 4A also

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