The last five games may not have all been pretty, but the Hershey Bears have now tallied points in each of them, including wins in three. The Bears traveled south to battle the Charlotte Checkers of the Western Conference for back-to-back weekday tilts on Wednesday and Thursday.
The Chocolate and White exploded for a combined 13 goals in the two day span, including eight on Thursday en route to two straight wins in Charlotte.
In every success story you find a team overcoming any sort of adversity. But first, for that to happen, adversity needs to take place. At this juncture we can now hope the month of October was the adversity for the Hershey Bears Hockey Club, and the month of November is now the turning point.
Wednesday, despite being out shot 40-24, the opportunistic Bears converted twice on the power play in four chances and opened an early gap on the Checkers. Rick DiPietro stared in goal for Charlotte and barely lasted half of regulation play before receiving the hook. He yielded five goals on 15 shots during the game’s opening 31:33.
Hershey kicked off the first game with four unanswered goals contributed by Nathan Walker, Ryan Stoa, Casey Wellman and Brandon Segal. A second period power play marker by Jeff Taffe opened the hole to 5-1, rounding out the Bears’ scoring for the night.
Meaningless, late second and third period tallies by Charlotte’s Adam Brace and Elias Lindholm stopped the bleeding, but nonetheless Hershey came out on top by a 5-3 final. David Leggio secured the victory with an outstanding 37 save performance at the Time Warner Cable Arena.
The very next night, it was safe to say from start to finish the game was dominant by Hershey. From the get-go the Bears played with a level of speed, determination and aggressiveness that has been commanded by Head Coach Mike Haviland since the preseason. Thursday night it continued for 60 minutes in a 8-1 triumph over the Checkers.
Peter LeBlanc opened the scoring in the first period after tallying on a wrist shot during a transition through the neutral zone, following a save by Philipp Grubauer. LeBlanc scored once more in the third period to give Hershey their sixth goal and salt their opponent’s wound.
Casey Wellman chimed in with a hat-trick, with his second and third markers coming only 2:55 apart in the final period of regulation. Oddly enough, the discouragement from the hometown crowd didn’t begin to rain down until the Bears’ opened the game to 8-1. Nathan Walker also tallied his third and fourth goals of the 2013-14 campaign, along with Nicolas Deschamps‘ first of the season.
Rick DiPietro entered the game in relief of John Muse. Despite only seeing 11 minutes of game time, DiPietro still appeared to struggle noticeably. He allowed one goal on this six third period shots he faced. One has to wonder when the Rick DiPietro saga will eventually come to a close, as he appears to be growing farther from the National Hockey League by the second.
The Hershey Bears will have a travel day Friday, November 15 before squaring off at Mohegan Sun Arena the following night against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.