Bears Week 18 Recap: Sweet Like Syrup

Posted February 19, 2018

Travis Boyd (Cory Lyons)

Like a team inspired, the Hershey Bears invaded Canada and defeated all three Canadian teams in the Eastern Conference. Hershey returns stateside on a four-game winning streak, and out of the cellar in the Atlantic Division.

Travis Boyd led the Bears with four of the team’s six goals against the Laval Rocket, doubling them up for the first win north of the border. This marked the team’s first matchup since the Rocket moved from St. John’s.

Boyd played for more than his teammates. In a post on his Twitter, Boyd detailed a restless week caring for his daughter, Hayden. While still wearing his hospital band from February 12, Boyd became the first AHL player this season to tally four goals in a game.

Liam O’Brien, the start of a fantastic week for him, tallied the other two markers, including a shorthanded empty-netter to end the Hershey half of scoring.

Vitek Vanecek stopped 17 of 20 shots in a game he did not face over 10 shots in any period.

With four seconds left in the game, Markus Eisenschmid nailed Boyd and spun him to the ice. Riley Barber stepped up, and wailed away at Eisenschmid. With an instigating penalty in the last five minutes, the AHL automatically suspended him for the next night.

Pheonix Copley started the next night, blanking the Belleville Senators with 28 saves. A goal in each period secured the third-straight win for the Bears.

Two players — Connor Hobbs in the first and Tyler Lewington in the third — scored their second goals of the season to sandwhich Wayne Simpson‘s eleventh.

In front of over 14,000 people at the Air Canada Centre on Family Day in Canada, the Bears rolled past the AHL-leading Toronto Marlies, 5-2.

As far as goals against goaltenders, the game was a 3-2, back-and-forth affair. Miro Aaltonen and Riant Valiev tallied on special teams, Valiev shorthanded and Aaltonen one-up, in the odd numbered periods.

Three unanswered marks for the Chocolate and White got Hershey a lead to protect. Tyler Graovac showed off his coordination by tipping Lewington’s shot past Garrett Sparks. Jeremy Langlois, after a two-on-one rush got stopped, scored on the second wave of the attack. Nathan Walker cleaned up a rebound from Joe Whitney‘s power-play shot to grant the Bears the three goals they needed.

The third period took nearly an extra five minutes due to repairs along the boards that forced an early intermission.

O’Brien added not one, but two empty-net goals to bring his season total to 13. Copley added an assist, his first of the year, on the second of O’Brien’s goals.


In non-ice related news, Zack Fisch will call the Capitals game against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday night. He has called preseason games for Washington in the last two seasons; this will be his first NHL call-up.

One more road game against Hartford, and then the Bears see home ice against the Rockford IceHogs Saturday night. A short drive up I-81 makes for another date with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins for Sunday afternoon.

Chris Bourque and the U.S. Olympic Team is in the qualification round against Slovakia, who they beat in the group stage thanks to two assists from Bourque. Win, and the Americans move on to face the Czech Republic. Lose, and their tournament run is over.


7th in Atlantic Division, 22-25-3-4 (W-L-OTL-SOL), .472 points percentage, 51 points