Bears Set Teddy Bear Toss Record, Beat Crunch 4-2
December 4, 2016(Hershey, PA- December 4, 2016)-It was a milestone night for the Hershey Bears on Sunday. Joe Cannata won his 100th career AHL appearance and the Bears collected a Teddy Bear Toss record 20,662 bears in a 4-2 win over the Syracuse Crunch at GIANT Center. Aaron Ness scored the game-winning goal with 1:29 to play, and Cannata earned the game’s first star with 35 saves.
After Hershey saw a 2-0 lead evaporate thanks to a pair of power play goals by Syracuse in the third period, the game appeared destined to head to overtime. However, with the two clubs skating four-on-four, Ness scored his third goal of the season off a faceoff. Travis Boyd extended his point streak to seven games, centering a pass to Ness who was uncovered on the backdoor. The defender beat a sprawled Syracuse netminder Kristers Gudlevskis to send the GIANT Center crowd of 9,042 into frenzy.
The excitement on Sunday was started at the 15:02 mark of the first period as Garrett Mitchell scored the game’s opening goal that sent the teddy bears flying to the ice. The forward walked down the left wing and snapped a shot past Gudlevskis on the far post for his second goal of the season.
The game also featured Zach Sanford’s first professional goal as the rookie scored only 23 seconds into the third period. In his third game with the Bears, the forward accepted a Nathan Walker pass and beat Gudlevskis over the blocker to make it 2-0 Hershey.
Despite running into penalty trouble, Cannata and the Bears held the Crunch to 2-for-7 on the power play. The Hershey netminder was sensational, keeping Hershey in the game early despite being outshot 37-13 on the night. After Ness’ goal, Cannata made two fantastic saves on Mike Halmo to keep the lead, and setup a Zach Sill empty net goal with 23 seconds to play. The goal was Sill’s 100th career AHL point.
With the win, the Bears extended their point streak to nine games. The 20,662 bears collected as part of the WGAL & Northwest Savings Bank Teddy Bear Toss Night surpassed last season’s record of 18,115.
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