The Hershey Bears Hockey Club were off and running on Saturday night, looking to continue their home cooking at GIANT Center against the Binghamton Senators. The Chocolate and White posted four goasl in the first, and it all started with Riley Barber driving the net and cashing in loose change.
Only 2:19 in, Barber went hard to the net and stuffed in the rebound of a Liam O’Brien shot. With 8:13 to play in the frame, Connor Carrick blasted a shot from center point into the top corner, past Andrew Hammond. 20 second later, Binghamton captain Zack Stortini was sent to the box for interference.
Sean Collins capitalized on the first power play chance of the night to open the score to 3-0. The power play is once again showing signs of heating up. Great puck movement directly off the offensive zone face off led to the tally.
Chandler Stephenson added a goal in the final minute on a 3-on-2 rush to round out the stanza’s scoring, and four goals on 16 shots.
In my opinion, the highlight of the period has to be O’Brien picking up two helpers in his first period back from injury. You could tell he was excited to get back into game action and help his club contribute.
Travis Boyd, fresh off a highlight reel assist on Wednesday, also added helpers on Hershey’s second and third goal.
Into the middle period, Justin Peters still made his presence felt with a four goal lead. Peters made several dazzling saves from point-blank range, keeping it a 4-0 game. That was until Colin Greening put the Senators on the board at the 10:01 mark, after finishing a coast-to-coast play up ice.
Binghamton cut the deficit to two goals with 4:03 to play before intermission. Eric O’Dell curled and fired a snap shot from the slot to the top corner. Suddenly, it’s a brand new hockey game at GIANT Center. The Sens’ momentum shift could have very well came via the penalty kill. They killed four straight Hershey power plays following Collins’ goal.
It was the perfect opportunity for third period redemption for the Chocolate and White. After letting a 2-0 third period lead slip away on Wednesday in Lehigh Valley, fate found the Bears with a two goal, third period lead tonight.
Tonight it was a different, and much happier outcome for Hershey. Before the finish line, B-Sens’ Buddy Robinson finished a cross-ice feed to cut the once 4-0 lead to 4-3. Finger nails were shortened down the final stretch, but Chris Bourque hit the empty net with 16 seconds left to seal a 5-3 victory.
I feel the theme we have seen developing that past few weeks is the Bears out playing the opposition 5-on-5, but special teams play having an increasingly strong impact on the game’s outcome. The Bears, for the second straight game have now scored on their first power play of the game. But for the second straight game, that would be their lone power play goal. They finished tonight 1-for-8 on the man-advantage. Binghamton’s highest points throughout the night in terms of momentum would come after successful, long penalty kills in the second period.
Hershey might be just an extra power play goal away from deciding games earlier, and opening deficits in which the opposition cannot recover from.
Bottom line is, combine the successful 5-on-5 with solid special teams play, and this is a Bears team that can beat anyone on any given night.
See you next week!
Submitted by intern Matt Trust