For the second consecutive weekend, the Hershey Bears played three games in three days, two in Providence on Friday and Sunday, wrapped around a Saturday trip to Bridgeport.
The Bears started the brutal weekend with a 5-0 loss in Providence despite out-shooting the Bruins 34-26, picked up a 4-2 victory in Bridgeport on Saturday and then returned to Providence to suffer a 4-1 setback Sunday afternoon.
Providence took a 1-0 lead at 12:57 of the first period on Friday, when Eduards Tralmaks’ shot from the right circle beat Hershey goaltender Zach Fucale. Three minutes later, Victor Berglund was set up by Cameron Hughes and Jesper Froden to score on the power play to make it 2-0. Berglund’s shot from the deep slot hit the crossbar and dropped into the net.
Following a scoreless second period, the Bruins scored three more goals in the third period to pull away.
Cameron Hughes stretched Providence’s lead with an unassisted, shorthanded goal 3:20 into the final stanza to make it 3-0. It was the eighth shorthanded goal Hershey has allowed this season.
Jesper Froden added the fourth Providence goal, scoring on a 5-on-3 power play with 9:59 remaining in the final period. Helpers went to Justin Brazeau and Fogarty.
Just 1:44 later, Providence’s Chris Wagner made it 5-0, thanks to a set up from Joona Koppanen and Matt Filipe. Wagner’s shot from the slot, slipped underneath Fucale for the final goal of the contest.
Hershey was 0-for-4 on the power play, while Providence was 2-for-6.
The Bears bounced back from Friday’s lackluster outing with a solid 4-2 win over the Bridgeport Islanders on Saturday at the Webster Bank Arena, thanks to a 42-save outing from Hunter Shepard.
Shepard was outstanding in the game’s opening period when Bridgeport outshot Hershey 18-8, the most the Beavers have allowed in a single period this year.
After two stops from Shepard on one end, Axel Jonsson-Fjallby opened the scoring for the Bears at 16:42 of the first period, with a shot from the slot, set up by Aliaksei Protas and Lucas Johansen. The goal was Jonsson-Fjallby’s team-leading 15th marker of the season.
Hershey scored three times in the middle stanza to take a 4-0 lead. Marcus Vela scored his fifth goal of the season with a wrist shot off of a Beck Malenstyn pass, 6:36 into the period. Kody Clark had the secondary helper on Vela’s goal from the left circle.
Mid-ay through the period, Johansen pushed the puck out of the zone for a shorthanded rush with Brian Pinho. Johansen found Pinho with a feed at the back post and he tapped in his fifth goal of the season at 12:14, his second shorthanded goal of the year.
With 18 seconds remaining in the period, Cody Franson fired a shot from the point that Malenstyn deflected over the glove of Bridgeport goaltender Jakub Skarek to make it 4-0. Clark added his second secondary assist of the night on the goal.
In the third period, Islanders finally solved Shepard with a deflection of their own, when Andy Andreoff redirected Parker Wotherspoon’s shot at 7:09. Bridgeport added a second goal at 14:55, with Felix Bibeau scoring from the right circle to cut Hershey’s lead to 4-2.
Shepard stood tall in the closing minutes, stopping 12 Bridgeport shots in the third period to secure his fifth straight win. The 42 stops were an AHL career-best for Shepard who improved to 5-1-0. He is 8-1-0 in his eleven-game AHL career.
Saturday marked the fourth of six meetings between the two clubs this season. All three of the previous meetings took place at Giant Center, with all three contests going beyond regulation. Hershey is 3-0-0-1 versus the Islanders this year.
Hershey finished its three-game weekend at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence on Sunday afternoon, with a 4-1 loss to the Providence Bruins. The defeat was Hershey’s second of the weekend at Providence, and the club’s record fell to 25-17-3-3 with the result.
The Bears opened the scoring on Sunday when forward Axel Jonsson-Fjallby picked up a misplayed puck in the Bruins zone. He sent a shot to the net where Mike Vecchione deflected the puck past Providence goaltender Troy Grosenick to give Hershey a 1-0 lead, 4:33 into the second period. The goal was Vecchione’s 12th of the season.
Hershey kept the Bruins scoreless until two late goals in the middle frame turned things in another direction. Eduards Tralmaks tied it when he skated in alone on Hershey goalie Zach Fucale, and stick handled around him to make it 1-1. Assists went to Samuel Asselin and Justin Brazeau at 18:35.
Providence would strike again with just 2.9 seconds left in the frame, when Zach Senyshyn was able to just push the puck over the goal line to give the Bruins a 2-1 lead after forty minutes of play.
Shots finished 31-28 Hershey. The Bears were 0-for-4 on the power play while Providence was 1-for-4.
Hershey is back in action on Tuesday when the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins visit Giant Center for a 7 p.m. faceoff.