Bears Week 12 Recap: Shooting For Better

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Posted January 1, 2018

Colby Williams (Cory Lyons)

The Hershey Bears have relied heavily on their goaltending to keep them in games. In their nine periods of action this week, the Bears had one period where they got more than ten shots: the second period against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. By contrast, they allowed 10 or more shots in four periods.

The Bears won three points of a possible six in the last games of 2017. All six of their goals across the three games came from different players.

Liam O’Brien got the only tally against the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, then three unanswered from the Connecticut side gave them a 3-1 win.

Bridgeport goalie Christopher Gibson shut the door the rest of the way, saving 21 of the Bears’ 22 shots. Vitek Vanecek only saw 20 shots on the game.

Scott Eansor, Michael Dal Colle, and Tanner Fritz all scored on the power play for Bridgeport, who went three-for-six on the man-advantage.

The Bears tightened up, and tallied four past Samuel Montembeault for a 4-2 win over the Springfield Thunderbirds.

The Bears got a boost from Washington prior to the game: the return of Nathan Walker. Washington tried this earlier in the month, got thwarted by the waiver wire, then re-claimed the Australian.

Travis Boyd‘s seventh goal of the year came between two Springfield tallies in the first period. In the middle frame, Wayne Simpson and Mathias Bau brought the Bears the lead. All three of their goals saw assists from Chris Bourque.

A Thomas Schemitsch tripping penalty sent the Hershey power play over the boards for one more opportunity. Riley Barber finished a passing play from Tyler Graovac and Walker to finish the scoreline with his ninth goal of the season.

Vanecek got the pipes back for the final game of the year, against the same team they opened the calendar year against: Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins.

Vanecek started that game on January 6 against the Penguins as well, but got the yank  after allowing three goals on 11 shots in a 5-1 loss. This time, the Czech goalie stopped 36 shots in a 2-1 overtime loss.

Zach Aston-Reese put Wilkes-Barre ahead in the second period, then Graovac tied the game early in the third period.

Hershey got 12 of their 21 shots in the second period, and only three in the final 20 minutes.

Dominik Simon, on his game-high eighth shot, finally beat Vanecek for the 2-1 win in the extra period.

The U.S Olympic Hockey Team announced Chris Bourque as one of their selections for the Peyongchang Olympics. Bourque last played internationally in 2005 for the U-20 team, losing the Bronze medal game. It is unclear when he needs to report and how many games he will miss.

NEXT WEEK

Hershey will reciprocate the hospitality of the Charlotte Checkers to open the 2018 portion of the season in a Saturday-Sunday series.

CURRENT STANDING

6th Atlantic Division, 15-16-1-3 (W-L-OTL-SOL), .486 points percentage, 34 points

Photos: Walker’s Return to Hershey Ruined in Overtime

Hershey’s Chris Bourque Is Going to the Olympics!