The Hershey Bears would close out their weekend on Sunday night with the annual Bears Hall of Fame festivities. It would be the final opportunity to pick up points on the weekend after dropping games in the last two nights against Lehigh Valley and Toronto.
The Syracuse Crunch entered GIANT Center looking to spoil Hall of Fame, as well as Hersheypark Pass Night. They would strike first on the power play with 11:54 to play in the opening frame. Tye McGinn finished a tic-tac-toe passing play and scored on Justin Peters’ weak side.
Liam O’Brien returned to the lineup after an absence last night, due to an illegal check to the head on Friday in Lehigh Valley. O’Brien’s return was the opposite of ideal, and unfortunately short live. At the 9:19 mark, O’Brien was handed a five minute major penalty and a game misconduct for a check from behind.
Just like Friday, the opposition capitalized twice on the major penalty. 1:26 after O’Brien’s infraction, Adam Erne scored for his second point of the night. In the final minute of the major, McGinn tallied his second of the game. McGinn’s second strike was on a deflection through the five-hole of Peters, ending his night.
The Bears would need to put their hard hats on in the second period to chip away at a 3-0 deficit. Two goals were added by the Chocolate and White to cut Syracuse’s lead to 3-2, and it happened via 5-on-5 play.
As a Big 10 hockey enthusiast in myself, I have noticed the former University of Minnesota goaltender, Adam Wilcox, in his college days was a beat slow on the glove side. That’s exactly where Ryan Stanton cashed in for his second goal of the season at the 13:39 mark.
The momentum shifted, and Chandler Stephenson capitalized high, blocker side on Adam Wilcox only 1:03 later.
It’s also notable the Bears whiffed on three power play chances in the period. On a positive note for the power play unit, Christian Djoos nicely filled in for Chris Bourque in terms of manning the blue line on the man-advantage. He worked the puck around the offensive zone nicely when he was on the ice.
Into the third period, the Bears ultimately recorded what could be known as the comeback of the season. 2:25 in, the Crunch pushed their lead back to two on a shorthanded breakaway goal by Jeff Tambellini. Sean Collins capitalized on a passing play down low with 11:00 to again, cut the deficit to one. 2:22 later, Christian Djoos’ hard work throughout the night would pay off, and it came even strength to tie the game at 4-4.
Overtime was forced, and it lasted just 25 seconds before Collins notched his second goal of the night, and sent over 10,000 fans home happy. The Bears conclude the weekend with two points, and do so in a thrilling come from behind fashion.
A great way to send off into the Holiday break!
Submitted by intern Matt Trust