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Samsonov Strong In Debut Loss
We are back at the Giant Center for another year of coverage of the Hershey Bears. There are a lot of new faces coming to town and none bigger than goaltender Ilya Samsonov.
Samsonov comes over from the KHL where he had a great season. There are high expectations by many for him to have a good season in his first trip to North America.
Hershey starts he season with no captain but six alternate captains. Riley Barber, Liam O’Brien and Aaron Ness will sport the “A” at home while Tyler Lexington, Mike Sgarbossa and Colby Williams will wear it for road games.
The expectation this season is the change of pace that we witnessed last season. Speed going up and down the ice is something new to the Hershey Bear fans. This is exactly how it started. The scoring started early this year and it came from Liam O’Brien.
O’Brien takes a nice pass from Colby Williams in the slot and stuffs it through the five hole of Syracuse goaltender, Eddie Pasquale. Secondary assist would go to Riley Barber.
Hershey would shortly take a hooking penalty from Sergei Shumakov, putting them on the penalty kill for the first time this season.
This would be costly as Syracuse would score later in the power play. Alex Barre-Boulet made a very skilled sauce pass over the Bear defender as the puck landed on Carter Verhaeghe’s stick and past Samsonov to tie the game.
The pace of the game returned as there was not much cycling for either team. Most of Hershey’s scoring chances came from fast breaks out of the zone. These fast break outs make it hard for teams to defend as a whole and the Bears would capitalize once again.
Newcomer Mike Sgarbossa would sneak one past Pasquale with less than a minute left in the period. It was a pass that took a lot of patience from Barber as a defender was laying down to block the pass. The assists by Barber and Williams would both be their second of the night. This would give Hershey a 2-1 lead.
A few seconds after the puck drop, Carter Verhaeghe of the Crunch would take a two minute boarding penalty. This would be Hershey’s first power play of the season but Lucas Johansen would take a roughing penalty with no time on the clock, making it 4 on 4 to start the second.
1st Period Scoring:
HER Goal: 3:45 – O’Brien (1) ASST: Williams (1), Barber (1)
SYR Goal: 7:49 – Verhaeghe (1) ASST: Barre-Boulet (1), Volkov (1) (PP)
HER Goal: 19:04 – Sgarbossa (1) ASST: Barber (2), Williams (2)
1st Period Shots: SYR – 9 HER – 8
The period would start with Syracuse jumping all over Hershey but our new king of the crease, Samsonov, stood his ground making all the saves look easy.
Hershey would get their second power play (and first full one) because of a cross check that Volkov delivered.
No one scored, but there were many chances for Hershey. The Bears looked pretty good with solid passing and a few chances on net. If Hershey keeps their power play looking like this, they should improve from last season.
Syracuse would score once again from Taylor Raddysh at 14:02 in the period. Assists would come from Andy Androff and Ross Colton.
Hershey would go on another power play as Verhaeghe would take a high sticking penalty away from the play. This time around, Hershey had a hard time entering the zone. This will happen with new players and a new coaching staff and chemistry doesn’t happen overnight.
The period would end at even strength with Hershey looking for some answers on how to create more offense in the third.
2nd Period Shots: SYR – 14 HER 10
2nd Period Scoring:
SYR Goal: 14:02 Taylor Raddysh (1) ASST: Andy Andreoff (1), Ross Colton (1)
Third period started the way the second did. The Crunch were throwing bodies around, slowing down the Bears fast breaks. This frustrated Conner Hobbs as he slashed one of them. Unfortunately the referee witnessed the incident and Hobbs went to the box.
This penalty would be costly as Syracuse’s Alex Barre-Boulet would undress Jonas Siegenthaler and walk in for the easy goal. Even though Barre-Boulet didn’t need help, Cal Foote and Gabriel Dumont would get credited with the assists.
Late in the period Hershey would get another power play. Hershey would have many chances but just couldn’t finish. After the power play was over, Samsonov would join his teammates on the bench to give them an extra attacker.
Hershey would crash the net and throw the puck at Pasquale any time they had a chance. Pasquale would hold his own and win the game for Syracuse.
3rd Period Shots: SYR – 8 HER 14
Total Shots: SYR 31 HER 32
3rd Period Scoring:
SYR Goal: 5:26 Alex Barre-Boulet (1) ASST: Cal Foote (1), Gabriel Dumont (1) (PP)
Photos are provided by Lauren Gettel and Cory Lyons
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