Just two weeks ago, the Hershey Bears were 13 points behind the East Division leading Penguins and in fourth place. Since then, the Bears have recorded points in eight straight games. Coming into Sunday, Hershey was standing alone in second of their division, only eight points behind Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.
Sunday the Bears looked to extend the point streak to nine games and gain more ground on the Penguins. The Hershey Bears rematched against the Manitoba Moose after falling in a shootout to them the day before. With the East Division leading Penguins, having Super Bowl Sunday off, a win for Hershey would pull them within six points of a first place tie.
The final game of the weekend began and the period was nothing but eventless. Manitoba didn’t register their first shot on net until 12:15 into the opening period. Hershey, on the other hand, dominated time of possession but lacked any major scoring opportunity.
Towards the end of the period chances and time of possession began to even out as the period ended with shots tied at five. Hershey grew into a bad habit during the period in the offensive end. After their first chance on net would be denied, they would try to force a pass through the middle of the ice. After one period on Super Bowl Sunday, the Manitoba Moose and the Hershey Bears were scoreless.
Hershey came out of the locker from first intermission with a lot of energy as the period started. 38 seconds in, Keith Aucoin drew a hooking penalty that gave his team an early power play. Shortly into the power play Brian Willsie scored on a shot top shelf to give the Bears the early one-goal advantage. Moments later, Bull Sweatt responded on the man-advantage to tie the game late in the second period to tie the game at 1-1
Neither side had their share of fair scoring opportunities, as the Moose only had nine shots on net through 40 minutes. Despite the Bears only having 15 shots on net, they possessed the puck in the offensive end several times. However, they struggled to generate more scoring chances on net as the period ran on.
The third period began much similar to the opening stanza, as either team lacked any major opportunity. Later in the period, Boyd Kane scored for Hershey on a four-on-four goal past Tyler Weiman. The goal gave Hershey the late 2-1 lead, with just over ten minutes remaining.
Minutes later, the Bears would take the late game momentum and run with it. Zach Miskovic scored for the Bears on a slap shot from center point, right past Weiman. The late goal gave Hershey a two-goal lead to work with, as a back and fourth game continued in the third.
The Bears would put an early end to the game adding two more quick goals on the score board to stretch the game out to 5-1 with goals from Kyle Greentree and Ashton Rome.
Romes’ tally proved to be the final nail in the coffin as the Bears would cruise on to win 31 of the season. With WBS off on Sunday, the win for Hershey would pull them within only six points of the East Division lead.
The Hershey Bears return to the ice on Wednesday, February 9th, as they travel to Manchester for a 7 p.m. matchup with the Monarchs.