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3 months ago
Hershey’s Leaking Oil


With a 2-0 first-period lead, the Hershey Bears (34-15-5-2) got off to a real good start in Saturday’s opening contest of a weekend visit to Providence at the Amica Mutual Pavilion, but they ended up on the down side of a 3-2 loss.
The defeat meant the Bruins replaced the Bears in first place in the Atlantic Division of the American Hockey League.

In Sunday’s rematch, the Bears (34-16-5-2) were blitzed with four goals against in a span of 8:44 in the first period, which inclued a hat trick by Vinni Lettieri, in an eventual 5-3 loss to Providence (33-14-8-2) at the Amica Mutual Pavilion.

Beck Malenstyn opened the scoring for the Bears in Saturday’s tilt when he deflected Lucas Johansen’s shot from the left point past Brandon Bussi at 9:19 of the first period for his sixth of the season. Vincent Iorio received credit for a secondary assist.

Hershey made it 2-0 at 10:42 when Connor McMichael found Ethen Frank at the left circle, and he one-timed a shot that beat Bussi to the far post for his team-leading 25th goal of the season. Mason Morelli picked up a secondary helper.

The Bruins made it 2-1 when Eduards Tralmaks bear Zach Fucale just 49 seconds into the middle frame.

Providence pulled even when former Bears defenseman Connor Carrick converted a rebound at 11:05 of the third period and Oskar Steen beat a screened Fucale at 14:56 to put the Bruins ahead 3-2.

Hershey pulled Fucale with less than two minutes remaining for an extra skater, but was unable to find a tying goal before time expired.

Shots finished 27-23 in favor of the Bruins. The Bears were 0-for-2 on the power play; the Bruins finished 0-for-3 with the man advantage
Bears Notes:
Going into this game, the magic number for the Bears to secure a playoff position was 14 points and 32 points to clinch the Atlantic Division title.
The Washington Capitals announced Tuesday that defenseman Dylan McIlrath has been loaned to Hershey, then on Wednesday the Bears announced that forward Kale Kessy was traded to the Colorado Eagles in exchange for future considerations. On Friday, Washington loaned defenseman Vincent Iorio to Hershey.

On Sunday, Vinnie Lettieri started his hat trick game just 1:36 into the contest to put Providence up 1-0, as his wrist shot from the right circle beat Hunter Shepard for a power-play goal.

Lettieri scored his second of the afternoon for when Justin Brazeau skated behind the net and threw the puck to him in the slot, to beat Shepard at 4:18. Shortly after that, Lettieri set up John Beecher in a similar fashion at 5:06 to put the Bruins ahead 3-0.

Hershey got on the board with a power-play goal when Mike Vecchione one-timed a shot from the right circle past Kyle Keyser at 8:52 for his 20th of the season from Joe Snively and Connor McMichael. 

Lettieri completed his hat trick at 10:20, prompting the Bears to replace Shepard in goal with Zach Fucale.

Before heading into the intermission, Hershey pulled back to within two goals when Aaron Ness knocked in a Henrik Rybinski rebound for his third of the season at 18:03, with Snively collecting a secondary assist for his second helper of the afternoon.

A double-minor penalty to Ness for high-sticking early in the second frame put the Bears on an extended penalty kill, but Hershey’s defense stepped up the rest of the way, holding the Bruins at bay despite 14 shots against in the period.

Rybinski collected his fourth of the season off a Shane Gersich rebound just 1:59 into the third stanza to bring the Bears back to within a goal of the Bruins. Ness picked up the secondary assist, to give him his first multi-point game of the season, and his 300th career pro point.

The Bruins then closed the game out with an empty-net tally by Chris Wagner at 19:10.

Shots finished 38-35 in favor of the Bruins. The Bears were 1-for-2 on the power play; the Bruins finished 1-for-6 with the man advantage.

Bears Notes:
With the defeat, Hershey now trails Providence by three points for first place in the Atlantic Division; the Bears have a game in hand. Hershey is now 1-4-0-0 against Providence this season, with one final game remaining in the series set for Wednesday, April 12 at Providence.

Hershey visits the Lehigh Valley Phantoms at the PPL Center on Wednesday at 7:05 p.m., then return home to host the Rochester Americans for Hall of Fame Night and Print Works On Demand Poster Night on Saturday, March 18 at 7 p.m.

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