At the start of every hockey season, some teams will usually come up with a motto to add to the hype and excitement for their fans. In September, the Hershey Bears released a “No Rest” slogan to pump the fans for the Bears’ 74 season in the American Hockey League. However entering Saturday’s game against the Albany Devils, fans are wondering if rest is something the Hershey Bears are currently full of.
The night before Saturday’s matinee, Hershey lost a 3-2 shootout decision against the Syracuse Crunch. After the defeat, the Bears fell to a winless 0-4 record in overtime and shootout play. Following wins in their first four road games of the season, the Bears have dropped their previous four decisions away from Giant Center. Their last win away from Giant Center came on October 21 in Albany.
Saturday the Bears and Devils combined for ten regulation goals and went into a shootout. Steve Benier scored in the bottom of the fourth round in the skills competition to secure a 6-5 shootout win for the Albany Devils. Albany snapped a nine-game losing streak against the Bears.
One of the bright sides for Hershey so far this season has been their power-play, which entered Saturday’s contest the best in the AHL at home with a 35.1-perecent success rate. 3:43 into the contest, Albany’s Brandon Burlon took a defensive zone holding penalty sending the Bears to their first man-advantage.
Sure enough, 28 seconds after the infraction to Burlon Graham Mink tipped a Patrick McNeil shot from center-point beating Keith Kinkiad to make it 1-0 Hershey early. Kinkaid was playing in his first professional road game Saturday. Entering the duel, the former Union College back-stop played in seven other games with the Devils carrying a 2.12 GAA.
Nearly seven minutes later still down by one, the Albany Devils would dump the puck in on a delayed offsides and touch up at the blue line. Rookie Dmitri Orlov picked up the puck behind his own cage, carried it from West to East and bombed a shot beating the young Kinkaid to the low-glove side.
Up 2-0 the Devils, however, fought back firing a total of 16 shots on net in the first 20 minutes. With 4:48 left in the opening stanza, former Bear Chad Wisemen sent a cross-ice feed through the slot to Nathan Perkovich. He laced it up into a wide open net, cutting the Bears lead in half.
Within the period, Bears’ netminder Braden Holtby played a fairly aggressive game. Holtby is a man who loves to come out of his crease to play the puck. With 10 seconds left in the period, Holtby vacated his net to the play the puck in the trapezoid behind the net. Sandwiched by two Albany attackers, Darcy Zajac would receive a wedding present with a loose puck in the blue paint as Holtby was slow to get back into his net. Zajac slid it home to knot the game at 2-2 after 20 minutes of hockey.
Into the middle stanza, with both teams exchanging a handfuls worth of opportunities, the Devils scored only their third road power-play goal of the campaign taking a 3-2 lead at Giant Center. Eric Gelinas fired a juicy rebound from the left face-off circle into an open net giving Albany their first lead of the night.
However, the lead was short live as nearly two minutes later, Chris Bourque would finally pot his first goal of the game after hitting the goal post several times earlier. Bourque’s eighth goal of the season tied the game once more heading into second intermission.
The back-and-forth stretch continued into the third period with the Devils taking the lead two more times, but the Bears again fighting back each time. Steve Bernier and Tim Sestito tallied for Albany in the third, along with Chris Bourque and Boyd Kane for Hershey.
Kane’s strike came with only 6:30 remaining, tieing the game at five goals a-side. The scoring affair soon headed into a 4-on-4 sudden death overtime, where the Bears had a power-play and a golden opportunity to win the game. The Devils came up with their biggest kill of the game lead by great saves by Keith Kinkaid in sudden death.
Into the shootout Steve Bernier scored in the bottom of the fourth round securing a hard fought win for the Albany Devils. Final score being 6-5 at Giant Center. The Bears are now a combined 0-5 in overtime and shootouts this season.
The Hershey Bears return to the ice on Wednesday, Nov. 23 for their annual Thanksgiving Eve game in Hershey. They square off with the Providence Bruins.
Game time is at 7 p.m.