It may not have been a 60 minute, complete game effort by the Hershey Bears like Head Coach Mike Haviland has been preaching, but it was awfully close. Brandon Segal tallied two goals and earned first star honors in a convincing 5-1 Saturday night win against the Western Conference Rochester Americans.
HERSHEY, PA – Philipp Grubauer, seen here at the Outdoor Classic, made 35 saves in Hershey’s 4-1 win over Rochester (Kyle Mace – Sweetest Hockey on Earth)
A day after watching their point streak get snapped in the hands of the Toronto Marlies, the Hershey Bears returned to the United States to face the historic Rochester Americans. Looking to jump back into the win column, four different Bears score combined with a solid performance by Philipp Grubauer to cap a 4-1 victory in New York.
Tomas Kundratek misses a chance at a wide open Americans’ net. (All photos courtesy of Tim Stough)
New to SHOE this season will be a “weekend in photos” post. Both Kyle and myself are credentialed to shoot Bears games in different areas of Giant Center. And as you might of imagined, we take a lot of pics. So many in fact that they can’t all fit into our game recaps. So instead of keeping these pictures on our cutting room floor, we’ll post the most notable ones in this weekly segment.
This week, I supply all of the snapshots, and they come from the Bears home opener on Saturday night. Take a look and make sure to click on the pics to enlarge them.
Saturday night at Giant Center the Hershey Bears squared off with the second oldest franchise in the American Hockey League, the Rochester Americans. It wasn’t just a hockey game, but a celebration among Hershey Bears fans, players and staff members. Saturday the Bears celebrated 75 years of hockey.
Photo credit: Kyle Mace
Hershey Bears forward Garrett Mitchell has started off his second professional season strong. He scored a goal in his second game of the year in the Bears 3-2 win over Binghamton. And tonight, Mitchell had a Gordie Howe hat trick, registering a goal, an assist, and a fight in the Bears’ home opener. Well, should we call it a Gordie Howe hat trick plus with him registering a game misconduct too?
Kyle Mace’s exceptional photos of each event are below.
In a match-up of the league’s most storied teams, the Bears were looking for a solid win on the road after experience some issues in this stretch.
Sadly, it didn’t turn out like they hoped. It started off just like we wanted it to. A gritty play resulted in Matt Pope chipping at puck at David Leggio. It took a nice bounce and hopped into the goal. But the Amerks scored on the power play and then during the final minute of the period to take the lead.
After an interesting game last night against Adirondack, Hershey played another weird one tonight after Rochester would score three goals in the third period and send the game to overtime and then a shootout. But the result was the same, as Hershey wins 4-3 over the Americans (SO.)
You can’t win ‘em all. Although, when you’re playing the struggling Rochester Americans, you tend to think you can win it.
It looked like it was going to be really bad at first. By the end of the first period, the Bears were already down 2-0. Rochester scored once on the power play and once even strength to make it look like a rough night for Hershey. It didn’t help when the Amerks scored in the beginning of the next period on a rebound shot past Todd Ford.
At the end of this recap, you’ll find the lines and pairings, as usual. However, those lines didn’t last very long. By the end of the second period, the coaches were already doing some shuffling in order to combat the Amerks early lead.
With the Amerks up 3 goals to none and Boyd Kane going to the penalty box for two minutes, things started looking grim. Thankfully, the Bears refused to give us and started putting some pressure on Rochester, even while down a man. Zach Miskovic unleashed a big shot that Johann Kroll tipped along the way and the Bears ended Tyler Plante’s shutout with a short-handed goal. That is Kroll’s first goal and point of the season.
Things really got exciting when Jay Beagle brought the Bears within one goal of tying it. He approached the goal at an angle that was rapidly getting tighter and tighter. He had such a quick backhand shot that it was hard to tell he even shot at all until you saw the slow motion replay. Plante was just as fooled and suddenly it was 3-2 Rochester.
It was like the Bears got a second wind. They start skating faster and harder and Rochester responded by matching their pace. The two teams battled it out for the rest of the period but Hershey couldn’t complete the comeback. They came very close but had their shots blocked. They even hit iron a couple of times. Amerks win 3-2.
The Bears will be at home for the remainder of the weekend. Make sure you come out and cheer the team back to its winning ways.
Sometimes after a blow-out victory, like the game last night against the Albany Devils, it’s easy to sit back and relax during the next game. But it’s games like the one tonight against the Rochester Americans where you will look back and regret not getting those two points if you relax too much.
I think Steve Pinizzotto took it a little too seriously when someone told him to start the game strong. Right off the opening face-off, he dropped the gloves with Michael Duco. It was over pretty quickly but I’d say Pinizzotto came out on top.
The Bears also started strong by scoring the game’s first goal. Patrick McNeill had a nice goal during a 5-on-3 where he came in and sniped the rebound shot. It was his first goal of the season and a well-deserved one. Keith Aucoin would add to the scoring sheet after he snuck in back door while Andrew Gordon had the puck.
Rochester’s only goal of the night game came during the second period. They beat Dany Sabourin on the power play to cut Hershey’s lead in half. Speaking of Sabourin, he had another great night. He stopped 25 of 26 shots and those were big shots. It’s a great thing to see him getting comfortable and winning two in a row in front of the Hershey faithful.
Thankfully, the third period was all Hershey in terms of scoring. Gordon got Hershey’s third goal with a perfect deflection past Tyler Plante. Brian Willsie tacked on another goal during the power play that got Plante moving. Finally, Ashton Rome added even more goal insurance by cashing in on another juicy rebound.
The top two lines were fantastic tonight and Hershey defeated the Amerks 5-1.The homestand continues tomorrow night when the Adirondack Phantoms come to town.
How does that saying go? If you don’t have anything nice to say…
It wasn’t the way Hershey intended for the game to go. I guess it’s only fitting that Rochester ruined Hershey’s home opener after Hershey ruined theirs. Perhaps inspired by the memories of last season, the Bears played with energy and came out strong…for the first five minutes. Then they seemed to lose all of their passion and energy until the last five minutes. Alright, let’s try and look at the positives:
Brian Willsie had a good night. He scored the first goal of the night and got an assist on Andrew Gordon’s goal. Outside the score sheet, he was pulling some fancy moves around the Rochester defense. It’s hard to really analyze how Dany Sabourin did in his first game as a Hershey Bear. He only faced 15 shots and stopped 12 of them. However, it’s hard to fault him when he was screened the entire night. Hershey’s defenders need to be better about clearing the goal crease.
Hershey put together another fantastic ceremony to celebrate the organization’s 11th Calder Cup Championship. Personally, I loved the video they played before introducing the 2010-2011 team. The video panned around a virtual Giant Center filled with players and moments from the past season.
One by one, the players were announced and the members of last year’s team received their rings. They all huddled together, studying every facet of their new bling.
The big news of the night involved Hershey legend, Mitch Lamoureux, who is going to be inducted into the AHL Hall of Fame. The announcement warranted a standing ovation from the jam-packed Giant Center. Congratulations to Mitch!