IN-GAME UPDATE: Bears 1 at Devils 1 – End 2nd

After two periods here in New York’s Capital District, the Bears have pulled even with the Albany Devils.

It’s no secret that the strong New Jersey defense of years’ past is still hanging around with the talent on the Albany blue line, but the Bears have truly owned the five-on-five possession and rush play despite being outshot 19-8.  After a first-period power play goal from the AHL leader Mike Sislo, Erik Burgdoerfer tied the game after taking a nice feed from Scott Gomez.

Here is the audio of the goals:

GO BEARS!

-Stucc

IN-GAME UPDATE: Phantoms 6 at Bears 5 – FINAL/SO

Monday Night Hockey. It has a nice ring to it. The Hershey Bears made up their Saturday night showdown against the Lehigh Valley Phantoms at GIANT Center, after the “Blizzard of 2016” struck Pennsylvania.

To kick off the night, the Chocolate and White possessed the puck well in the offensive end, but couldn’t find the grade “A” scoring chance. It led to a 9-8 shot advantage for Hershey after 20 minutes, but nothing to show on the scoreboard. Also an 0-for-4 in the stanza on the power play capped the period scoring woes.

With 48 seconds to play in the first period, Lehigh Valley stormed down ice with a shorthanded scoring chance, and they capitalized. After Taylor Leier rang the iron on a hard shot, Cole Bardreau pounced on the loose puck to beat Justin Peters.

Into the middle frame, the goals quickly began to fall like snowflakes. Both teams scored three unanswered goals, leading to a Lehigh Valley 4-3 lead after 40 minutes. It started with Mike Moore at the 7:11 mark, with a snap shot from the outside that beat Anthony Stolarz.

Madison Bowey picked up an assist on Moore’s tally, and grabbed a goal of his own just 90 seconds later. Bowey made a run from the point to the low slot, quickly received a pass from Sean Collins and capitalized in close. It became 3-1 Hershey with 9:45 left in the period thanks to Paul Carey. He scored top shelf after a crisp feed from Scott Gomez.

But as we have seen all season long against the Phantoms, a two goal lead is never safe. With 6:41 remaining, Bardreau picked up his second goal of the night, and in similar fashion to the first. Following a stop by Justin Peters, Bardreau again crashed the crease and finished the loose change.

2:21 left on the clock, David Drewiske tied the hockey game at 3-3. Sure enough the momentum game continued in Lehigh Valley’s favor, and special teams have them a late 4-3 lead before intermission. After a Riley Barber hooking minor at the 18:45 mark, Taylor Leier scored just seven seconds into the man-advantage.

Special teams is certainly the difference through two periods. The Bears are 0-for-5 on the power play, 2-for-3 on the PK, and have yielded a shorthanded goal.

The wildness continued into the third period, as the Phantoms gained a 5-3 advantage on the power play. Garrett Mitchell was sent to the box for a high sticking double minor, and Lehigh Valley scored once more on the man-advantage. Colin McDonald received credit for the goal at the 4:14 mark.

Hershey once again displayed great, third period resiliency at home and fought back to tie the hockey game. Travis Boyd notched his ninth of the season with 6:54 left, followed by a Chris Bourque power play goal 1:11 later. Bourque’s tally was Hershey’s lone goal on eight power play tries.

An entertaining, 3-on-3 overtime solved nothing, leading to the Bears’ eighth shootout of the season. Their record falls to 2-6 on the campaign in the three round skills competition, as the Bears fell 6-5 to the Lehigh Valley Phantoms.

Submitted by intern Matt Trust

The Blizzard Aftermath: Phantoms at Bears – 1/25

Greetings everyone!

Sincere apologies for the delay in posting.  Technical issues prevented me from putting up details of the matchup on Friday against the Binghamton Senators.  If you missed it, the Bears blanked the B-Sens by a score of 4-0.  Dan Ellis was tremendous, stopping all 30 shots he faced.

And that top line…. just…. WOW:

Paul Carey (3 assists) – Scott Gomez (1 goal, 1 assist) – Chris Bourque (1 goal, 2 assists)

To top it off, the trio was a combined plus-NINE in the game.  That will win 101% of the time.

Here is the audio from the game, with a few Ellis saves mixed in:

After traveling back from Binghamton directly into the path of the beginning of the 2016 Blizzard, we made it to Hershey (stick taps to Ronny, the BEST bus driver around, for getting us all back safely) at 2:30 am.  A normal three-hour ride took just over four-and-a-half.

News spread late Friday night that Saturday’s game would most likely be put on the back burner.  Great decision by Doug Yingst in conjunction with the AHL.  Nobody was getting here… many weren’t even getting out of their houses.

Then came Saturday afternoon, when the news came down that Sunday’s game against the Bridgeport Sound Tigers would also be rescheduled.  2 to 2 1/2 feet of snow will do that, as many people are finding out even at the time of this writing – some locations are still not plowed out.

The nightmare storm left central Pennsylvania with brilliant sunshine in its wake.  Sunday was a day to dig out, let PennDOT and the community cleanup crews do their jobs, and just sit and reflect a bit on how lucky many of us were.

And here we are, playing on a Monday at home for the first time in over eight years.  The last Monday home game: New Year’s Eve, 2007, vs. Philadelphia.  The game is the makeup from Saturday.  The Lehigh Valley Phantoms are the opponents.

Here are the game notes for this contest.  It’s one team on a roll (Bears are 4-0-1-0 in their last five) and another trying to get on one (Phantoms are 1-5-0-0 in their last six).

Let’s just say that the Bears won’t be planning on allowing 27 third-period shots this time around.

The puck drops at 7, and pre-game airs at 6:20.

GO BEARS!!

-Stucc

IN-GAME UPDATE: Falcons 3 at Bears 2 – FINAL/OT

The Hershey Bears closed out the weekend on Sunday evening, determined to sweep the week in a rematch against the Springfield Falcons. Similar to last night, the Bears drew first blood, only to see Springfield answer back.

Following a pass in the trapezoid behind the net from Chris Brown, Dustin Gazley banked a low shot into the net after hitting goalie Niklas Treutle. Gazley’s second goal of the weekend came at the 6:39 mark, but the lead would last less than a minute. Greg Carey scored for the second time in as many nights for the Falcons to tie the game.

Just like last night, both teams entered the dressing room at first intermission with a goal a side.

To continue the theme comparing last night’s tilt to tonight, Springfield grabbed a second period lead once more. Alex Grant tallied for the on a blast with 12:36 to play in the period.

Shortly after, Madison Bowey was leveled dangerously into the boards providing the Chocolate and White a five minute power play work with. Following a two power play goal game last night, the Bears were unable to cash in on the long advantage.

Once more, the Bears trail the Falcons by one goal heading into the third period.

Travis Boyd played the role of Chris Bourque and tied the hockey game with 7:42 left in regulation. It forced overtime, and Hershey claimed their fifth point of the weekend. Unfortunately the point gain on the weekend ended at five, as the Falcons capitalized in the 3-on-3 overtime.

41 seconds into the extra frame, Dustin Jeffrey banged home a loose puck behind Justin Peters to round out a 3-2 final.

Regardless, five out of six standings points on the weekend is nothing to frown about. In addition, a roster filled with young guns continue to show excellent resiliency in the third period, battling back and eating standings points.

Submitted by intern Matt Trust

IN-GAME UPDATE: Falcons 3 at Bears 4 – FINAL/SO

The Hershey Bears Hockey Club returned home last night following a successful, short trip to Lehigh Valley. It was far from a pretty third period, but the Chocolate and White survived with a key 4-3 victory to kick off the weekend.

Hershey returned home with an opportunity to clinch a successful, winning weekend on Saturday night with a duel against the Springfield Falcons. Dan Ellis received the nod in goal, giving Justin Peters a well deserved night off following his outstanding performance in Allentown.

Ellis saw his club grab an early 1-0 lead halfway through the period. With 9:55 to play in the stanza, Riley Barber jammed in his own rebound on the door step for his sixth tally of the season.

Springfield answered on their second power play chance of the night at the 17:46 mark. After three failed chances to clear the defensive zone, Alex Grant wheeled and fired a shot through the five-hole of Ellis to tie the game.

The Bears certainly had the edge in scoring chances in the period, but had to settle with a 1-1 gridlock entering the locker room at first intermission.

4:38 into the second period, the Bears answered with a power play strike of their own, and it came once more at the hands of Barber. The rookie entered the offensive zone on a rush with speed, dangled to the backhand and beat Marek Langhamer a second time.

The Falcons answered a second time to wipe away the one goal deficit. Greg Carey finished a 2-on-1 rush after a centering bid by Craig Cunningham.

Riley Barber was called for a minor late in the frame, and Springfield cashed in to claim their first lead of the night only 1:13 before second intermission. Turnovers in the defensive zone unfortunately changed the complexion of the period and gave the Falcons momentum.

The resiliency theme of the Bears continued, and led to yet another thriller at GIANT Center. The game was tied up with 7:07 left in regulation on the man-advantage, and it came via the AHL leading scorer. Chris Bourque launched a slapper from the left wing to tie the game at 3-3 and eventually force overtime.

3-on-3 solved nothing, and the Bears would seek their first home shootout win of the victory. Five rounds were needed, but Christian Djoos tallied the skills competition game winner in the top half, followed by an Ellis save to seal the victory.

The weekend has been won, now time to aim for a weekend sweep tomorrow!

Submitted by intern Matt Trust

 

IN-GAME UPDATE: Bears 4 at Phantoms 3 – FINAL

The Hershey Bears displayed a good offensive jump out of the starting gate, and the Lehigh Valley Phantoms’ push grew as the period progressed. Both goaltenders in Justin Peters and Jason LaBarbera answered the bell, leading to a scoreless tilt after 20 minutes.
Both teams fanned on one power play chance in the frame. The Bears possess a 10-8 shot advantage, but Lehigh’s eighth shot on goal in the final minute required a ten bell save by Peters.

Into the second period, the whistles were put away, and a defensive grid lock opened into a track meet, back and forth pace which produced five goals. The Chocolate and White for the third consecutive game at the PPL Center grabbed a two goal advantage.

The scoring started with AHL leading scorer Chris Bourque winning a puck battle in the low slot and blasting a quick shot past LaBarbera at 1:55. At the 7:27 mark, Paul Carey fed Carter Camper on a crisp back-door chance. Following the initial save, Tyler Lewington finished a bouncing puck into a wide open cage.

But as we have witnessed all season long, Lehigh Valley answered in a blink of an eye. With 10:34 left in the period, Nick Cousins was left unmarked in the low-slot and beat Justin Peters on a point blank chance to make it a 2-1 game. 52 seconds later, Chris Conner tallied his sixth of the season after finding a loose puck at the door step.

The line of Liam O’Brien, Nathan Walker and Garrett Mitchell continued to put forth a relentless effort on the ice, and were rewarded less than two minutes later. O’Brien finished a setup by Connor Carrick to give Hershey their second lead of the night prior to second intermission.

The Hershey Bears entered the third period poised to hang on and win in Allentown for the first time since November 6th. Lehigh Valley fired 27… yes 27 shots on goal in the third period alone. It is the first time the Bears have allowed 25 or more shots in a period in over 12 years. For the Chocolate and White, Dustin Gazley tallied the first shot and only shot of the period at 14:23 and hit pay-dirt.

Chris Brown set up Gazley from the side of the net for his eighth goal season to restore a two-goal lead. But with a relentless offensive push by the Phantoms, the went down to the fire. With exactly 3:00 remaining, Colin McDonald cut the Hershey lead back to one on a chance from between the face off circles.

The Phantoms put LaBarbera on the bench in the final minute for the extra attacker and eventually received a 6-on-4 advantage with 19 seconds left following a minor penalty by Travis Boyd.

Hershey hung out and survived the Phantoms’ offensive push late and won the hockey game 4-3.

See you tomorrow!

Submitted by intern Matt Trust

PREGAME: Bears at Phantoms 1/15/16

It’s back to the PPL Center for the second to last time this season for the Hershey Bears Hockey Club. The Lehigh Valley Phantoms have lost three straight, but Hershey has only won once in Allentown this season, and it was back on November 6th. Hershey’s record in Lehigh Valley this season is the old picket fence of 1-1-1-1.

Justin Peters will get the nod for the Chocolate and White and oppose Jason LaBarbera. In the last meeting between the two clubs on New Year’s Eve, LaBarbera carried a shutout bid deep into the third period before it was broken by Christian Djoos. The Phantoms went on to win the game and spoil the New Year’s Eve tilt, 3-1.

Chris Bourque has been red hot as of late and will look to continue his success against the Phantoms. He enters tonight with eight points in seven games, including five goals against the Orange and Black.

Paul Carey is also back in the lineup following a stint in Washington, which saw him share the mob scene of Alex Ovechkin’s 500th NHL goal.

Puck drop between the Bears and Phantoms is slated for 7:05.

Submitted by intern Matt Trust

 

Scott Gomez Signs PTO – 1/14

Gomez_Crop

Newest Hershey Bears forward Scott Gomez getting set for his videoboard action shoot with Great Save Productions.

Big news out of Chocolatetown today, as two-time Stanley Cup champion Scott Gomez has been signed to a professional tryout agreement.

The 36-year-old was placed on unconditional waivers by the St. Louis Blues a few weeks back, making him eligible to become unrestricted.  With the Bears’ center depth tested recently – with Zach Sill on NHL duty, with Chandler Stephenson still nursing an injury and coming off of the first game in recent history in which the team dressed 10 healthy forwards – this is massive help for the Chocolate and White.

His resume speaks for itself, not to mention how much mentoring he can provide in any locker room.

Here is a link to the official press release.

 

He will wear no. 39.

Head coach Troy Mann talked today about the signing and his expected participation in this weekend’s games:

 

We will catch up with Gomez after tomorrow’s morning skate as the team gets set to travel to Allentown.  The Springfield Falcons are then at GIANT Center on Saturday and Sunday.

-Stucc

 

IN-GAME UPDATE: Comets 3 at Bears 6 – FINAL

Wild Card Weekend in the National Football League certainly did not prevent yet another tremendous turnout for Hersheypark Pass night at GIANT Center! The reigning Western Conference Champions and newest members of the Eastern Conference, Utica Comets paid their visits to Chocolate Town for a 5 PM tilt.

Just 3:22 in, the large crowd had an early reason to cheer thanks to Chris Bourque. Bourque fired a shot from the center point through a screen and into the net. Hanging on to a lead and keeping the foot on the gas pedal has to be an absolute key to this game. The Bears surrendered a 3-1 lead in Friday’s loss to the Rochester Americans, and two, one-goal leads the next night in Syracuse.

But, the top development club of the Vancouver Canucks responded 3:08 later. Mike Pereira tallied his first goal of the season on Dan Ellis. Hershey successfully killed off two Utica power plays before first intermission.

With 8:43 to play in the middle stanza, Utica grabbed their first lead of the night. Ellis left a juicy rebound right on the door step for an easy finish by Hunter Shinkaruk. The Comets’ first lead of the night, however, would only last a dozen seconds.

Sean Collins stormed down ice on an odd-man rush and buried a shot past the glove hand of Joe Cannata. Bourque picked up the lone assist for his second point of the night.

Back to the glove side is where the Bears found more success, and it came via a power play goal by Christian Djoos. On the transition with 3:01 left in the frame, Djoos received a drop pass and blasted the puck home to make it 3-2 Chocolate Town.

A late Hershey penalty would give Utica a carry over man-advantage to start the third period, and they capitalized. 1:14 in, Joseph LaBate tied the game at three goals apiece. The Comets would head to the power play again with 3:28 remaining in regulation, and it again appeared Hershey had their backs pressed against the wall.

Until with 2:41 left, Collins finished a shorthanded, 2-on-1 rush after a perfect centering pass from Dustin Gazley. That proved to be the decisive strike, as the Bears added a pair of empty net goals by Bourque and Garrett Mitchell in the final minute.

Bottom line, it was a game Hershey needed to win. They needed to come away with two standings points on home ice after dropping two tough tilts away from GIANT Center. Mission accomplished.

See you next week!

Submitted by intern Matt Trust

 

Crunched Again, Comets in Town – 1/10

Greetings from GIANT Center!  It certainly is good to be home after last night’s rainy ride down I-81.  The Syracuse Crunch pulled out a 4-2 win on the strength of three unanswered goals, wiping out nice efforts by Chris Bourque, Travis Boyd, Garrett Mitchell and Nathan Walker – who all extended points streaks with their work.

With no time to sit on that loss – or Friday’s, for that matter – we prepare to host the Utica Comets at 5:00 PM.

Tonight is a matchup of two teams hungry for a win.  The Bears don’t want their skid to reach three games – most especially with a near sellout crowd expected to welcome the team back home.  The Comets have an even bigger slide ongoing, having gone 0-4-1-0 in their last five.

Utica is undoubtedly highly motivated for this contest.  It marks the return of 1997 Calder Cup champion Paul Jerrard to Hershey, as the Winnipeg native is Utica’s assistant coach to Travis Green.  It marks the return of former Bears defensemen Jon Landry and Danny Syvret.  And it marks the first time that a Utica franchise has visited Chocolatetown for a regular-season game in almost 23 years.

Here’s the game sheet from that day.  It’s always cool to see some blasts-from-the-past in there.  Tooks, Yanick Dupre, Wes Walz, Dave Fenyves… just to name a few.

Sheet

81 combined shots on goal and 11 combined goals.  Those were the days!

Keeping this post short as it’s time to head up to the booth to set up for the call.  Catch it at 4:20 on the stations listed in the game notes, which are available here.

The puck drops at 5:00.  See you here!

GO BEARS!!!

-Stucc