Bears Fall to Crunch in Hershey

The Syracuse Crunch defeated the Hershey Bears 3-2 in a shootout Saturday night at Giant Center. Patrick Maroon, Peter Holland and Jean-Francois Jacques netted goals past Daren Machesney in the shootout to secure the victory. Kyle Palmieri registered a second period goal along with a goal in the shootout, pushing the Crunch to victory. Chris Bourque added a power play goal for Hershey in the first period, but could not convert on several key chances late in the contest. Daren Machesney returned to Hershey to make his first start for the Bears’ since the 2008-2009 campaign.  Machesney was called up to Hershey due to Dany Sabourin’s call up to the Washington Capitals.

Bears’ coach Mark French was pleased with Machesney’s performance. “I thought he played well. Coming into the game, Daren’s been injured coming from South Carolina. He’s been a real good mentor to Philipp Grubauer.”

The Bears’ were quickly on the power play in the first period following a Syracuse four minute penalty for high sticking by forward, Riley Holzapfel. Hershey struggled to maintain possession in the offensive zone, until Chris Bourque redirected a pass from Boyd Kane past the Syracuse net minder. The goal developed from a break out pass by the newest Bears’ goalie, Daren Machesney.

The Crunch quickly responded following the Bears’ tally, as Kyle Cumiskey fired home a slap shot that handcuffed Machesney tying the game at one. The first period featured a ton of emotion following a hit on Garrett Mitchell from Syracuse forward, Mark Bell. Mitchell was skating up through the Bears’ defensive zone and was blindsided by Bell. After each whistle scrums ensued, a direct effect of the hit by Bell on Mitchell. Many calls were missed by the officials, sparking many boos from the home crowd. A referee eventually tossed a Bears’ fan for jawing behind the Syracuse bench.

The second stanza featured very few scoring chances, but many of them were high quality opportunities.  The Crunch took a 2-1 lead, following a Kyle Palmieri wrist shot past Machesney. Palmieri received the pass near the right circle during a two on one rush from Crunch forward, John Mitchell. Following the Crunch goal, neither team could gain consistent offensive momentum and there were no carryover effects from an intense first period.

Hershey was able to tie the game up late in the period on the power play, converting on their second man advantage on the night. Patrick McNeil ripped a wrist shot past Syracuse Crunch goalie, Igor Bobkov.

Coach French felt his team was too conservative stating he wanted to be more aggressive. “We seemed to have a lot of patience early I didn’t think we were very good. Our game plan wasn’t to be patient.”

The third period was similar to the second, neither team mustered many shots on goal or registered any quality scoring chances. Hershey earned one power play in the period, but could not convert. Midway through the third stanza, tempers started to flare. Both teams finished some big checks including a Syracuse hit on Bears’ forward, Boyd Kane. Kane stayed down on the ice for a few minutes, but returned to action later in the period. Andrew Carroll and Joel Rechlicz of Hershey and Ryan O’Marra and Nick Schaus of the Crunch received ten minute misconducts due to the post whistle scrums.

French was also impressed with the intensity Francis Verreault brings to the game. “He’s a player were just getting to know, but he’s getting better with every game. He’s an undersized player and he doesn’t jump out to you as a player with great offensive speed, but he seems to be a player that plays bigger than his frame. He plays with good heart and I thought he played well tonight, he earned some extra ice time and I’m sure he caught some peoples attention.”

Hershey dominated the overtime period outshooting Syracuse 9-1, but could not find the back of the net. Hershey forward, Boyd Kane could not ram home a rebound in front of Bobkov which would have sealed the game.

Syracuse found twine past Machesney three times in the shootout, capping off a big win for them as the playoffs inch closer. Boyd Kane was the only successful shooter for Hershey in a shortened four round shootout.

Three Stars:

1. Peter Holland: shootout goal, plus one
2. Chris Bourque: goal, eight shots on goal
3. Kyle Palmieri: two goals(even strength, shootout)

Game Notes:

  • Kevin Marshall did not see the ice in the third period and overtime due to a “team related issue.”
  • Garrett Mitchell returned to the game following a hard hit given by Syracuse forward Mark Bell.
  • Chris Bourque did not appear in the shootout, shocking because he is the top scorer in the AHL.

Hershey returns to Giant Center Easter Sunday to take on the New York Ranger’s minor league affiliate, the Connecticut Whale.

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