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In Cleveland, Hershey Sweeps Monsters

BY DON SCOTT

Mike Vecchione scored the first and last goal, and Zach Fucale had a season-high 29-save game on Friday, in Hershey’s 4-1 road victory over the Cleveland Monsters.

Vecchione gave the Bears a 1-0 lead at 16:15 of the first period with Hershey on a power play. Mason Morelli and Garrett Pilon assisted, as Vecchione’s shot from the left circle beat Cleveland goaltender Jet Greaves.

The middle period was scoreless, and then Cleveland tied the game in the third period with a slap shot at 5:01 by Scott Harrington that eluded Fucale.

Kody Clark responded quickly for Hershey, powering his way to the net on a great individual effort for his sixth goal of the season to put the Bears up 2-1 at 8:15. Beck Malenstyn and Riley Sutter collected he helpers. 

Hershey would add two more goals on a power-play tally by Lucas Johansen at 15:58, and an empty netter from Vecchione, his second of the night, and tenth of the season, at 18:06 to seal the win. 

The win for Fucale snapped his personal four-game losing streak.

Final shots totaled 30-23 in favor of Cleveland. The Bears finished two-for-three on the power play and one-for-one on the penalty kill.

Bears Notes:

Cleveland is coached by Mike Eaves, who held the same position with Hershey (96-109-35) from 1990-93.

The victory was Hershey’s first in Cleveland since Feb. 5, 2013.

Defenseman Lucas Johansen and goaltender Pheonix Copley had been reassigned to Hershey on Thursday.

Saturday’s tilt in Cleveland resulted in a similar 4-1 Hershey win over the struggling Monsters, thanks to Pheonix Copley’s 28-save outing that included a penalty shot save on Cleveland’s Brendan Gaunc at 11:34 of the first period which kept the game scoreless.

Hershey got on the board six minutes later with a turnover in front of the Cleveland net when Riley Sutter scored his second goal of the season at 17:38.

The Bears kept the pressure on and Sutter set up Beck Malenstyn at 15:55 of the second stanza for his fourth goal of the season to extend his point streak to three games.

Brian Pinho kept the scoring going at 1:53 in the third period with his third goal of the campaign. Assists went to Cody Franson and Lucas Johansen. Pinho skated down the left wing and slipped a shot under Cleveland goaltender J.F. Berbue’s arm for a 3-0 lead.

Copley lost his bid for a third shutout this season, and 12th in a Hershey uniform, at 13:00 of the third period when Jake Christiansen scored for the Monster. One more shutout will tie Copley with Andre Gill for sixth place all-time for the Chocolate and White.

Kale Kessy closed out the scoring with 4:05 left when he sent the puck into an empty net, set up by Mason Morelli, for his fourth of the season. 

Final shots were 29-29. The Bears finished 0-for-three on the power play and two-for-two on the penalty kill, and improved to an overall record of 23-13-3-3 that moved them to the top spot in the Atlantic Division, depending on outcome of later games.

Bears Notes:

The win was Scott Allen’s 75th as a head coach in the American Hockey League.

Pheonix Copley’s 83rd win tied him with Rollie Boutin for sixth place on Hershey’s All-Time list. His 151st game played is one less than ninth-place John Henderson’s 152 all-time.

Hershey has 2,992 regular season wins in franchise history. The Bears have seven games remaining through February, so hitting the 3,000th victory game should occur sometime in March.

The Bears are idle until Saturday when the Belleville Senators visit Giant Center. 

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