Well, it wasn’t all Aaron Ness – but still, the 1-0 lead that the blueliner gave the Bears early in the second period turned out to be huge.
The Bears, forced to kill nine penalties against the Utica Comets, were assessed a parade of penalties not long after the goal and had to deploy the penalty killing units several times. Early in the third – on a lengthy two-man advantage – Jordan Subban received a pass at the right point and walked in to take a slapper. You could see it coming, with traffic in front and a bit of room at the upper-right corner of the net.
That turned out to be the only goal that Justin Peters allowed at the Aud in the Bears’ two trips to upstate New York.
The goaltending of Richard Bachman and the Comets’ top-ranked home penalty kill earned the club a huge point. But despite giving Utica the overtime possession early, the Bears did not allow the Comets a shot on goal. Not even T.J. Hensick’s backhander from the low slot. That got blocked with good stick work.
With the trio of Nathan Walker, Ryan Stanton and Jakub Vrana on the ice inside the second minute of the three-on-three, Utica was on the move. A shot went wide, and off of the back wall, Stanton poked the puck to the neutral zone that came right into Vrana’s skating lane. He took off, came in one-on-one with Bachman, and snapped a shot stick side to empty the Hershey bench.
Usually, in 1-0 or 2-1 final scores, the two goaltenders and the game-winning goal scorer are your three stars. You can’t argue that here tonight. Bachman could have been second with the difficulty of his saves, but was named third. Peters – who had to stop Ronalds Kenins just 10 seconds into the contest and Joseph LaBate on a second-period shorthanded breakaway, earned the second star. Vrana is your number one, as he became the 17th different Bears player to register a game-winning goal this season.
The bus is pointed toward Chocolatetown. The Bears host the Albany Devils tomorrow, who are about 45 minutes ahead having lost 3-1 at Syracuse. Nobody needs reminding of how special tomorrow night will be for our retiring President/GM Doug Yingst. Be there early for a pre-game ceremony. Stay late for the Dietz & Watson Ham Shoot.
And be loud in-between as the Bears look to complete a big week.