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Hershey’s Road Woes Continue in Canada

BY DON SCOTT

The Hershey Bears’ three-game trip to Canada fell far short of their goal, as they only managed to pick up one point in the standings, while losing twice in regulation and enduring an overtime defeat.

Following a 3-0 loss in Toronto, the Bears suffered a 3-2 overtime loss in Belleville on Friday, then finished with a 5-1 defeat in Laval on Saturday.

Hershey earned a standings point, but Roby Jarventie scored with 56.8 seconds left in overtime, to give the Belleville Senators a 3-2 win over Hershey on Friday night at the CAA Arena. 

When the two teams played previously on February 12 it was a special team’s slugfest, and Friday’s game started with more of the same.

Belleville broke the ice on the power-play thanks to a goal from Jonathan Aspirot, making it 1-0 at 10:27. The blue liner fired a center point shot that flew past the glove of Hershey goaltender Pheonix Copley, to give the home team the lead.

At 13:33, Hershey snapped a seven-game skid on the power play, as Mike Sgarbossa’s tallied his tenth goal of the season. Bobby Nardella fed Sgarbossa on the left wing, and he ripped a shot over goaltender Mads Sogaard’s glove only eight seconds into the power play tying the game at one apiece.

The two teams traded goals in the second period. Aliaksei Protas knocked in a rebound from the left wing to give Hershey a 2-1 lead at 1:27. Shane Gersich and Brett Leason assisted on Protas’ fifth goal of the season. 

Belleville would tie the game on a rush to the net from Egor Sokolov. With Protas back defending in place of defender Lucas Johansen, Jake Lucchini centered a pass to Sokolov, and the forward beat Protas to the back post and chipped a shot over Copley to make it 2-2 at 10:40. 

After a scoreless third period, the game progressed to overtime. The Bears had a full two-minute power play in overtime, but were unable to convert. Hershey out shot Belleville 6-1 in overtime, but with time winding down, Jarventie raced down the ice and snapped a shot over Copley’s glove to give Belleville the victory. 

On Saturday afternoon at Place Bell, the Laval Rocket scored four times in the second period on the way to a 5-1 win over the Bears. With the loss, Hershey’s record fell to 29-23-5-3. 

The Bears opened the scoring just 4:03 into the game on Bobby Nardella’s fifth goal of the season. He connected on the power play for the second straight game, as he slammed a rebound off Garrett Pilon’s shot into the twine, with Mike Sgarbossa getting the initial assist. 

In the second period, Laval scored four times starting with Justin Decharme firing a shot past Hershey goaltender Zach Fucale at 3:48. Kevin Roy made it 2-1 for the Rocket, scoring at 5:50 on a shot from the corner that deflected off the pad of Fucale and into the net. At 9:16, former NHLer Cedric Pauqette scored on a rush from the left wing, sending a shot that eluded Fucale short side to make it 3-1. 

Before the period ended, with the Rocket on a power play, Rafael Harvey-Pinard scored his third goal against Hershey this season, redirecting Xavier Ouellet’s shot home to make it 4-1, at 13:11.  

In the third period, Hershey pulled Fucale for an extra-attacker in the game’s closing minutes, and Brandon Gignac sealed the win for the home team, scoring into the vacated goal at 17:17 for the 5-1 final.

Shots favored the Bears 30-20, including 13-2 in the third period. Both teams went 1-for-2 on the power play. 

The Bears return to action on Wednesday at Giant Center versus the Lehigh Valley Phantoms.

Bears Notes:

Fucale is a native of Laval and a former member of the Rocket. He entered the game having shutouts in three of his last four starts, posting a 3-1-0 record with a 0.50 goals-against average and a .983 save percentage in the span. He had stopped 114 of the 116 shots he faced over the previous four starts.

Forward Kody Clark and defenseman Tobias Geisser played their 100th game over part of three seasons in Hershey.

Hershey enters Wednesday’s game at Giant Center with 2,998 victories in franchise history.

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