Checkers Beat Bears, 2-1, Now Trail In Series, 2-1

Screen cap: AHL TV

The Charlotte Checkers staved off elimination with a 2-1 victory over the Hershey Bears  Wednesday night at Giant Center in Hershey. The Bears now lead 2-1 in their best-of-five Atlantic Division Semifinal series with the Checkers. Game 4 is set for Thursday night in Hershey.

Following a scoreless first period, Sam Anas opened the scoring with his second tally of the series less than three minutes into the middle frame to give the Bears an early 1-0 lead. However, the Checkers would answer with two goals, both on the end of Bears turnovers, late in the second period to take a 2-1 lead at the second intermission. The third period would go scoreless as the Checkers held on for the 2-1 win.


Hunter Shepard (2-0-0, 1.50 GAA, .932 sv%) got the start between the pipes for the Bears. Mack Guzda (1-2-0, 4.55 GAA, .833 sv%) got the start in goal for the Checkers. The forward lines and defensive pairs for the Bears:

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

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

Hunter Shepard
Zach Fucale

Scratches: Shane Gersich, Henrik Borgstrom, Henrik Rybinski, Matt Strome, Logan Day, Bogdan Trineyev, Julian Napravnik, Jake Massie, Ludwig Persson, Dru Krebs, Alexander Suzdalev and Garin Bjorklund.


Injuries to Bears defensemen was the story in the first period. First, Aaron Ness took a hit along the boards early in the period, dropped his stick, left the ice and headed to the room.

Moments later Bobby Nardella took a stick to the face and also left the game, leaving the Bears with just four defensemen.

Nardella would return late in the period. Ness did not return. Charlotte led in shots 10-4 in the first period. There were no penalties called in the first frame.


The Bears announced during the first intermission that Aaron Ness would not return to the game.

The Bears opened the scoring on a snipe by Sam Anas at 2:07 of the second period. Dylan McIlrath (1) had the lone assist.

Vinny iorio took an awkward fall into the boards midway through the middle frame, but reamined in the game.

But the Checkers would answer late in the second period. Charlotte tied the game on a Vinny Iorio turnover in the Bears offensive zone that was collected by Cory Conacher (2) and taken in for a one-on-none breakaway score.

The Bears had a total of 10 shots with 2:32 remaining in the second period, something that has been a trend for the Bears as of late.

The Checkers took their first lead of the game with a little over two minutes remaining in the second period on another Bears turnover. Aleksi Heponiemi (1) notched the Checkers second tally at 17:53. John Ludvig (2) and Henry Bowlby (2) had the helpers.

Both of the Checkers goals beat Shepard high blocker side.

The second period concluded with the Checkers holding a 2-1 lead. Shots were tied 9-9 in the middle frame with the Checkers leading 19-13 after two periods.


The Bears opened the third period with 1:23 of power play time remaining but where unable to capitalize on the man advantage.

The Bears returned to the power play midway through the final frame but were unable to generate even one shot.

The Bears returned to the man advantage with 6:17 remaining in the game, but once again came up empty.

Hendrix Lapierre took an awkward fall into the boards late in the period but eventually made his way to the bench and remained in the game.

The Bears pulled Hunter Shepard with about three minutes remaining in the game. Soon after Shepard departed for the bench the Checkers were called for another penalty, setting up a 6-on-4 man advantage for the Bears with 1:32 remaining in the game. The Bears once again came up empty as the Checkers held on for the 2-1 win.

Game 4 of the series will be Thursday night in Hershey. Puck drop is set for 7PM.


  • AHL box score
  • Attendance: 8,620
  • Hershey led in shots 22-20.
  • Hershey was 0 for 5 on the power play.
  • Hunter Shepard stopped 18 of 20 for a .900 game save percentage

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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8 Responses to Checkers Beat Bears, 2-1, Now Trail In Series, 2-1

  1. Anonymous says:

    Bears power play was dreadful. 0 for 5. Nelson must have been pissed with PP1 starting PP2 on the first power play in the third period.

  2. GRin430 says:

    The PP sucked, but in the end they lost because of an apparent miscommunication between Iorio and McIlrath who, both being RHD, probably don’t play together much, and then a brain fart by 3 Bears who apparently didn’t recognize that the guy in the white and red sweater behind them was a member of the Charlotte Checkers, and he might actually get the puck and score if they didn’t pay attention to him.

    Not that the Bears really played well enough to win otherwise, but the Checkers 2 goals were just major screw-ups by Hershey, not great plays by Charlotte.

  3. Anonymous says:

    That was a poor performance by most of the team. One of the Bears coaches said during the second intermission that there were too many riders

  4. Anonymous says:

    Charlotte figured a few things out since game 2. How to slow bears down and block zone entires, and where to shoot on Hunter Shepard. I bet we see Fucale on Thursday.

  5. Jon Sorensen says:

    Greetings folks! Just a quick note, if you haven’t done so already, please consider subscribing to NoVa Caps posts in the “subscribe” box located in the upper right corner. Thank you!

  6. Anonymous says:

    Last nights team isn’t going anywhere but the golf course. Hopefully they find “it” again.

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