Bears Week 15 Recap: Last Place

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Posted January 29, 2018

Tyler Lewington (Cory Lyons)

Since the calendar turned to 2018, the Hershey Bears have managed a combined seven standings points in 10 games. Two wins, one shootout loss, and two overtime losses make up half of the last 10. The other five are regulation losses, three of which came last week.

The rest of the Atlantic Division picked up points on the weekend before the All-Star break, slipping the 11-time Calder Cup Champions to an unfamiliar spot in their 80-year history: last place.

Hershey lost to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton by four for the second time this season, shutout 4-0 on home ice Wednesday night. The game marked the fourth time the Bears were held off the scoreboard on the season, and the second time at home.

Neither team produced much in the way of offense. The Penguins managed 21 shots against Pheonix Copley, and the Bears returned 18 on Anthony Peters. Peters got his first AHL shutout with 18 saves.

Following Zach Trotman’s goal to make the game 4-0, Tyler Lewington and Garrett Wilson exchanged words on the way to the Penguins bench. Something rose to the boiling point, and they dropped gloves at center ice. Wilson scored the takedown in Lewington’s eighth fight of the season. This was their third fight against each other; they split the previous two.

Not much went better Friday in Providence, as the Bruins rode three power-play goals to a 5-2 win. Vitek Vanecek made 23 saves on 28 shots in the effort, while Zach Sill and Tyler Graovac scored for Hershey.

Anthony Peluso got in his first fight of the year following a hard hit near the end of the second period. Their fight triggered a shoving match a few feet away, while Chris Bourque calmly stayed out of the fray talking to Providence goalie Zane McIntyre. Once Peluso shook his elbow guard free and pounded Jeremy Lauzon to the glass, the linesmen broke them apart.

Copley returned to the cage Saturday, making 23 stops on the 25 shots he faced in a 3-1 loss to the Bridgeport Sound Tigers.

Hershey was within striking distance the whole game, but far enough away for Bridgeport to keep their advantage intact. A late third period power-play goal from Nathan Walker gave Hershey hope, accented with a Casey Bailey penalty under the two minute mark.

The downside of such a late power-play while trailing is the loss of the icing rule. Bridgeport’s Ben Holmstrom hit the empty net while shorthanded to restore the two-goal win.

NEXT WEEK

Following yet another matchup in Wilkes-Barre on Friday night, the Bears welcome the Charlotte Checkers for a Saturday-Sunday series. The Bears last regulation wins came in early January against the Checkers.

CURRENT STANDING

8th in Atlantic Division, 17-21-3-4 (W-L-OTL-SOL), .456 points percentage, 41 points