The Hershey Bears got back in the win column on Saturday night at a sold-out Giant Center, behind a strong offensive attack that earned them a 3-0 win over the Binghamton Senators. Braden Holtby was very solid in net, stopping all 17 shots he faced for his third shutout of the season. The Bears’ second line was effective with the combination of Kyle Greentree, Ryan Potulny and Graham Mink. All players were part of Hershey’s three goals on the night. Coach French reiterated after the game that the experience playing together has been crucial for this line, helping develop chemistry between the line mates.
Hershey completely dominated the first period out-shooting Binghamton, at a 17-2 clip. Binghamton struggled finding any offense early in the period, unable to muster a shot it through the first ten minutes. The Bears had trouble early navigating through the neutral zone, but broke through twice in the 2nd half of the period. Kyle Greentree fired home his 5th goal of the year on a shot near the right circle past Senators goalie, Mike McKenna. Ryan Potulny delivered a great pass to Greentree after the delivery from Graham Mink.
Hershey was quickly back on the score sheet two minutes later in the first period as Ryan Potulny jammed home a rebound near the crease in front of McKenna. The goal was set up by a Graham Mink shot on net adding to the Bears lead, making it 2-0 through the first period. Bears goalie, Braden Holtby faced only two shots on goal through the first period, neither one was a high quality chance.
Binghamton slowly added to their shot total in the second period, mainly in part to three power play opportunities but were unable to cash in. Midway through the period, Hershey’s fourth line hit the ice as Joel Rechlicz jumped in during a scrum. Rechlicz was penalized for roughing and unsportsmanlike conduct, resulting in a Binghamton man advantage that generated very few scoring chances. Rechlicz did not see any ice time in the third period with the Bears holding a 3-0 advantage over the Senators.
Hershey added to their lead late in the third period as Graham Mink netted his 16th goal of the year on a wrist shot developing for a two on one opportunity. The play was set up by a great pass from center, Cody Eakin who flew down the left wing. Mink fired a wrist shot on the right wing past Senators goalie, Mike McKenna. Coach French was disappointed with the effort in the second period, even though they were able to cash in with their third goal on the night.
The Bears were unable to capitalize on a carry over power play from the second period from a Mike McKenna delay of game penalty after pushing the net off its borings after allowing his third goal on the night. Binghamton was clearly frustrated with their effort tonight, taking a few careless penalties followed by a subpar performance in the third period. The majority of the third period was played conservatively by the Bears, often dumping the puck into the offensive zone with defense-men staying pinned at the blue line.
Bears coach Mark French was pleased with this team’s third period play, as they stayed aggressive in the final frame and maintained solid puck movement. He was happy with their start, which was crucial in the recent trend for Hershey falling behind in games.
1) Ryan Potulny- 1 goal, 1 assist, plus 3
2) Graham Mink- 1 goal, 2 assists, plus 3
3) Kyle Greentree- 1 goal, 1 assist, plus 2
Hershey hosts the Springfield Falcons Sunday night at Giant Center. Bears fans will get to see the return of former Bears All-Star forward Alexandre Giroux. With the shutout over Binghamton tonight, the Bears climbed to two points behind the second-place Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins in the East Division.