If you look at the stat sheet from tonight’s game, you’d think that the Hershey Bears had a chance to win. The Bears had nine power play chances, but couldn’t find the back of the net, not even once with the man advantage. Hershey’s compete level and execution clearly kept them from a chance at victory.
The Norfolk Admirals defeated the Bears 5-1 Saturday night on WGAL Teddy Bear Toss night at Giant Center, led by forward Emerson Etem. Etem posted two goals on the night and Admirals goalie, Frederik Andersen was magnificent in net, stopping 29 of Hershey’s 30 shots on goal.
“I thought we lost the game in the first five minutes,” Bears coach Mark French said. “We played a team that certainly played with much more purpose. They dictated play; I guess we had an opportunity to get back in the game with the power play. Certainly we were fighting the puck.”
The Admirals took an early 1-0 lead 5:03 in the first period when Emerson Etem ripped a shot from the left circle past Holtby. Former Adirondack Phantoms forward, Patrick Maroon picked up the primary assist.
“They played a lot more desperate,” French said of Norfolk’s compete level tonight compared to Wednesday’s game. “They were the more desperate hockey team tonight. We don’t have the capabilities of losing that battle. We need to be the more desperate hockey team on every night.”
Norfolk doubled their lead to 2-1 11:26 into the first stanza, finding twine past Holtby. Peter Holland registered his 10th goal on the season, assisted by Patrick Maroon and Admirals goalie, Frederik Andersen.
Norfolk earned the majority of scoring chances in the first period, outshooting the Bears 12-8. Norfolk couldn’t connect on their lone power play in the first period and Hershey was unsuccessful on both their man advantage opportunities in the first stanza.
The Admirals padded their lead to 3-0 16 seconds into the second period, converting on a Jon DiSalvatore defensive zone turnover. DiSalvatore attempted to pass the puck to his defenseman but the puck was stolen by Admirals forward, John Mitchell who dished it past Holtby.
Tomas Kundratek answered the Admirals goal to pull Hershey within two, ripping a shot from the blue line past Andersen. Kundratek’s marker was his sixth goal on the season, tying him for second in goals scored for Hershey. Following the goal, Bears fans threw a total of 12,497 teddy bears on the ice, which will be donated to charity.
“I don’t know if there’s any other place that would have that support,” French said of the Teddy Bear toss. “Certainly the fans here should be applauded for what they did.”
“I got hit a couple times by a couple teddy bears,” Tomas Kundratek said. “It was a good feeling.”
The Admirals killed off two Hershey power plays in the third period, and then hit pay dirt with 5:44 remaining in the third period. Norfolk forward, Emerson Etem notched his second goal of the game and sixth of the year, finding twine past Holtby.
Hershey’s power play went 0-for-9 on the night, dropping their man advantage efficiency. The Bears entered the night at 16% with the extra man, but they struggled tonight.
“I think we have to get pucks to the net,” Bears forward Ryan Potulny said. “We’ve got to move it quicker, I think we were a little stagnant when we got it, we held on to it a little too long. I think it takes two quick good passes to break them down.”
Norfolk added to their lead 15:22 into the third stanza, converting on the power play following a boarding penalty to Bears forward, Alex Berry. Lockout casualty, Devante Smith-Pelly registered his second goal of the season, assisted by Peter Holland and Jordan Hendry.
Bears defenseman, Dmitry Orlov made a big hit late in the third period on Jay Rosehill which gave Hershey some renewed energy. However, a lack of focus down the stretch hurt Hershey’s chances at a comeback.
“Any little thing you can find energy from you try to use,” said Potulny.
Hershey returns to Giant Center next Saturday to face the Hamilton Bulldogs.
1. Attendance: 10,216
2. Bears Injury Scratches: Garrett Stafford, Jonathon Kalinski and Ryan Stoa
3. Hershey Healthy Scratches: Julien Brouillette, Matt Clackson and Mattias Sjogren
4. Patrick Maroon and Alex Berry received fighting majors late in the third period
5. Braden Holtby was hit by an Admirals player in the third period, but stayed in the game
1. Frederik Andersen (29 saves on 30 shots)
2. Patrick Maroon (three assists, plus three, two shots on goal)
3. Peter Holland (one goal, one assist, plus one, three shots on goal)