Corporal Shawn Petterson drops the puck before tonight’s Bears-Phantoms game (Photo courtesy @PhantomsHockey)
It has been no lie the Hershey Bears have been struggling of late in November. The Bears hopped the bus to head north to Adirondack Saturday morning, while being victims of defeat in five of their last six games. The Bears fired 24 shots on net, but the power play was no where close to effective in a 3-1 loss to the Phantoms.
With Adam Oates and his Capitals’ coaching staff being run out of Hershey, Saturday also marked the first game this season where Mark French and Troy Mann were in soul charge of the Bears’ bench. Heading into Sunday’s match against the Toronto Marlies, Hershey will have a 0-1 record while being coached by only two men.
Shots on goal have been a struggle for Hershey all season long, and in the first period they showed hopes of possibly turning the page. Zach Hamill scored for the Bears on a low slap shot about ten feet into the offensive zone that beat Scott Munroe low to the ice. It was one of nine shots for the Bears in the opening frame, as they looked to give the Phantoms’ Scott Munroe no easy task defending his net.
With 3:12 left in the opening period, Adirondack answered via a three-on-two offensive zone rush. Brayden Schenn, who wore Philadelphia orange and black last season sent a back door pass to Tye McGinn. He finished the puck passed Dany Sabourin to send a tied game into the dressing room at the first intermission.
Into the middle frame, Dany Sabourin was tested with 15 more shots on net and yielded one at the 14:03 mark. Tyler Brown scored his first goal of the season for the Phantoms when he picked up a loose rebound and roofed it over Sabourin, following a kick save.
The Bears once again entered the third period trailing by a goal.
The only bright side to Saturday’s third period was that the Bears out shot the Phantoms in the period, 8-3. Despite eight shots, Hershey was not opportunistic, as Hamill’s first period tally proved to be the only goal of the night. Sean Couturier added the empty net goal for the Phantoms with 35 seconds remaining to cap of a 3-1 defeat.
The frustration continues in Hershey, as Scott Stuccio continued to repeat on radio, “Something has got to give.” One has to begin to wonder when the “Help Wanted” signs will debut inside Giant Center, and the Bears’ locker room.