Bears Trounce Senators, Extend Win Streak to Five
HERSHEY, Pa. – Riley Barber celebrated his 22nd birthday with two power play goals and an assist, while fellow rookies Jakub Vrana and Christian Djoos added goals to help the Hershey Bears cruise again to a 6-1 win over the Binghamton Senators in front of a sellout crowd of 10,849 on Sunday afternoon at GIANT Center.
The Bears drew first blood just 3:36 into the game on another impressive move by Vrana. The rookie flew through the neutral zone with the puck on his backhand, headed toward the right circle and let a shot go that sailed into the upper-left corner behind Matt O’Connor for a 1-0 lead.
On the first power play of the afternoon, Binghamton would tie the contest. Chris Carlisle accepted a pass from Michael Kostka and from long-range, he sent a wrist shot into traffic and the puck eluded Dan Ellis at 8:33.
The Bears earned their first chance with the man advantage and also made it count. Chandler Stephenson chipped the puck down the left-wing boards to get himself some space in the left corner. He fired a cross-slot pass that Djoos one-timed off the arm of O’Connor and in at 15:21, giving Hershey a 2-1 advantage.
After Barber fired a pass from Bourque behind O’Connor at 8:31 for the Bears’ second power play goal and a 3-1 lead, the Senators were completely taken out of the game with frequent penalties. Barber deflected a slap shot from Bourque past O’Connor at 17:22 for a five-on-three goal, putting the Bears in front 4-1.
1:12 into the third period, Scott Gomez capped off another five-on-three opportunity with a slap shot from the right circle that beat O’Connor over the glove, giving Hershey a 5-1 lead.
Walker’s goal came as he cruised down the slot, collected a feed from Gomez and backhanded a shot that squirted through O’Connor at 4:16.
Ellis made 18 saves to improve to 16-6-4 on the year. O’Connor stopped 24 of the Bears’ 30 shots and fell to 3-12-2. The victory gives the Bears a season-best five-game winning streak and a 12-game point streak (9-0-2-1).
The Bears will be home again on Wednesday, February 10 for a 7:00 PM matchup with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, in the game rescheduled from January 24. The first 5,000 fans will receive a Mike Moore fireman-themed bobblehead figurine courtesy of Metro Bank. It is Hometown Heroes Night as well, and the Bears will honor members of the military, EMS, fire and police. Individual tickets are available at the GIANT Center box office, by calling (717) 508-BEAR or online at TicketMaster.com.
NOTES: ; The Bears have improved to 6-0-1-0 in their last seven consecutive years on Super Bowl Sunday… Hershey swept its weekend by outscoring their opponents 17-4…The Bears ended a game with four power play goals for the first time since December 28, 2011 vs. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton...Chris Bourque took over the AHL scoring lead with three assists (21-30-51) and now ranks second overall in assists…Travis Boyd extended his point streak to five games (4-3-7)…Riley Barber has recorded six goals and four assists on a four-game streak…Jakub Vrana recorded three goals and four assists in the three-game weekend…The Bears scratched RW Chris Brown, RW Dustin Gazley, RW Caleb Herbert, D Tyler Lewington and D Mike Moore…The Senators scratched C Travis Ewanyk, LW Matt Puempel and Michael Sdao, and skated with 10 forwards and eight defensemen.
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