Bears Week 21 Recap: Atop the Standings

By
Posted February 29, 2016

(via the Bears)

Three wins in succession this week pushed the Hershey Bears ahead of the pack in the AHL’s Atlantic Division. February saw the club go 8-2-0-1 in 11 games.

The Chocolate and White began the week in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton for a head-to-head with the then-division leading Penguins. Nathan Walker provided in the first period and Travis Boyd scored on a carry over unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. Riley Barber then got hauled down on a breakaway, resulting in a successful penalty shot.

Carter Rowney scored the lone goal for the home team, but it was soon cancelled out by Liam O’Brien’s fifth of the season. Dan Ellis finished the night with 26 saves to help Hershey to their 30th season win.

In a rematch of their December 19th meeting, league-leading Toronto welcomed Hershey to Ricoh center for their final meeting this season. Flipping the script, Hershey skated away with a 5-2 victory.

Despite only three shots on goal through the opening twenty minutes, Hershey went into the first intermission up 1-0 thanks to Chris Bourque. Quick goals from Nikita Soshnikov and Zach Hyman (shorthanded) put Toronto in front, but Jakub Vrana and Dustin Gazley cancelled them out.

Sean Collins would pierce the twine on the power play and Gazley added a shorthanded empty-net goal on Toronto’s last power play with under three minutes still remaining. Ellis held fort with 37 saves while Garret Sparks and Antoine Bibeau split time after Sparks let in the third Hershey tally.

The Bears’ overwhelming power carried them past Utica on the Comets’ final trip to GIANT Center. From Walker’s goal late in the first, the avalanche was on for a 5-1 triumph.

Boyd scored within a minute of the second period puck drop, followed by 11 minutes of no-scoring hockey. Alexandre Grenier put Utica on the board with the power play, but Barber and Bourque cancelled that out before the break. Zach Sill would score while shorthanded to put the game out of reach. Ellis, in his thrid straight start, stopped 32 shots.

TRADE NEWS

The Washington Capitals sent Chris Brown to the New York Rangers in exchange for Ryan Bourque, brother of Chris. The brothers Bourque played last season together in Hartford as part of the Wolf Pack and will now play the remainder of this season as Hershey Bears. Also, defenseman Connor Carrick was packaged with Brooks Laich and a couple of draft picks for the Toronto Maple Leafs in exchange for Daniel Winnik.

NEXT WEEK

A quick trip to Binghamton on Friday is followed by a Saturday/Sunday home-and-home with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.

CURRENT STANDING

57 games played, 32-15-3-7 (W-L-OTL-SOL), 74 points, 1st in Atlantic Division