Bears Week 10 Recap: Fighting over the Presents

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Posted December 20, 2017

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There was little to be happy about for the Hershey Bears this week. The streaking Providence Bruins waltzed into GIANT Center and beat Hershey twice.

Encapsulating the weekend, a brawl for all broke out early in the second period of Saturday’s game. With the Bears down 4-0 already, three fights broke out after a charging hit by Garrett Mitchell.

Mitchell got tagged with a major for the hit, a major for the fight with Providence’s Emil Johansson, then a game misconduct. Tyler Lewington and Rob O’Gara got matching double-minors for roughing. Lewington had already been in a fight against Adam Payerl, three minutes into the game. All that chaos paled in comparison to the center-ice main event.

For the second time in his career, goaltender Pheonix Copley got into a fight. This one against a one-time teammate, Jordan Binnington. The two collided at the Hershey blue line, where Binnington was over 100 feet from his own crease, exchanged a few words, then threw down their equipment while pushing back to the Providence blue line.

Copley clutched at Binnington’s jersey, using it as leverage throughout the tango. Few punches were thrown by either combatant, and the match ended with both men standing.

Both goalies were charged with the same penalties: two minutes for leaving the crease, five for fighting, and a game misconduct. Their backups — Vitek Vanecek and Zane McIntyre — finished the contest.

Binnington only made four saves in his 26 minutes of action. The Bears made McIntyre work to keep their team in front, and the former Hobey Baker Award nominee made 14 saves on 16 shots.

The only Hershey goals on the weekend came minutes after the fights. Riley Barber, who has been pretty good of late, scored his sixth of the year shorthanded. Liam O’Brien banged home his seventh of the year on the power play six minutes later.

Providence won the Saturday game 6-2, and after their 3-0 win Wednesday improved to 10-1-0-0 in their last eleven. The Bruins lost to Syracuse between the two games in Chocolate Town.

In positive injury news, defenseman Connor Hobbs is expected back in the lineup shortly. The rookie needed surgery on a fractured wrist and has missed 18 games so far.

NEXT WEEK

Hershey will visit a new addition to the Eastern Conference, the Charlotte Checkers, for the first time since 2013-14. Charlotte is second in the AHL in goals-per-game, with 3.83. The teams will face-off Wednesday and Thursday night.

It is then time to return home for a Festivus Night (Saturday) battle with the Binghamton Senators. This is one of two matchups all season with the Senators, the other coming in early March.

CURRENT STANDING

7th Atlantic Division, 12-14-0-3, .466 points percentage, 27 points

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