The third-period strength of this team is really starting to shine… but, it really wasn’t needed as much in this game. Connor Carrick scored early in the second period – one in which the Bears completely turned the game around with their forecheck and puck possession game – and despite a barrage of shots getting to Justin Peters, the team put forth a solid effort in winning 4-2 over the Bridgeport Sound Tigers in the Bears’ first morning matinee game in over five years.
A few observations on Bridgeport. First, they are BIG on defense. Loic Leduc is listed at 6’7″ and that might be cheating him. But the Bears’ speed and tenacity made the Sound Tigers work for every inch of ice today. Second, Bridgeport has some talent in their veteran corps. Coming from all over the place last season – Joe Whitney from the Devils, Bracken Kearns from the Sharks, Ben Holmstrom from the Checkers – the Sound Tigers’ vets are deadly when they get going in the offensive zone. Third – and this is a guess only from memory as I would need to look at a video replay of this game – the Sound Tigers seem to like to clog their blue line and not allow clean entries, which might explain how the Bears only ended up with 20 shots on goal today.
Everything that Bridgeport brought, however, Hershey had an answer for. The Bears have allowed the first goal now in six of their 10 games, whereas last year the team led the AHL in first-goals. But, the team has points in five of those six (3-1-0-2), and now has points in three straight (2-0-0-1) thanks to a total team effort today.
Below is audio of the Bears’ third-period goals, here is the box score, and the press release recap follows. It’s a dinner-time arrival back in central Pennsylvania, back at practice tomorrow at the GC (10:00 AM) and then off to Allentown on Friday.
Thanks for listening today everyone.
Paul Carey scored a pair of goals, Chris Bourque set them both up and Justin Peters made 39 saves to help the Bears to a 4-2 victory over the Bridgeport Sound Tigers on Wednesday at Webster Bank Arena.
Veteran Bracken Kearns would give the Sound Tigers a 1-0 lead when he scored on a two-man power play advantage. Kearns would get a whack at an Alan Quine rebound and slide it by Peters at 7:42.
Hershey tied the game on a nice play out of the right wing corner by Bourque. The winger made a quick centering pass while double-teamed and found an untouched Carey for a chip shot from in close that beat goaltender Chris Gibson at 16:47.
Early in the second period, Connor Carrick gave the Bears their first lead of the day when his center-point one-timer off of a feed from Sean Collins sailed past a screened Gibson at the 5:00 mark.
The 2-1 score would hold until the third period. Off of a set faceoff play, Ryan Pulock carried down the right boards and passed to the goal line. Sebastien Collberg stopped the pass before backhanding it in front where Quine knocked the puck in at 9:41.
The Bears reclaimed the lead at 14:25 when Bourque again found Carey, this time for a one-timer from long range that beat Gibson high glove side.
The fourth line would be deployed shortly afterward and a hard forechecking play by Dustin Gazley forced Gibson to misplay the puck behind his net. The puck came off of Gazley and into the slot, where a wide-open Nathan Walker hammered hit home for his first goal of the season at 15:41.
Peters would stop Joe Whitney at the goal crease on two opportunities while the Sound Tigers skated with a sixth attacker, and the Bears rode those saves to victory.
Peters improved to 3-1-1 with the win, while Gibson dropped to 4-2-0 in making 16 saves on 20 shots. Hershey finished the day 0-for-4 on the power play and 2-for-3 on the penalty kill, improving its road record to an even 3-3-0-0 and earning points in three straight games (2-0-0-1).
NOTES: The Bears scratched D Madison Bowey, D Mike Moore and LW Jakub Vrana…The Sound Tigers scratched D Matt Carkner, D Matt Finn, C Jared Gomes, LW Andrew Rowe and C Carter Verhaeghe…With the win, Hershey has three straight victories in morning games (3-2 shootout at Lake Erie, 2/24/10 and 4-1 at Bridgeport, 12/7/05)…LW Paul Carey (3-1-4) and Chris Bourque (1-4-5) extended their point streaks to three games.