Tonight’s game against the Portland Pirates was a specialty jersey night: the Bears sported Capitals Winter Classic jerseys, but with a twist. Instead of the Capitals logo across the front, it had the Hershey logo. As usual, the jerseys were auctioned off after the game.
The Bears got the first lead of the night (as they so often do) with a goal from Andrew Joudrey. The Bears maintained the lead until Steve Pinizzotto was whistled for cross-checking and a ten minute misconduct. Down a man, Braden Holtby (just sent down from Washington this morning) almost had the puck but had it knocked out of his control and into the net.
The Bears quickly responded and scored a power play goal of their own. Patrick McNeill joined the play and scored back door on David Leggio, showing off that offensive side.
The second period saw a lot of penalties doled out to both sides. The Bears had a 5-on-3 but were not able to convert on it. However, when a Pirate was penalized for hooking Joudrey on a breakaway, they took this chance. Back in front of the loyal home crowd, Andrew Gordon did not let down and scored on the power play. He was right in front of the goal and ready to chip it home to score his first goal since returning from injury.
The Pirates scored to make a one goal difference when two Pirates sped past the Hershey defense. Two-on-none, they beat Holtby to make it 3-2 Hershey.
Things were looking good until Joudrey high-sticked a Pirate and Portland had the man advantage with a little more than six minutes left in regulation. It only took 26 seconds before T.J. Brennan one-timed it past Holtby. I hate to admit it, but it was a beautiful shot. Unfortunately, that meant it was a tie game once again.
The teams pushed on to overtime but it was Portland who came out on top. Despite leading by two goals earlier in the game, the Bears lose 4-3 (OT). Overall, the offense was spotty and could have been better but they were playing a talented Portland team. One point is better than none.
- The Caps announced today they signed prospect Garrett Mitchell to a 3-year entry-level contract. He is expected to report to Hershey as soon as his junior season is over (their final game is tonight). For more analysis on Mitchell, check out Russian Machine Never Break’s article.
- Tonight was Holtby’s first game with the Bears since February 23rd when he was injured in a shootout win against the Toronto Marlies. After healing, he was immediately called up to Washington when Semyon Varlamov was injured.
- This loss was only the second time the Bears have lost in overtime during the Mark French coaching era. The only other overtime loss was against Manitoba on January 8th. It was also the first home overtime loss. (s/t to John Walton)
- Despite scoring two goals on the power play, the Bears let a five minute power play and a fairly long 5-on-3 go without scoring a goal. As proven by the final score, that’s the kind of thing that comes back to bite you.
- The big ticket items at the post-game auction were Gordon’s jersey ($1700), Orlov’s jersey ($2000), and Holtby’s jersey ($2300). Overall, the Bears raised $43,500 for charity tonight.
Lines and Pairings:
Greentree – Willsie – Gordon
Kozek – Perreault – Bouchard
Kane – Joudrey – Pinizzotto
Lacroix – Carroll – Kugryshev
McNeill – Collins
Fahey – Orlov
Wellar – Miskovic
Actual three stars of the game:
1. Mark Parrish (POR)
2. Patrick McNeill (HER)
3. Boyd Kane (HER)
Sweetest Hockey On Earth’s three stars of the game:
1. McNeill: one goal, two assists
2. Kane: two assists
3. Gordon: first goal since returning from injury
Photo by Kyle M.