Jeff Halpern, Martin Erat and Mike Ribeiro play their former teammates.
Hershey Bears Open Season in Cocoa-Coloured Style
Dmitry Orlov takes a slapshot while showcasing the Bears’ Opening Night Specialty Jerseys (All Photos Credit: M. Richter)
Just four days after the Capitals opened their 2013-14 season, the Hershey Bears took to the ice to “Defend the Den” against the visiting Adirondack Phantoms in their own season home opener. In keeping with custom, the Bears opened their season at home in specialty jerseys. This year, the theme was tasteful chocolate with a dash of milk. They were also incredibly easy on the eyes when it came to identifying players, with large white numbers both front and back and contrasting stripes with numbering on both arms. The jerseys were auctioned off after the game to benefit Hershey Bears Charities.
Unfortunately for the fans, the jerseys were arguably the most tasteful element in play during the first period, as the Bears quickly dropped into a 2-0 deficit against the visiting Phantoms. Goaltender Philipp Grubauer’s season was exactly 3:50 long when he reached the 2.0 GAA milestone, though he stabilized out as the first frame moved along. Both goals were the result of rebounds. By the second period, the German goalie had brushed off the disappointing start and settled in.
In contrast to Grubauer’s shaky start, returning pugilistic veteran and fan favourite Joel Rechlicz knew exactly why he was here tonight. The “Recker” dropped the gloves twice in the first fifteen minutes of the season.
In the second period, rookie Nate Schmidt (assisted by Peter LeBlanc) managed to salvage some of Hershey’s pride with the first Hershey goal of the regular season clocking in just 51 seconds into the second period. Michael Latta (recently sent down by the Caps) then evened things up during the Bears’ first Penalty Kill, and Derek Whitmore repeated the short-handed scoring feat five minutes later.
The second period would prove to be the only golden frame for the Bears, as the Phantoms tied things up just under halfway through the third and then proceeded to win 3:22 into overtime.
Goal Credits (Adirondack Phantoms in Italics):
First Period: 1:13 Ben Holmstrom (from Michael Raffl & Brandon Alderson). 3:48 Tye McGinn (from Nick Cousins & Jason Akeson).
Second Period: 0:51 - Nate Schmidt (from Peter LeBlanc). 9:46 Michael Latta (unassisted, short-handed), 14:39 (Derek Whitmore, from Latta, short-handed).
Third Period: 8:25 Brandon Alderson (from Matt Konan & Mark Alt, Power-Play).
Overtime: 3:22 Brandon Manning (from Petr Straka & Jason Akeson).
Grubauer stopped 25 of 29 shots, to start the season off with a save percentage of .826 and a GAA of 3.79. Adirondack’s Yann Danis stopped 25 of 28, to start his season off at .893 and a GAA of 2.84.