Connor McMichael, Ethen Frank and Beck Malenstyn Score, Bears Sink Islanders, 4-1

Photo: Bridgeport Islanders

The Hershey Bears beat the Bridgeport Islanders, 4-1, Friday night at the Total Mortgage Arena in Bridgeport, Connecticut. Ethen Frank scored his team-leading 21st goal of the season, Connor McMichael scored his 11th goal since re-joining the Bears and Riley Sutter scored his first goal since October in the victory. With the win, the Bears record improves to 29-10-4-1 (63 points) on the season.


Hunter Shepard (11-2-3-1, 2.12 GAA, .918 sv%) got the start between the pipes for the visiting Bears. Jakub Skarek (6-10-3-1, 3.40 GAA, .889 sv%) got the start in goal for the Islanders. The forward lines and defensive pairs for the Bears:

Mike Vecchione –Mike Sgarbossa – Ethen Frank
Joe Snively – Connor McMichael – Henrik Borgstrom
Aliaksei Protas – Hendrix Lapierre – Garrett Pilon
Beck Malenstyn – Riley Sutter – Mason Morelli

Gabriel Carlsson – Dylan McIlrath
Aaron Ness – Bobby Nardella
Lucas Johansen – Vinny Iorio

Scratches: Henrik Rybinski (non-Covid illness), Sam Anas (abdominal surgery, out indefinitely), Kale Kessy (upper body injury), Jake Massie, Shane Gersich, Julian Napravnik, Logan Day, and Matthew Strome.

Recalls/Re-assignments: Aliaksei Protas was re-assigned to Hershey on Wednesday. The Capitals re-assigned goaltender Clay Stevenson from AHL Hershey to ECHL South Carolina on Saturday.

Bears head coach Todd Nelsen was not with the team for personal reasons. Nick Bootland took over head coaching duties for tonight’s game.


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

Hershey led in shots, 9-2. Hershey was 0 for 1 and Bridgeport 0 for 2 on the power play after 20 minutes of play.


The Bears finally got one passed Skarek, early in the middle frame. Riley Sutter (3) dented the twine just 25 seconds into the middle frame. Mason Morelli (19) and Gabriel Carlsson (12) had the helpers.

The Bears made it 2-0 on Connor McMichael’s 11th goal since re-joining the Bears at 6:52. Garrett Pilon (12) and Joe Snively (3) had the helpers.

Bridgeport answered with a shorthanded tally moments later to cut the Bears lead in half. Chris Terry (14) notched the Islanders initial tally at 8:25. Kyle MacLean (5) had the lone assist.

Ethen Frank restored the Bears two-goal lead at 11:37 of the second period. Connor McMichael (11) and Mike Vecchione (21) had the assists.

The Bears held a 3-1 lead at the end of two periods of play. Hershey led in shots 13-11 in the middle frame and 22-13 after 40 minutes of play. The Bears were 1 for 3 and the Islanders 0 for 2 on the power play after 40 minutes.


The Bears extended their lead midway through the final frame. Beck Malenstyn (4) redirected a shot from the point by Aaron Ness for the 4-1 lead. Aaron Ness (9) and Riley Sutter (5) had the assists.

That would be it, as the Bears held on for the 4-1 win.

The Bears are back in action on Saturday when they host the Lehigh Valley Phantoms at Giant Center. Puck drop is set for 7PM.


  • AHL box score
  • Attendance: 2,253
  • Hunter Shepard stopped 20 of 21 shots faced.
  • Connor McMichael was the first star of the game.
  • Todd Nelsen was not with the team for personal reasons. He is fine and will rejoin the team after the All-Star break.

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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11 Responses to Connor McMichael, Ethen Frank and Beck Malenstyn Score, Bears Sink Islanders, 4-1

  1. KimRB says:

    Frank is a sniper. He barely flicked his wrists, and that shot went in the net. Sign him please

    A lot of fans disguised as empty seats in that building

  2. GRin430 says:

    What’s happened this year in Hershey has to be a consideration for what the Caps do at the deadline and over the summer. Unlike a lot of past Hershey teams, which were good due to having a lot of top-end AHL lifers, this team has multiple true prospects leading the way. There are 5-6 forwards, a D-man or 2 and a goalie who should be solid players (or better) in the NHL very soon — maybe even later this season if the Caps decide to sell a few guys at the deadline. Add Suzdalev, Miroshnichenko, etc. and the Caps are definitely in a position to avoid overpaying for aging vets. Which they’ll probably do anyway, because that’s their MO.

  3. novafyre says:

    In the first of a back-to-back-to-back series against the Railers, Clay stopped 24 of 26 shots for the win. Clay, Maass, and Bear (PP) got assists. Has did not play.

    • Jon Sorensen says:

      I saw Rays lineup card from last night. Any feel for Has and if these are healthy scratches?

      • Novafyre says:

        Nothing on website and nothing said by announcers. Second game in just over an hour, perhaps will learn more then. Some injured have returned past few games so perhaps just healthy scratches.

        • Jon Sorensen says:

          He’s in the lineup tonight. Strange.

          • Novafyre says:

            When Cody mentioned him being in tonight’s game, he implied (or I inferred) that they have depth now with players returning from injuries and coach is shuffling players between the three games in 3 days.

            • Jon Sorensen says:

              So, I guess we can infer Has is a 7D? It’s not injury related. Thought the kid could do more. Impressive, played all over the world and well at times. Won a championship in The Q last year.

              • novafyre says:

                I would instead say he is one of many D. If he sits tomorrow afternoon, ok, maybe he’s #7. But with a lot of players back from injuries, Rays might just be wanting to try to rotate everyone back in, give everyone some game time. Didn’t get any negative vibes from the announcer.

                More troubling to me is that all, but Bear especially, seem to have gone cold. He just hasn’t been the same since the break. And it’s not like the Rays aren’t scoring.

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