Every Monday, GNGHockey will recap the past week for the Hershey Bears.
Here is everything that happened for the week of Dec. 4…
Hershey Bears (12-12-0-3, 27 points, 6th in Atlantic)
Friday, Dec. 8, 2017 – at Lehigh Valley Phantoms (5-4 loss)
The Bears took the ice against their divisional and interstate rivals for the fifth time this season. The Bears have not been good against the Phantoms this season, winning only one out of their previous four contests. Vanacek took the net for the Bears in this game, giving Copley a much-needed break. They came out unprepared for the Phantoms’ offense, however, as the Phantoms piled on two goals during the first period. Not to worry though, the Bears scored one as well to make it 2-1. After the first period, Mike Vecchione potted a goal for the Phantoms, making it his 21st point of the season. The Phantoms struck again in the second period, and then again in the beginning of the third period to make it 5-1 in favor of Lehigh Valley. Although faced with what seemed to be an insurmountable lead, the Bears did not give up. They scored three straight goals in the third period, courtesy of Johansen, Bau, and Ness, but their efforts came up just a bit too short. The Phantoms were able to stifle the offensive prowess of the Bears, and take this game 5-4. With the loss, the Bears fell back down to .500 on the season.
Saturday, Dec. 9, 2017 – vs. Lehigh Valley Phantoms (4-2 win)
The Bears headed back home this past Saturday evening to face the Lehigh Valley Phantoms for the second night in a row, looking to get revenge for the game they lost the night before. Despite having only three shots in the first period, the Bears went up 1-0 off of a goal from a broken play, courtesy of defenseman Lucas Johansen. The refs were also active this game, as there were five penalties in the first period alone. The Bears came out in the second period looking for more scoring, as well as more shots on net. Although the shots on net were scarce, the scoring came regardless. Chris Bourque scored a goal while falling down to give the Bears a two-goal lead, while Vitek Vanacek came up big at the other end for the Bears. The Bears did not let off the gas, as they scored a quick goal in the beginning of the third period. The Phantoms did not lay down and die, though, as they scored two goals courtesy of Oskar Lindblom and Mikhail Vorobyev, to make it a 3-2 game. The game was back and forth until, finally, captain Garrett Mitchell potted the game-sealing goal against Phantoms goaltender Dustin Tokarski. There would be no more scoring this game, as Vanacek closed the door and backstopped the Bears to their 12th win of the season. The Bears took this one, 4-2, and improved to 12-11-0-3 on the season.
Sunday, Dec. 10, 2017 – vs. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (4-1 loss)
After an exhilarating win the night before, the Bears looked to use some of the emotion that they built against the Phantoms to help them in yet another rivalry game against the neighbors from the north, the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. Vitek Vanacek made his second start in a row, after a strong game the previous night. The Penguins struck first in the first period, and roughly a minute and 15 seconds after their first goal, they struck again. The second Pens goal was scored by Daniel Sprong, who has been deadly against the Bears during his career. The Pens would tack on another goal before the Bears struck back, courtesy of Tyler Graovac. This goal made 3-1 in favor of the Pens at the end of the first period. Despite a four-goal first period, the second period was quite the opposite – the teams went back and forth, but none could seem to find the back of the net. With only 20 minutes to tie the game, the Bears took the ice looking for a way to solve Penguins goalie Anthony Peters. Unfortunately, they could not, and the Penguins added one more goal to defeat the Bears, by a score of 4-1. Yet again, the Bears fell to their division rivals, and regressed back to .500 (12-12-0-3) on the season.
Hershey Bears – Wednesday, 12/13 vs. Providence Bruins; Saturday, 12/17 vs. Providence Bruins