Sunday evening following a bus ride back to Hershey from Adirondack, the Bears looked to cross the finish line of their seven games in nine days stretch with a victory. They faced the Norfolk Admirals for their second time in eight days at Giant Center.
Hershey fell to Norfolk 3-2 in a shootout, surrendering both regulation goals shorthanded. Patrick McNeil and Kyle Greentree tallied for Hershey in the first and third period, while Alex Berry and James Wright scored for Norfolk in the second and third period. It would stand as Hershey’s fifth shoot out loss of the season, four coming at home making their record 41-22-1-5.
Going into the match, Hershey would have sole possession of second place in the East Division with a seven-point lead over third-place Charlotte. Two days previous to Sunday, the Bears beat the Connecticut Whale on the road to secure win number forty of the season, for their sixth straight season under affiliation with the Washington Capitals.
The very same night marked win 100 for Bears’ Bench Boss, Mark French. He is the fastest coach in league history to reach the 100 wins milestone, doing it in just 147 games behind the bench for Hershey.
Early on in Sunday’s duel, the Bears were set up in the offensive end but with countless amount of shots wide and off target passes. Midway through the opening stanza, Boyd Kane would draw a power play as he was hooked in the face off circle, cycling the puck.
The Norfolk penalty to Scott Jackson would set the stage for Patrick McNeil on the man advantage. McNeil gained the puck in the high slot, and fired it past Dustin Tokarski to give the Bears a 1-0 lead, 12:07 in.
It would be the lone mark in the period, as shots were a low 6-4 in the opening twenty minutes with Hershey having the slight advantage.
It would take 8:19 into the middle period, but Norfolk would tie the game on similar fashion. Alex Berry scored his thirteenth goal of the season on a cross-ice feed from Stefano Giliati. The goal came on the near corner of the right face off circle to the goal, as Nolan Schaefer couldn’t move post to post quick enough to stop the passing play.
With each team having a power play goal in hand out of a hand full of opportunities, 1-1 would be the score after two periods.
Into the third it would be James Wright scoring for Norfolk on a perfect tip-in off a Stefano Giliati pass across. The goal midway through the final stanza would force Hershey back onto their heals. But, it would set the stage for Kyle Greentree, who just 1:07 later would tie the game for Hershey on a back hand through the legs on Dustin Tokarski.
With the scored tied after regulation and like wise after an extra five-minute overtime, the game would go on to a shoot out. In the Skills Cometition it was AHL All-Star Johan Harju scoring the only goal in the shootout for Norfolk, to lead them to a 2-1 victory over Hershey.
At the end of a seven games in nine nights stretch, the Bears record throughout the series of games were 3-2-0-2, taking eight of fourteen possible points.