The Hershey Bears defeated the Hartford Wolf Pack for the second time in as many nights behind four goals from Paul Carey. Hershey gets two more points to stay in fourth with rivals Bridgeport and Providence winning on this evening.
The Bears came out flying and were rewarded for their hard work as Carey picked up the puck and snapped a perfect shot over the glove of Mackenzie Skapski to make it 1-0 for the home team.
Unlike yesterday, Hershey came out flying and had a stranglehold on the shots on goal category. Shortly after Hershey received their first power play, Travis Boyd fed Christian Thomas from behind the net, and his perfect shot made it 2-0 Hershey. That score would hold into the first intermission.
Hershey kept it rolling in the middle period. Boyd, who was an offensive machine on the line with Stan Galiev and Carey, fed Carey on a brilliant pass to make it 3-0. The goal rewarded a few long stretches where the ice felt tilted into the Hartford zone.
Hershey made it a 4-0 lead and spelled the end of the night for Skapski when Riley Barber ripped a shot low past the stick of the goaltender. Jeff Malcolm came between the pipes and ultimately took the loss.
But as quickly as it seemed like Hershey put the game away, Hartford made things interesting. Back-to-back five-on-three goals from Ryan Graves and Taylor Beck made it a 4-2 game after two periods.
Carey completed the hat trick and his 22nd of the year as he banked the puck in from the side of the net off of Malcolm to make it 5-2, and seemingly put the game out of reach.
That’s right when things would get interesting again. Hartford’s Matt Carey missed a hit along the boards earlier in the match that was a subject of discussion on the ice between his line and Nathan Walker’s, and after the hit was shown as the “Crunch of the Game.” This seemed to light a fire under the Wolf Pack, as two quick goals from Beck and Nieves made for a close finish with about 5 minutes remaining.
Thankfully, Carey was able to put away the game on an empty net goal to become the first Bear in seven years since Mathieu Perrault in 2010. That made it a 6-4 final score.
That wasn’t the end of things as tempers flared late in the game. Walker was engaged and nearly took on an entire Hartford line on his own, and Garrett Mitchell and Tyler Lewington squared off with Hartford players at the final buzzer, putting a fitting end to a scrappy couple games.
- Paul Carey should have had five goals on the night, but his last goal was not reviewed after being scored right before the buzzer. Once Mitchell’s and Lewington’s scraps broke out, the referee’s attention went elsewhere.
- The absence of Zach Sill and Liam O’Brien tonight led to the return of Jakub Vrana and the first game for newcomer Hampus Gustafsson. Troy Mann was happy about the latter’s performance as he was inserted into the center position for Sill. It was Gustafsson’s first professional game.
- Hershey didn’t receive any help out of town tonight. Wins by Lehigh Valley, Providence, and Bridgeport kept the standings where they left off from yesterday. This makes tomorrow’s game in Bridgeport laying much on the line regarding playoff positioning for the fourth and final spot in the Atlantic Division.
- Stan Galiev had a fantastic chance in the first period when a Hartford player fell, and Galiev picked up the puck on a spin move similar to a goal he scored against Lehigh Valley in the preseason two years back. Unfortunately, he beat everyone but the crossbar and had it gone just an inch or two lower it would have been a major highlight reel play.
- Hershey doubled up Hartford in shots, 38-19 for the game as it was for much of the contest. They held Hartford to 4 shots for almost half of the competition before the two five-on-three chances.
- Travis Boyd finished with three assists to cap off an offensive clinic he put on with puck control. He now has six assists in two games this weekend.
- Matt Carey’s self-inflicted hit was the Crunch of the Game, and was a source of entertainment for the crowd of 10,081 on hand at Giant Center.
- Vitek Vanecek made 14 saves on 18 shots but looked a bit shaky when Hartford started scoring their last two goals. Had the Bears gotten more goals on the high volume of grade A chances (Troy Mann said he felt they had 30 or more in his postgame press conference) the score could have been much more lopsided for Hershey.
C. Bourque-Stephenson-G. Mitchell
Three stars of the game:
- 1. Paul Carey –
- 2. Chris Bourque – three assist
- 3. Taylor Beck (HWP) – one goal, two assists