It was an embarrassing night in Hershey for the Bears 24 hours prior to Sunday’s game losing to Wilkes-Barre 4-2 in a game full of poor defensive mishaps. Sunday they battled the Norfolk Admirals in hopes of rebounding in front of a crowd of 7,489 at Giant Center. The Bears went 3-for-3 on the power-play in the opening frame leading to a 6-3 win over the Admirals.
Hershey, similar to the night before would get early chances on net except on Sunday they hit pay dirt twice, 31 seconds apart in the opening frame. With one second left on a 5-on-3 advantage, Keith Aucoin blasted a slap shot from the high-slot beating Dustin Tokarski. 31 seconds later, Jacob Micflikier on a diving effort off an Aucoin shot swipes it into an open net for a quick 2-0 lead.
Only 90 seconds later, the Admirals broke Holtby and recorded their lone tally of the period. Cory Conacher blasted a one-timer off a Trevor Smith feed putting his team within striking distance. However, the Bears’ power-play continued to shine bright with another goal by Keith Aucoin on the man-advantage. It was Hershey’s third goal on their third consecutive shot in the period.
Minutes later, the Chocolate and White were still not done for the period taking all their frustration out of Dustin Tokarski. With 1:32 remaining on the opening stanza, Chris Bourque walked into the offensive zone on an even-rush, pulled Tokarski out of position and stuffed him short-side. Bourque’s goal gave the Bears a comfy three-goal cushion into the locker room. Keith Aucoin after 20 minutes already had four points.
Into the middle frame, one step at a time the Norfolk Admirals began to chip away at was once a three-goal lead. 3:03 in, on a 5-on-3 power-play Trevor Smith cashed in jamming home his own rebound on the door step of the net. Moving forward with 3:02 remaining in the stanza, Tyler Johnson chipped a soft backhander that fooled Braden Holtby and bounced into the back of the cage. With shots tied at 19 a-piece after 40 minutes, the Bears’ lead was suddenly down to one shot.
The Admirals would lose ground on Hershey 4:46 into the final frame when Tomas Kundratek blasted his second goal in as many nights to restore the Bears’ two-goal lead. From then-on-out Hershey played defensive hockey against Norfolk, eating up time of possession numbers disallowing them from getting any grade “A” chances on net. The Ads only put six shots on net in the third period, as Chris Bourque scored the empty net goal with 2:08 left to seal a 6-3 win for Hershey over Norfolk.
The final shot count was 29-25 in favor of Hershey. Keith Aucoin recorded four points within the opening 20 minutes, securing his 750 AHL career point.
The Hershey Bears return to the ice of Friday, December 16. They make the long bus ride to Virginia Beach to square off with the Norfolk Admirals at the Norfolk Scope.
Game time is at 7:15 p.m.