Mike Vecchione Scores Twice, Ethen Frank Scores In Second-Consecutive Game, As Bears Beat Firebirds, 3-2, Tie Series 2-2

Photo: Twitter/AHL

The Hershey Bears downed the Coachella Valley Firebirds, 3-2 in game 4 of the Calder Cup Finals Thursday night at Giant Center in Hershey, Pennsylvania. With the win, the Bears tie the best-of-seven series, two games apiece.

The Bears opened the scoring in game 4 with a power play goal from Mike Vecchione less than five minutes into the contest, but Coachella Valley would answer midway through the period for a 1-1 tie after 20 minutes of play. The Bears had a 5-on-3 at the end of the period but were unable to capitalize.

The Bears regained the lead early in the middle frame on Vecchione’s second goal of the game and extended their lead to 3-1 on Ethen Frank‘s second goal in as many games to make it 3-1 at the second intermission.

The Firebirds closed the gap to a single goal just seven minutes into the final frame, but that would be it, as the Bears held on for the 3-2 win.


Hunter Shepard (11-5, 2.30 GAA, .913 sv%) got the start between the pipes for the Bears. Joey Daccord (14-8, 2.26 GAA, .926 sv%) got the start in goal for the visiting Firebirds. The forward lines and defensive pairs for the Bears:

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

Aaron Ness – Logan Day
Gabriel Carlsson – Dylan McIlrath
Lucas Johansen – Vincent Iorio

Hunter Shepard
Zach Fucale

Scratches: Mike Sgarbossa (injury), Bobby Nardella, Jake Massie, Shane Gersich, Henrik Rybinski, Matt Strome, Julian Napravnik, Bogdan Trineyev, Ludwig Persson, Dru Krebs, Alexander Suzdalev.


The Bears headed to the game’s first power play less than five minutes into the tilt after former Bear Eddie Whittchow was called for high-sticking, and the Bears immediately capitalized. Mike Vecchione (3) notched the game’s first tally at 4:27. Mason Morelli (6) and Joe Snively (11) had the helpers.

The Firebirds answered midway through the period. Austin Poganski (2) tied the game at 12:41 of the first period, assisted by Shane Wright (7) and Brogan Rafferty (8).

The Bears returned to the power play late in the opening stanza and were also awarded a 5-on-3 man advantage for 52 seconds,  but were unable to dent the twine.

The period expired with the game remaining tied 1-1. The Bears led in shots, 10-4.  Hershey was 1 for 3 and Coachella Valley 0 for 1 on the power play in the first 20 minutes.


Riley Sutter was called for a cross-checking penalty as time expired in the first period, but the Bears penalty kill took care of business and stymied the Firebirds power play.

The Bears answered the penalty kill with Mike Vecchione‘s (4) second goal of the game at 3:03 of the second period. Logan Day (9) and Henrik Borgstrom (3) had the assists.

Coachella Valley returned to the power play immediately following Mike Vecchione’s second goal of the game, but were once again unable to dent the twine.

The Bears stretched their lead to 3-1 on Ethen Frank’s (2) second goal in as many games at 14:24 of the middle frame. Mike Vecchione (3) had the lone assist.

The second period concluded with the Bears leading, 3-1. Coachella Valley led in shots, 12-11 in the second period with the Bears leading 21-16 after two periods. The Firebirds were 0 for 3 and the Bears 1 for 4 on the power play after 40 minutes of play.


The Firebirds closed the gap to 3-2 a little over seven minutes into the third period. Jesper Froden (5) notched Coachella Valley’s second goal at 7:01 of the final frame follwoing a defensive zone breakdown by the Bears. Max McCormick (13) and Ryker Evans (18) had the assists.

But the Bears would lock it down from there and hold on for the 3-2 win. They tie the series 2-2 with game 5 set for Saturday night in Hershey. Puck drop is set for 7PM ET.


  • AHL box score
  • Attendance: 10,687
  • Bears led in shots, 28-21
  • Garrett Pilon and Ethen Frank led all Bears in shots with 4 each.
  • Hunter Shepard stopped 19 of 21 for a .904 game save percentage.
  • Coachella Valley was 0 for 4 and Hershey 1 for 6 on the power play.
  • Stars of the game: 1) Mike Vecchione, 2) Ethen Frank 3) Lucas Johansen

Game 4 video recap courtesy of “The Hockey Guy”

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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20 Responses to Mike Vecchione Scores Twice, Ethen Frank Scores In Second-Consecutive Game, As Bears Beat Firebirds, 3-2, Tie Series 2-2

  1. andrew777dc says:

    YEAAAHHH!!! All tied up now! Keep the wins comin’!

  2. Anonymous says:

    Go Bears!

  3. Anonymous says:

    These last two games have been awesome. Good to see a national audience get a taste. Two more wins for #12!

  4. Anonymous says:

    Bears actually looked in-control of this game

  5. Anonymous says:

    This series is going same way for Coachella Valley as their last series. They won first two at home, Milwaukee won next two, then CV closed it out. Winner on Saturday takes the Cup.

  6. Bob says:

    Need a big win on Saturday to head to California with confidence and momentum. Hell of a game tonight though.

  7. Diane Doyle says:

    Great win for the Bears. Now win on Saturday and win one in California. (Replay the Caps’ script of Round 1 in 2018.)

  8. novafyre says:

    They said in the broadcast that Carbs left his family in Hershey while he was in Toronto. I wonder how much after-hours contact he had with the Bears.

    • Jon Sorensen says:

      Heard that as well. I’m sure he summered there as well. Bruce still has his home there as well.

      • novafyre says:

        Yeah, Bruce owns the Cubs. I think his wife is involved with them as well.

        My ‘wondering’ was whether he had contact with some of the Bears coaches and especially the Bears players some of whom he might be coaching this fall — dinners, parties, advice, informal coaching, etc. Off hours contact. Bruce could have official contact as part of his TV jobs but it would be odd for CArbs to have official contact as Leafs coach. But unofficial?

  9. Anonymous says:

    Essentially winner take all on Saturday.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Two more times, 🙏

  11. Anonymous says:

    Love the inclusion of “The Hockey Guy” for game recap.

  12. DC Scappeli says:

    I like that NBCSWA is airing the games—we get to see the Caps young guys in action and get a chance to see the Bears (would like to catch a Bears game in person one of these days too!).

    I wonder who gets the call up from the Caps for a look at the pre-training camp.

  13. novafyre says:

    from CBS Sports: “According to ESPN’s Greg Wyshynski, the Firebirds are actually asking their fans to give up all forms of chocolate while the team is facing the Hershey Bears in the Calder Cup Final. The team called for “a boycott and removal of all chocolate in the Coachella Valley, including chocolate bars, chocolate milk, chocolate ice cream, chocolate donuts, and chocolate chip cookies.””

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