The Hershey Bears Hockey Club hit the ice for the first time in 2016 to close out their five game holiday home stand. The stretch began on December 26 in a 5-0 shutout over Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, and the Bears entered with hopes of finishing the stretch similar to its beginning against the Binghamton Senators.
With his club on the power play, Chris Bourque blew a tire in the neutral zone opening up a breakaway for Ryan Penny. He buried his first goal of the season through the five hole of Justin Peters for a Sens shorthanded goal at 4:24.
But just 1:33 later, captain Garrett Mitchell turned on his jets and carried the puck down the wing for a semi-breakaway. His chance was stopped, but Nathan Walker followed up to finish the rebound to tie the game at 1-1.
Binghamton regained the lead prior to intermission on a cross-ice pass that again, beat Peters low to the ice. Matt Puempel finished a pass from Cole Schneider at the 13:03 mark.
The Senators entered on a five game winning streak, and entered the middle period determined to push the streak to six. Binghamton posted a field goal in the period, and chased Peters from the game after their fourth tally.
Travis Ewanyk scored 2:03 into the period, and Buddy Robinson ended Peters’ night 38 seconds later. Ryan Dzingel became the fifth Senator to score, and the first to do so on Dan Ellis with 4:49 left in the period.
With 3:19 left before second intermission, Nathan Walker cut the deficit back to three on his second strike of the evening. If there’s a silver lining, Walker has continued to have an impressive breakout season despite all the team adversity faced in recent weeks.
Suddenly a once 5-1 deficit was cut to 5-3 in the final minute of the period. With 23 seconds left on the period clock, the scoring fest continued, and it was Travis Boyd contributing. He blasted a quick shot from the slot past Chris Driedger to get the GIANT Center faithful back to their feet once more before break.
It was oddly a tale of two periods. It could have been over when the score reached 5-1 in the second period. But, you need to admire the resiliency of the Chocolate and White, battling back to cut the deficit to two with 20 minutes to play. I just had that feel after 40 minutes that the game was far from over.
As it turned out, two late goals in the second period would set up arguably the comeback of the season for the Chocolate and White. Sean Collins redirected a Madison Bowey shot to make it a 5-4 game with 7:53 left.
Captain Garrett Mitchell found the equalizer on a quick entry into the offensive zone on a rush and snapped a shot past the glove hand of Driedger with 1:12 left.
It set the stage for 3-on-3 sudden death overtime, and Chris Bourque played the role of hero. Following a Binghamton 3-on-1 rush, Bourque countered on a breakaway and capitalized on the backhand with 2:36 left in the extra frame.
Resiliency at its finest.
See you next week!
Submitted by intern Matt Trust