Marlie Mauling: Bears Fall 6-2

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Posted December 20, 2015

HERSHEY, PA — The Hershey Bears and Toronto Marlies came into tonight’s game on two opposing streaks; the Bears had seven straight home wins and the Marlies had eight straight road wins. Only one streak could continue after their game tonight; unfortunately for the GIANT Center crowd, the visitors took full control.

It began promising enough for the Chocolate and White. Early chances came on both even strength and the penalty kill. After limiting the potent Marlie power play to just one shot on goal, Madison Bowey found himself with the puck at the blue line. He danced around two defenders before sliding a backhand pass to Aaron Ness. Ness, returning from Washington after one game as a healthy scratch, slap it past Ray Emery for his first of the season.

After Ness’s goal, the Marlies regained control and started to skate like the Atlantic Division leaders that they are. For the next ten minutes of the first period, Toronto thwarted Hershey’s offense, slowly stealing the momentum. The shift hit the critical point when Richard Clune and Scott Harrington sandwhiched Chris Bourque. Bourque skated to the bench under his own power, but walked immediately to the locker room. He would return breifly in the second period, but was declared out for the remainder of the game during the second intermission.

Within minutes of Hershey losng their leading point scorer, the Bears lost control of their game. A hard hit by Chandler Stephenson caused a skirmish at the red line. With Stephenson in the box for boarding, Zach Sill slashed another Marlie to give the visitors a two-man advantage. In 28 seconds, Mark Arcobello scored his first point of the night with a quick snap shot over Dan Ellis’s glove.

If the momentum was not already with the Marlies after the first period, it definetly was with them after Zach Hyman’s goal 29 seconds in. The initial shot from Sam Carrick got saved by Ellis, but it squirted through his legs far enough for Hyman to get his stick on it before the defense could locate it.

The action went end-to-end for the next seven minutes with limited chances for both teams. Sean Collins on a breakaway and Carter Camper at point-blank range were both stopped by Emery, who signed with the Marlies in the afternoon before the game. Ellis got fortunate when Brett Findlay clanged his slapshot off the cross bar, but he was not so fortunate when Brendan Leipsic’s shot caromed off his pads and hit an unsuspecting Riley Barber to cross the goal line. One minute later, Stuart percy outwaited the Bears’ defense to beat Ellis above the glove.

Head coach Troy Mann had seen enough of his starter and yanked him in favor of Justin Peters. Shortly after the switch, Camper took a Madison Bowey pass and cruised down the left flank undefended. He sold the pass until he found the spot on the ice he wanted to shoot from to beat Emery over the glove.

Erik Burgdoerfer began the third period in a fighting mood. He went with a reluctant Matt Frattin and dropped him to the ice with three right jabs. Burgdoerfer got the book thrown at him with two for roughing, five for fighting, and 10 for misconduct. On that power play, T.J. Brennan scored his tenth goal of the season. Brennan caught Peters low on the post and shot high over his shoulder.

Even with a two minute and twenty second stretch where Hershey held the puck inside the Toronto zone, no quality scoring chances made their way toward Emery’s cage. Just past the halfway point in the period, the frustration for the Bears boiled over. Tyler Lewington and Chris Brown dropped gloves without another willing combatant, earning a 10 minute misconduct a roughing minor respectively. Richard Panik slashed Brown, causing a four-on-four. T.J. Brennan scored high glove and there was little fight left in Chocolate town after that.

Ray Emery won his first AHL game since being let go by the Ontario Reign earlier in the season. In the short notice to play, he had to wear his old Philadelphia Flyers mask with tape over the Flyers logo.

The Bears will return to action Sunday afternoon against the struggling Syracuse Crunch. Before their Friday night win against the Binghamton Senators, the Crunch lost five straight, with their previous last win coming against the Senators as well. The Crunch lost to the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins Saturday night.

Puck drop from GIANT Center is scheduled for 5 p.m. Sunday.