Lars Eller always looks like he's smelling something fowl.
Hershey Hosts Adirondack, Re-Enacts Jan. 7 Barn-Burning.
To start the new year, Hershey and Adirondack played back-to-back games – one was the Outdoor Classic, the other was a gongshow of a win, with a combined 154 PIM. They met again tonight, and history made a solid attempt at repeating itself. The only real difference was the lack of a game misconduct for “Fighting off the Playing Surface.”
It started out calmly enough – a goal for Tomas Kundratek, and an assist for newly-signed forward T.J. Syner on his first shift as a professional. A fight for Joel Rechlicz (against Oliver Lauridsen), and the first of many high-sticking calls.
Of course, one can’t ignore the added element of lingering trade tension. Matt Ford (formerly #23 on the Bears) and Kevin Marshall (formerly #4 on the Phantoms) played their respective former teams for the first time. It bubbled over just after the halfway point in the game – 13:13 into the second.
When the horn sounded for the second time, the scenery had changed a bit. For one thing, the Bears had widened their lead to 5-2, despite a harrowing series of penalty kills (including two separate 5-on-3’s). Matt Ford did his ex-teammates no favors, earning a goal and assisting on another within the first six minutes of the period. But then Garrett Mitchell jumped out of the penalty box and straight into a perfectly scripted breakaway, and momentum returned to the Bears.
Kyle Greentree, Cody Eakin, and Mike Carman then proceeded to score in quick succession – three goals in less than four minutes to close out the period, all assisted by Kundratek (who earned first star for his four-point night). By the time the teams headed off to the locker rooms, Hershey had earned 41 penalty minutes (17 of them belonging to Rechlicz, the rest minors and double-minors) to Adirondack’s 25.
The third period was bland by comparison. The teams equally split a total of two goals and twelve penalty minutes (Greentree scored his second of the night), and the only thing lopsided was the shots on goal tally – 4(H) to 14(A). At the end of the day, the Bears walked away with a 6-3 win. It’s exactly the same goal differential they had the last time they hosted the Phantoms.
The win was far from painless for the Bears, who lost two players during the second intermission. Both center Ryan Potulny and defenseman Sean Collins were absent during the last frame. In speaking with Coach French after the game, he indicated that Sean Collins was “feeling under the weather.” Potulny, however, may have a more serious injury – more information on his condition will hopefully be available tomorrow. This news comes on the heels of Chris Bourque‘s return to the lineup, threatening to keep the list of absent top-9 forwards at 5.
As noted above, T.J. Syner scored his first AHL point tonight. He also played in his first game, having signed with the Bears at the conclusion of his NCAA career with UMass-Amherst. He should be a familiar name to Caps fans, having taken part in Development Camp this past summer.
The other member of the letters-only club in the Bears locker room, D.J. King, also clocked an assist tonight. It’s his third of the season.
Dany Sabourin took his turn in net tonight, and without his steady presence during the penalty kill Hershey could easily have fallen too far to recover. He stopped 31 of 34 shots, and most definitely earned that W.
Four players earned 3-or-more penalties over the course of the game. While Rechlicz earned his in one go (2, 5, & 10 for instigating and participating in a fight), the rest earned their penalties strictly in the “minors” category:
– Mike Carman (HER, Holding/Hooking/Tripping)
– Maxime Lacroix (HER, High-sticking x3)
– Matt Ford (ADK, High-Sticking/Roughing x2/Tripping)
Around the Family:
Hershey was the bright point in the Caps affiliate network tonight. Their big brothers lost 3-2 to the Winnipeg Jets, the second of five games on the road. The South Carolina Stingrays held out to the bitter end in front of their home crowd, falling 3-2 in the 9th round of a shootout to the Greenville Road Warriors.
A full gallery of images from the game can be found here on the author’s flickr (may be updated or amended through Sunday, March 18).