The Hershey Bears returned home to “Defend the Den” on Saturday night against the top team in the American Hockey League. Arguably, this is the toughest test to date for the Bears, especially after falling in Lehigh Valley the previous night, 6-4 to the Phantoms.
Dan Ellis would tend the pipes for the Chocolate and White, and 200 feet away stared former Philadelphia Flyer, Ray Emery.
Hershey’s three rookies blue liners in Tyler Lewington, Madison Bowey and Christian Djoos were all placed in the lineup against Toronto. Sure enough, just 4:25 in, one of the mentioned made an impact. Madison Bowey fed Aaron Ness on the back door for an early 1-0 lead.
At the 15:14 mark, Toronto capitalized on a two-man advantage to tie the game at 1-1. Mark Arcobello snapped a shot through Erik Burgdoerfer attempting a block, and past a screened Dan Ellis.
Chris Brown cleared waivers earlier in the day and was assigned to Hershey from Washington. In his first period back, Brown looked forceful in the offensive zone with a few scoring chances.
The Marlies would grab their first lead of the night following first intermission, and it would take only 29 seconds. Zach Hyman tallied his fifth of the season to make it a 2-1 contest. At the 8:11 mark, Toronto doubled their lead to two after Brendan Leipsic finished a goal mount scrum, and forced the puck over the goal line.
The ice remained titled in Hershey’s defensive zone, and the Marlies would tack on a fourth unanswered goal 1:20 later. Stuart Percy beat Dan Ellis high, glove side to end his night, and but the Bears in a 4-1 hole.
Carter Camper would stop the bleeding at 10:53 and cut the deficit to 4-2. Camper found day light on an offensive rush and capitalized for his second strike in as many nights. Bowey picked up the primary assist for his second point of the night.
The previous night, Lehigh Valley scored five unanswered goals against the Chocolate and White. Camper’s goal prevented the Bears from suffering the same fate nearly 24 hours later.
But unfortunately, at the end of the night, there was indeed a daunting similarity between tonight’s game and last night versus the Phantoms. The Bears for the second consecutive night would have six goals posted against, this time resulting in a 6-2 defeat.
T.J. Brennan scored twice in the frame with once on the power play at the 3:51 mark, and again with 7:15 to play. It completed a three point night and first star honors for Brennan.
All attention will have to immediately turn to tomorrow’s match up. It’s a special night at GIANT Center with the annual Hershey Bears Hall of Fame induction ceremony, along with Hersheypark Pass Night.
The Chocolate and White will welcome the Syracuse Crunch to town, in their final opportunity to claim standings points on the weekend.
Submitted by intern Matt Trust