10/11/2009 - BEARS BOW TO MONARCHS
Slow Start Costs Chocolate and White
By Jess Mikula
Despite a late rally, the BEARS were unable to stage a come-from-behind victory Sunday night, falling to the Manchester Monarchs by a 2-1 margin. On the tail end of three games in three nights, HERSHEY was dealt its first loss of the 2009-10 season.
The BEARS' offense failed to materialize in the first period, as the visiting Monarchs doubled up the home team in shots on goal. It appeared the game would remain scoreless through the first stanza, but a late tally from Brandon Segal gave Manchester the advantage. As Justin Azevedo took the face-off, he dropped a pass to the outside of the right circle, and Segal fired a one-timer to put the puck top shelf on goaltender Braden Holtby at 19:55. HERSHEY was down 1-0 after 20 minutes, marking the first time the BEARS have trailed a team in the 2009-10 season.
The Chocolate and White fared no better in the second period. A turnover in neutral ice cost the BEARS, as Oscar Moller broke into the HERSHEY zone and lifted the puck past Holtby with a swift backhand for an unassisted marker at 13:57. Despite out-shooting Manchester 14-8 in the second, the BEARS carried a two-goal deficit to the dressing room after two.
HERSHEY attempted to stage a comeback in the third period, albeit a late effort. On the BEARS' 32nd shot of the game, Alexandre Giroux found the score sheet for the home team, reviving the deflated BEARS lineup. The reigning league MVP fired a screaming slap shot past Monarchs netminder Jonathan Bernier on a centering pass from defenseman John Carlson, registering his third goal of the season at 13:21. The Chocolate and White battled through the remainder of regulation, gaining momentum with a late power play opportunity. Much to the dismay of the 10,223 raucous HERSHEY faithful in attendance, what appeared to be the game-tying goal was waived off by referee Ryan Fraser, who claimed time had expired.
BEARS rookie backstop Braden Holtby suffered his first loss in net Sunday night, stopping 26 of 28 shots faced. The HERSHEY power play was blanked on all six chances.
Bears Radio Network Three Stars of the Game:
1. Jonathan Bernier (34 saves on 35 shots)
2. Oscar Moller (game-winning goal)
3. Alexandre Giroux (lone goal for the Bears)
Notes: Brandon Sugden made his HERSHEY debut Sunday night, recording five penalty minutes. The BEARS will embark on a three-game road trip, heading to Adirondack for a 7:30 p.m. match-up Friday night before traveling to Binghamton Saturday night for a 7:05 p.m. start. The Chocolate and White will then face the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins at Wachovia Arena Friday, October 23, before hosting the Binghamton Senators at Giant Center on October 24. Face-off is slated for 7:00 p.m. Tickets are available at the Giant Center box office or by calling (717) 534-3911.