Holtby, Bears Blank Senators in Hershey

On Wednesday the Hershey Bears played host to the Binghamton Senators for the second time this season. Both teams faced each other for the first time at the same venue 10 days prior.

In the first matchup on October 30, the Bears escaped with a 3-2 win over the B-Sens. Going into Wednesday’s game, D.J. King was in the lineup for Hershey dressing for his first game as a Bear since his assignment from Washington. Also for Hershey, earlier in the week it was announced forward Francois Bouchard was traded to the New York Rangers organization.

In return, the Bears added defensemen Tomas Kundratek who played in 70 games last year with the Hartford Wolf Pack/ Connecticut Whale. Kundratek did not play for the Hershey Bears Wednesday but is expected to make his debut on Friday.

In Wednesday’s matchup, Graham Mink scored only 4:04 into the contest on the power play, which proved to be the game-winner for Hershey en route to a 3-0 win.

Borth teams out of the gate showed tremendous firepower offensively. Both netminders, Braden Holtby and Robin Lehner made great saves early on Chris Bourque and Jim O’Brien. Just under four minutes into the stanza, former Bear Josh Godfrey was given a roughing minor. Just 10 seconds into the man-advantage, Hershey’s dynamic power-play hit pay-dirt. Tic-tac-toe passing by Keith Aucoin and Jacob Micflikier set up Graham Mink on the door step with the puck on his blade and a wide open net. Mink one-touched it past a fooled Lehner giving the Bears a 1-0 lead.

Following the tally, the Bears took full advantage of the momentum and were firing shots on net from all cylinders. Ottawa Senators’ prospective goaltender Lehner was facing a heavy work load early on.

With 7:13 remaining in the opening 20 minutes, Garrett Mitchell crashed the net off a Mattias Sjogren shot. After an erratic rebound left by Lehner, Mitchell dove forward crashing the net, knocking the rebound into the cage. Mitchell’s second goal of his AHL career came on the Bears’ 11 shot of the contest. It would lead both clubs into the locker room after one period, with the Bears leading 2-0.

Following the Bears’ power-play goal, they improved to 10-for-27 on the man-advantage this season at home.

Into the middle period the B-Sens denied the Bears a single power play. That being a minor success for Binghamton considering the Bears’ man-advantage is ranked third best in the American Hockey League. Without a power-play, however, Hershey tallied once more with just over five minutes remaining in the period. Boyd Kane crashed the net and found a loose puck in the low-slot. He easily backhanded it over Robin Lehner for his fourth of the year, giving his team a three goal cushion heading into the third period.

Into the final period, the Bears would easily hold off the B-Sens only allowing 2 shots on Braden Holtby for a game total of 15. Mike McKenna would come in relief for Robin Lehner to start the third period. McKenna turned aside all eight shots he faced to hold Hershey to three goals.

The Bears, similar to ten days prior hung three goals on the scoreboard to beat Binghamton. On October 30 the final score was 3-2. Wednesday, three goals proved to be more than enough for the Bears, as they cruised to a 3-0 win. Braden Holtby posted his first shutout of the season.

The Hershey Bears return to the ice of Friday, November 11. They take on the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins for a 7 p.m. throw-down.

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