Bears Win Fourth Straight

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Posted March 28, 2021

Photo via The Hershey Bears

HERSHEY, Pa. — There are two things that happen every time the Hershey Bears and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins play: You can bet the house on a hard-hitting affair, and you can throw out the record books. The Bears came into the Sunday matinee at GIANT Center on a three game winning streak, while the Pens were 0-4-2 in their last six.

It took the two I-81 rivals some time to get reacquainted, but eventually they lived up to the billing with the Bears (11-4-2) taking the two points by a score of 3-1.

Fittingly, it was a gritty goal that won the Bears the game. Captain Matt Moulson found a loose puck in the crease and stuffed it past Penguins goalie Max Lagace for a power play goal with 3:07 left to play.

“I told the guys, I was proud of that third period,” Bears head coach Spencer Carbery said. “We have a tendency, it’s tough, and I get it and it’s a grind, but it’s our job, and it’s my job to push these guys to play to a certain level every night.”

The scoring started just 18 seconds into the game. Martin Fehervary took what seemed like to be an innocent shot, that went off Brian Pinho and behind Penguins goalie Lagace.

“It was a great shot and I was lucky to get a stick on it,” Pinho said.

The first period flew by with few whistles, few hits, and a lot of chances each way, but few shots on target. The teams headed into the locker room with the Bears up 1-0, but trailing in the shot department.

Then, the whistles and hatred came back in the second period.

Hershey took two early penalties in the third period, as the Penguins tilted the ice. The first from Andrew Nielsen. Nielsen took a roughing penalty standing up for Damien Riat who was crunched behind the Bears’ goal. Next came a tripping penalty from Rob O’Gara. The Bears managed to kill it off thanks to Pheonix Copley,  standing on his head.

But the momentum had shifted.

The Penguins got the tying goal halfway through the period. After a defensive zone draw, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton quickly found itself on a two-on-one. Nick Schilkey and Tim Schaller executed it perfectly given Copley no chance.

“I thought in the second period we just dropped down back to that—we lose urgency level, guys start to make careless mistakes, we lose coverage, we’re carless with some pucks,” Carbery said. “All those little things.”

With 5:44 left on the clock in the middle period, the Bears were being outshot 18-15, but they quickly regained their footing and generated momentum.

With two minutes left in the second period, Hershey was headed to their first power play of the night. They peppered Legace with five shots, but were unable to find the back of the net. The teams would head to the final 20 minutes tied at a goal apiece.

Bears captain Moulson had a glorious chance to break the deadlock early in the third, as he evaded a poke check from Legace, but couldn’t hit the back of the net.

In the middle of the period, things escalated more.

Pinho was hit late entering the offensive zone. Fehervary went right after the offending and a skirmish ensued. Fehervary and Josh Currie dropped the gloves. However, the officials gave the Bears defenseman additional penalties, two minutes for instigating and a 10 minute misconduct. Carbery mentioned after the game that Fehervary got the biggest ovation in the room postgame.

There was no penalty for the hit.

“I just thought, and I’ll look at the video again the one [hit] Currie puts on Pinho, I thought was late,” Carbery said. “I thought it was late. I thought the puck was gone. One one-thousand, two one thousand, and then the contact comes.”

The Bears killed off the ensuing penalty, and used that to energize themselves. The Bears took over in the final minutes, and took advantage of the Penguins’ late mistake to take the win.

“After we scored the opening goal, I don’t think we played great, especially in the first period, and a lot of the second period” Moulson said. “You need your power play and special teams all around to win games, especially in pro hockey. We knew it was time for us to step up on the power play.”

Shane Gersich put the icing on the cake in the final seconds with an empty netter.

“Playing in these games, it develops you,” Carbery said. “This is the American Hockey league to a tee. When you’re playing a hard, physical, tight game, to where—this is what prepares you to play the next level.”