FINAL: Bears 1 at Crunch 4

Two turning points in this game.

Two goals in 16 seconds could do in any team.  But a goal scored two seconds after a four-minute penalty kill can be just draining.  The Bears had both happen… and then a breakaway goal sent to a player that emerged from a penalty box right as a four-on-four switched to a power play.  That happened too.

Dan Ellis played VERY well.  The game was his late in the first period and early in the second.  Not getting the puck out of the defensive zone after such saves, and turning the puck over after forechecking so well, is what cost the good guys here tonight.

That’s eight consecutive wins by Syracuse over Hershey… that’s also pretty impressive.

Time for some rest on the bus, regroup, dust off and get at it tomorrow against the North Division-leading St. John’s IceCaps with some home cooking.

See you at the GC.. and thanks for listening tonight!

-Stucc

FROM EARLIER:

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More great forechecking by the Bears in the middle frame, especially from the line of Gazley-Walker-Herbert.  Walker had a nice redirect that was stopped by Vasilevskiy, and Ellis ripped off a few glove saves in succession early.

But man, did the Crunch ever wake up that period.  Matt Taormina was the leader in the comeback, scoring on the power play to tie the game and just 16 seconds later sending Matthew Peca and Anthony DeAngelo into the Bears’ zone on an odd-man rush. DeAngelo put the Crunch in front with his third goal of the season.  Connor Carrick’s 4-minute high sticking penalty carries over into the third period, and if the Bears can withstand this, they can grab momentum right back.  It could be worse… Jake Dotchin’s drive from the slot on a Hershey turnover glanced off the post not long after Syracuse took that lead.

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The first would have been the Bears’ most dominant period of hockey I’ve seen, had it not been for a late Syracuse power play.  Forechecking, forcing turnovers, scoring early… the Bears did it all.

Dustin Gazley’s second of the year from Madison Bowey (who has points in three straight games now) is what the Bears have.

Andrei Vasilevskiy made a great stop on Riley Barber on the Bears’ lone power play chance, and Dan Ellis was just outstanding on that power play as he did not face a shot until halfway through the period.  There was some puck luck there too, as – with Ellis down – a Mike Angelidis pass through the crease went behind Ellis and along the goal line.

When it’s not going well, it’s not going well… Syracuse is now 2-for-33 on the power play this season.

Official writeup for the press release:

The Bears came out flying after the opening faceoff, and thanks to a relentless forecheck, grabbed the game’s first goal just 2:46 in. Rookie Madison Bowey would force a turnover behind the Syracuse net, and the puck popped out into the slot to an untouched Dustin Gazley. The winger ripped the puck past the glove of Crunch netminder Andrei Vasilevskiy for his second of the season.

Syracuse would finally get some shots at goaltender Dan Ellis later in the frame on their only power play of the period, but the backstop was up to the task and made two point-blank stops on captain Mike Angelidis to send the Bears into the intermission with the lead.

The Crunch woke up from that opening period and turned the tide by scoring twice in a span of 16 seconds in the middle frame to take a 2-1 lead after two. Matt Taormina would tie the game, sending a low slap shot through a screened Ellis at 11:36. He would then send Matthew Peca and Anthony DeAngelo into the Bears’ zone two-on-one, a play that finished with DeAngelo sliding Peca’s pass behind Ellis at 11:52.

Early in the third period, at the expiration of a double-minor carry-over penalty to Connor Carrick, Jeff Tambellini redirected a Taormina pass inside the right post from the hash marks at 2:28.

Later, while a four-on-four situation was turning into a Syracuse power play, Mike Blunden emerged from the penalty box and collected a Dylan Blujus pass for a breakaway that he converted at 6:43.

Vasilevskiy made 27 saves on 28 shots and improved to 2-0-0 in his conditioning stint. Ellis made a season-high 28 stops but fell to 2-2-0. The Bears finished 0-for-4 on the power play and 4-for-6 on the penalty kill.