In Hershey, the Biggest News is Off the Ice (Still Beat Charlotte, Though!)

Posted March 25, 2012

It was an eventful night in Hershey, for reasons that went far beyond their match-up with the visiting Charlotte Checkers (and that was plenty eventful in and of itself).

First, Hershey joined the ranks of the You Can Play team, playing one of the project’s PSAs on the jumbotron before warmups.  For those new to You Can Play, it’s a project which advocates for tolerance in athletics, specifically for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender athletes.  Their motto is “If you can play, you can play.”  It’s incredibly heartwarming to see hockey jumping into the lead on this issue, and I quite honestly cannot say enough good things about it.  This is the PSA which aired at Giant Center tonight:

Second, there was the announcement of a Hershey-Hosted AHL Outdoor Classic (January 20, 2013 at HersheyPark Stadium).  David Andrews, the President of the AHL, was in attendance when Hershey GM Doug Yingst broke the news before the game.  The event will cater to local interests, with the Bears playing host to the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins.  It will be a part of the 75th Season festivities for the Bears.

Bears President & GM Doug Yingst speaks to the assembled fans before the game (All Photos Credit: M. Richter).

Back in January, the Bears participated in an Outdoor Classic against the Adirondack Phantoms in connection with the NHL Winter Classic.  The 2013 AHL game appears to be independent of the scheduled Winter Classic events in Detroit (similar to the 2012 Steeltown Showdown between the Toronto Marlies & Hamilton Bulldogs).

The Hershey Bears & Adirondack Phantoms faced off on January 6, 2012 at the AHL Outdoor Classic.

Hershey v. Charlotte.  It Happened.

T.J. Syner moves the puck along the boards and away from Dany Sabourin's goal.

Tonight’s 2-1 victory over Charlotte was a combination of two low intensity periods (especially on Hershey’s part), and one very physical third frame.  Since a whole slew of non-game related things happened tonight, here’s the quick & dirty on the game itself.

Keith Aucoin made an appearance in bobblehead form.  There was much rejoicing.

Dany Sabourin started his sixth game in a row, and tonight was his fifth consecutive win.  It’s safe to say he’s expected to start tomorrow, as well.

– Patrick McNeill took a puck to the face and bowed out with roughly 5:20 left in the first period.

– Charlotte got their first (and only) goal of the night on the power play, with less than a minute before the first intermission.

– Charlotte also outshot Hershey 14-4 in the first period. The Bears wouldn’t catch up until late in the game.

Tomas Kundratek laid an awkward hit on Nicolas Blanchard that knocked the left winger out cold six minutes into the third period (no penalty was assessed on the play; Blanchard left the ice with assistance, but was awake and all limbs functioning).  The hit was definitely a turning point, in regards to the physical play of the Bears.

Cody Eakin celebrates his game-tying goal. (Photo Credit: John Kosak)

Cody Eakin proved that sending him back down was a good call on Washington’s part, scoring the tying goal with the assistance of Chris Bourque.

Ryan Potulny took over the team lead for Game-Winning-Goals and Power-Play Goals with his 25th tally of the season.

Kevin Marshall and Boyd Kane tried to get into at least three separate fights, and Joel Rechlicz spent the better part of the evening jawing at various members of the Checkers.  However, the officials were having none of it.  The Checkers were just as frustrated at the intervention, appearing more than happy to oblige requests for an altercation following the Blanchard hit.

– On a related note, there were a combination of 17 minor penalties assessed over the course of the game.  Hershey was responsible for ten of them.

D.J. King didn’t do anything specific tonight, but it’s worth noting that he’s been a regular presence on the ice over the last month.  A significant improvement over his nearly month-long absence around the new year.

– Similarly, recent signee T.J. Syner has seen consistent time on the top line with Cody Eakin & Chris Bourque.  David Civitarese, another college player from last summer’s D-Campwas signed Friday.  He has yet to play a game on Hershey’s behalf.

One of several scrums that occurred late in the game. In this instance, Zach Boychuk (no helmet) had ended up at the bottom of a pileup in front of the Hershey bench.

Hershey plays Charlotte again tomorrow.  It promises to be an interesting affair (for all possible meanings of the word).  There’s a whole mess of news about South Carolina cooking along, but that deserves its own post.  Also, a very large bottle of something alcoholic (it’s not good).