On Sunday the Hershey Bears looked to walk out of Giant Center with their first home win under their belt. They faced the Syracuse Crunch in their first meeting of the campaign. The Bears went a stunning 4-for-6 on the man-advantage to capsize the Crunch, 7-0.
Last season when both teams met, in all six duels the road team escaped victorious. The Bears won all three of their matches in Syracuse, as the Crunch had no problem beating the Bears in front of their hometown fans. Hours before puck drop on Sunday, Dany Sabourin was assigned from the Washington Capitals to Hershey and drew the start against Syracuse.
Dany Sabourin’s re-assignment denied Philipp Grubauer from making his first AHL start in goal. Grubauer is a young goaltending prospect in the Capitals’ organization. He played for team Germany recently in the 2011 World Juniors Championship in Buffalo, last December. Following Sabourin’s return to Hershey, Grubauer departed for South Carolina to rejoin the Sting Rays in the ECHL.
Similar to the night before, the Bears were off to a slow start where they lacked puck possession and the ability to make any crisp outlet passes. At the 8:40 mark of the first, Hershey’s second line put together the first offensive sequence of the night. After a Cody Eakin shot, the puck trickled to the high-slot where Dmitry Orlov blasted his first goal of the season.
Throughout the first two games in Hershey, the majority of the Bears’ goals came from a passing sequence where they were able to get the opposing goalie and defense moving. Following an icing call with 13 seconds left in the opening 20 minutes, the Chocolate and White began a low offensive forecheck along both corners. With three seconds left, Boyd Kane threw a sharp-angle bank shot on net that was deflected short side into the cage by Jacob Micflikier. It was the third tally of the season for the former Charlotte Checker who helped eliminate the Bears from the postseason last Spring.
After one period the Crunch had a 11-7 shot advantage over Hershey, along with two power-plays. They were able to generate four shots on the man-advantage, but no real grade “A” opportunities that forced Dany Sabourin to do anything spectacular in net.
Into the second, Syracuse’s Mark Bell would take two penalties within the first 3:01 of the stanza. On the Bears’ second man-advantage, son of Ray, Chris Bourque would fire a shot from the point beating Jeff Drouin-Deslauriers exactly four minutes in. The Crunch would then continue to build a parade to the penalty box, giving the Bears a 5-on-3 power-play for 80 seconds two minutes following Bourque’s goal.
Moments later, Keith Aucoin snapped a shot off the skate blade of a Syracuse defender into the net pouring salt in the wound. It was only Hershey’s tenth shot of the game, but nonetheless a 4-0 lead. To the end of the period, the parade would only continue for the Syracuse Crunch, and the Bears hit pay dirt once more before time expired. Christian Hanson, left all alone in front of the Syracuse net tipped a Julien Brouillette shot for another power-play goal. After two periods, the Bears’ power-play was 3-for-5, as the Crunch’s man-advantage was 0-for-5.
It would send the Bears well on their way to their first win of the season at Giant Center. Dany Sabourin stopped 19 more shots in the third period to complete a 36-save shutout performance. Mattias Sjogren and Julien Brouillette joined the scoring affair with goals the final frame to cap off a touchdown against Syracuse. A bounce back win, to say the least after the night before.
The Hershey Bears return to the ice on Friday, October 28. They visit the Mass Mutual Center to take on the Springfield Falcons.
Puck drops at 7:30 p.m.