By Don Scott
Eddie Wittchow gave the Hershey Bears a 1-0 lead 6:20 into the first period but that was all the Belleville Senators goalie Joey Daccord would allow in his first AHL start, as Belleville skated to a 3-1 victory on Giant Center ice Saturday.
The Bears outshot the visitors 11-1 in the first period, but gave up two power-play scores 3 ½ minutes apart in the second stanza that turned things around in a hurry, to the dismay of the 9,108 fans who turned out for the contest.
“We knew the Bears would come out hard, after not playing Friday night but I thought we weathered the storm pretty well after giving up the early goal,” Belleville coach, and former Hershey coach, Troy Mann said. “Our power play has been clicking and for us to get those two in the second period and the defensive effort after that turned the game in our favor. Daccord is a prospect called up from Brampton who we knew would play one of the weekend games and this was it.”
Liam O’Brien found Wittchow pinching from the left point and he fired a shot past Daccord for his first goal as a Bear and Kody Clark recorded the secondary assist for his first pro point.
In the second period, O’Brien was given a five minute major for cross-checking and a game-misconduct at 6:42 and the Sens needed less than a minute to pull even. Josh Norris ripped a shot past Bears keeper Vitek Vanecek at 7:38 to tie the game, then Erik Burgdoerfer was sent to the sin-bin at 10:11 to put the Bears down 5-on-3.
The Senators took advantage of that situation to score their second power-play goal. Jordan Szwarz finished an easy backdoor tap-in following a tape-to-tape pass from Drake Batherson at 11:09. Shots after two periods were 19-9 Hershey, but the Bears trailed 2-1. Batherson completed the scoring with an empty-net goal at 18:46.
The Bears finished the night with a 27-16 advantage in shots. Special teams finished 0-for-2 on the power play, including a missed 5-on-3 chance, and 3-for-5 on the penalty kill.
The Bears return to action and open the month of December on Sunday, Dec. at 5 P.M. versus the Hartford Wolf Pack for the CommunityAid and abc27 Teddy Bear Toss Night at Giant Center.