The Hershey Bears returned to GIANT Center to complete a home-and-home stretch against the Syracuse Crunch. It was a happy ride home from up north for the Chocolate and White last night to set up tonight’s match up.
Both teams scored a power play, shorthanded and 4-on-4 goal in last night’s 5-3 win for Hershey. After traveling down I-81, the Bears’ were poised for a similar outcome to conclude their weekend.
Great offensive jump for Hershey in the opening frame, with quick, unpredictable and effective breakouts from their defensive zone. In a crisp entry, Riley Barber hit the goal post on a snap shot that beat Kristers Gudlevskis.
Syracuse struck iron in the period as well. The iron of the back crossbar. After review, Andrew Yogan scored his first goal as a Syracuse Crunch at 15:57. Initial call was no goal and played continued for an additional two minutes before the chance for video review.
Luckily the Chocolate and White answered with 1:51 left in the opening frame. Riley Barber made perfect centering pass from near the goal line to Nathan Walker. Walker buried his ninth of the season to knot the contest before intermission.
The Bears gained their first lead of the night at the 14:58 mark of the middle period thanks to a relentless effort in the slot by Dustin Gazley. From between the face off circles, a Gazley backhand shot was blocked away and deflected to the goal line. Gazley raced to the loose puck and fed Carter Camper in the low slot. Camper buried his seventh goal of the season to give Hershey a lead in the later stages of the stanza.
Minutes later, Barber received his second scoring chance of the night, and unlike the previous, Barber did not miss. On a 2-on-1 rush with Scott Gomez, Gomez fed Barber, and the Miami University of Ohio product made it 3-1 Bears.
Great work ethic up the entire Hershey lineup led to the pair of late goals.
The work ethic continued into the third period, as Barber added his second goal of the night 1:01 into the period on the power play. He completed the hat trick with 25 seconds left by hitting the empty net, sending 10,964 fans home happy in a 5-1 win.
Scott Gomez added three more assists and has continued to bring a true veteran presence to the lineup.
But overall, it was a complete game effort in all aspects of the game. The goaltending in Dan Ellis was great, as he was worthy of third star honors. The penalty kill was perfect, the power play provided a dagger of a goal in the third period, and Hershey outplayed Syracuse when 5-on-5.
The Bears now have points in nine straight games with six being wins, and are now second in the Atlantic Division heading into the All-Star Break.
Rolling in Chocolate Town!
Submitted by intern Matt Trust