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Bears Week 4 Recap: Split Ends
(Chris Bourque, via Scott Payonk)
In another three-in-three, the Hershey Bears took three of a possible six points.
After playing his 800th professional game Sunday, forward Chris Bourque finished the weekend with a goal and five assist to lead the Bears offensively. Of his 670 AHL games, 500 have come in the Chocolate and White uniform.
The Rochester Americans came up first on the docket for the weekend, and what followed became the highest-scoring AHL game of the night, edging out Wilkes-Barre/Scranton vs. Lehigh Valley and Syracuse vs. Laval by a goal. The Bears ended up on the short end, losing 7-6 in a shootout.
Eight Bears skaters did not register a point, while Rochester only featured four pointless players. Bourque got five of his six points on the weekend in this game, getting four assists and the second Hershey goal.
Hershey had everything under control in the first twenty, jumping out to a comfortable 3-0 lead. Rochester charged right back after the intermission, piercing Pheonix Copley for five goals in six minutes.
Anthony Peluso, re-assigned from Washington to start the week, got his first of the season in the opening stanza frenzy.
In Copley’s first start since his injury in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals last season, he stopped 30 shots and took a delay of game penalty for clearing the puck over the glass in the first period.
Late goals from Lucas Johansen and Hubert Labrie sent the game to overtime, which did not see a winner emerge.
Wayne Simpson and C.J. Smith traded goals in the second round, Eric Cornel put the final goal of the night in to win the skills contest in round three.
The offense ran cold against the Toronto Marlies, dropping a 4-1 decision.
Garrett Sparks, locked in a depth chart battle with waiver wire pick-up Calvin Pickard, stopped 21 shots for the win. Adam Carlson stopped 31 for Hershey.
Only team captain Garrett Mitchell scored for Hershey, scoring while falling to the ice with a clear shot past Sparks’ left arm.
Hershey also lost rookie defenseman Connor Hobbs to injury in this game, and he will miss six to eight weeks with a fractured left wrist, according to a team release. In ten games wth Hershey, Hobbs scored one goal and one assist.
Copley came back in net to finish the weekend against the Penguins, stopping 25 shots to get the Bears to a 3-2 shootout win.
Daniel Sprong got WB/S started 78 seconds into the game with his eighth of the year. Kevin Czuczman sent the shot toward Sprong for the redirection on net.
Following a penalty successful penalty kill, Wayne Simpson pulled the Bears even with a shot to the high-left corner over Casey DeSmith.
Hershey’s power-play went ice-cold after two tallies against Rochester, with none coming against Toronto in six tries and one-for-seven against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.
Travis Boyd did strike with the man-advantage in the second, keeping it away from three Penguins players while he moved across the ice to his forehand side.
Zach Aston-Reese, last year’s Hobey Baker Award winner as NCAA Hockey’s best player while with Northeastern University, got his first of the season midway through the third to tie it again.
Despite five shots in the overtime, Hershey needed a shootout to find a winner with Simpson’s backhand-to-forehand deke around DeSmith in round one.
Vitek Vanecek, fresh off two rehab starts with ECHL South Carolina, is back in Hershey on recall. Vanecek made a combined 58 saves in a loss to Greenville and win over Jacksonville.
Kelly Zajac, South Carolina’s top center, played twice over the weekend, netting one assist. Zajac, the third of four Zajac brothers, was back with the Stingrays for their last game against youngest-brother Nolan Zajac’s Reading Royals. The Stingrays won 4-3 in overtime, with Kelly getting two assists.
Wednesday night, Hershey drops in on Springfield to visit the Thunderbirds. Hershey will return home for the weekend, welcoming Lehigh Valley and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton to renew pleasantries on Saturday and Sunday.
12 Games Played, 4-6-0-2 (W-L-OTL-SOL), 10 points, .417 points percentage, 7th in Atlantic